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Enrollment: Kindergarten and First Grade - June 2002 Revision

Note: This procedural directive was reviewed and revised in November 2010. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please refer to the current procedural directive.

Kindergarten Enrollment

To be enrolled in an APS kindergarten, a child must be at least five years of age prior to 12:01 a.m., on September 1, of the school year.

The Compulsory Attendance Law, (22-12-2) requires eligible students (5 years of age prior to 12:01 a.m., September 1) to enter a kindergarten program in a public school, private school, home school, or a state institution. Exception to the compulsory attendance law requires the parent to secure a waiver from the Superintendent or designee (Student Support Office). The APS waiver states that the student has been given approval to remain out of school one additional year prior to entering kindergarten. Upon entry into public school, the child must enroll in the kindergarten program.

Children moving to Albuquerque who have been in a kindergarten program in other areas and who were five years of age after 12:01 a.m., on September 1, of the enrolling year are not eligible for entry into the APS kindergarten program.


First Grade Enrollment


To be enrolled in an APS first grade, the student should have completed a full year of kindergarten. Students who were of proper age for kindergarten and attended accredited private schools may be placed in first grade.

Students who seek entrance into first grade who have no kindergarten experience or who attended kindergarten in non-public, non-accredited, non-recognized, or home schools should be evaluated for proper placement. The age-eligible student may be placed in first grade while proper placement is determined by the classroom teacher.

Underage students who completed kindergarten in a non-accredited school, including home school, are placed in kindergarten and evaluated for first grade placement.

The following steps are used to determine proper placement:

  1. School personnel will verify birth date and immunization records during the enrollment process.
  2. Within the first three weeks of school, parents and/or the previous school will provide school records regarding the student’s progress during the kindergarten year.
  3. The kindergarten grade teacher, with the assistance of principal, counselor, and/or other support staff, if necessary, will perform a 2-6 week observation period assessing the student’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development.
  4. School personnel may use the Kindergarten Developmental Progress Record Assessment Instrument (KDPR) to assess the student’s progress along with the district-selected standardized assessment obtained from testing Services.
  5. It is the principal’s final decision whether a first grade placement is appropriate.

Early Entrance into First Grade

Rationale for First Grade Early Entrance


The Albuquerque Public Schools do not subscribe to moving kindergarten age children into first grade settings before they meet the New Mexico entrance age requirement. Most children of this age benefit significantly from participating in the APS kindergarten program as their first public school experience. It is recognized, however, that there is a wide range of developmental levels in this age group and that it is important to assess certain individual needs. The kindergarten program routinely assesses student progress throughout the year. In the event a kindergarten-age child demonstrates exceptional growth and developmental patterns, a program should be designed to accommodate the child's needs within the kindergarten program.

Parents may request early entry into first grade due to home schooling, or non-public school kindergarten experience. A careful and thorough evaluation in all areas of development (social, emotional, physical, intellectual) should be made to assure proper placement.

The District has developed an assessment procedure to assist elementary principals in making the decision as to whether the child's maturation in all areas of growth is such that there is high probability for achieving success in first grade and subsequent school years. This procedure is available from principals upon parental request, and consists of those components which will give the principal and parents a comprehensive profile of the child's placement needs.


Conditions for First Grade Early Entrance


Request for first grade early entrance will be pursued in the fall of the year prior/during registration. The child's sixth birthday must be on or before December 31 of the current year.

School personnel will verify birth date and immunization records during the enrollment process.

Within the first three weeks of school, parents and/or the previous school will provide school records regarding the student’s progress during the kindergarten year.

An underage student who attended kindergarten in a school accredited by the New Mexico State Department of Education may be placed directly in the first grade. It is suggested that the APS Kindergarten Developmental Progress Record (KDPR) be administered to determine progress to date. See NM Educational Personnel Directory for a list of accredited schools.

An underage student who did not attend an accredited school should be placed in kindergarten until an observation and assessment period of 2-6 weeks takes place to determine proper placement.

Exception: It is the principal's prerogative to waive the observation/ assessment process for the student who has been enrolled in a first grade

class in another state, where that state's entrance age requirement has allowed such enrollment from the beginning of school.

The child should have attended a full year of kindergarten prior to application for first grade early entrance.


Procedure for First Grade Early Entrance


The APS t form must be obtained by the parent from the school within the week following fall registration. At the time the written request is received by the school, the parent will be informed of:

1) objectives of the kindergarten program;

2) implications of early entrance;

3) the process of evaluation including tests and observations; and

4) the timeline,

and will be asked to complete the Early Entrance into First Grade Questionnaire. The parent will be given the Early Entrance into First Grade Reference form requesting information regarding the child's previous school experiences. The parent should give a reference form to any previous school attended by the child. It is expected that the forms be returned directly to the enrolling APS elementary school. The early entrance process begins upon receipt of all required documents listed above.

Assessment will utilize a team effort approach: principal, counselor, and kindergarten teacher will be included in the team, and other staff as needed (first grade teacher, nurse, title 1, resource teacher, etc.).

It is the principal's final decision on early entrance placement. Ongoing evaluation will continue to verify proper placement.

Cross Ref.:

  • Board Policy J.02, J.04
  • Exemptions from School Attendance
  • Early Entrance into First Grade Request Form
  • Early Entrance into First Grade Parent Questionnaire
  • Early Entrance into First Grade Request Reference Form

Legal Ref.: NM Compulsory Attendance Law (22-12-2)

NSBA/NEPN Classification: JEB

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997
Revised: June 2002