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Enrollment: Kindergarten and First Grade

Kindergarten Enrollment

To be enrolled in an Albuquerque Public Schools kindergarten, a child shall be at least five years of age prior to 12:01 a.m., on September 1, of the school year in which they are enrolling.

New Mexico state statute requires students of the appropriate age to enter a kindergarten program in a public school, private school, home school, or a state institution.  Exception to the enrollment requires the parent to secure a waiver from the superintendent or his/her designee (Student, School and Community Service Center).  The Albuquerque Public Schools waiver states that the student may be given approval to remain out of school one additional year prior to entering kindergarten.  Upon entry into public school, the child shall 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 Albuquerque Public Schools kindergarten program.  Children of active-duty United States armed services members may be exempt from this rule.  For more information regarding children of active-duty United States armed services members please refer to the “Military Children Procedural Directive.”

First Grade Enrollment

To be enrolled in an Albuquerque Public School first grade, the student shall 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 shall be evaluated for proper placement.  The age-eligible student shall be placed in first grade pending proper placement as determined by the classroom teacher.

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

The classroom teacher and principal shall implement the following steps to determine proper placement:

  1. School personnel shall verify birth date and immunization records during the enrollment process.
  2. Within the first three weeks of school, parents/legal guardians and/or the previous school the student attended shall provide school records regarding the student’s progress during their kindergarten year.
  3. The classroom teacher, with the assistance of principal, counselor, and/or other support staff, if necessary, may perform a two to six 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 shall be up to the principal’s final discretion as to whether or not the current grade placement is appropriate.

Early Entrance into First Grade

Rationale for First Grade Early Entrance

Albuquerque Public Schools does 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 Albuquerque Public Schools kindergarten program as their first public school experience.  Albuquerque Public Schools does recognize, however, that there is a wide range of developmental levels in this age group and that it is important to assess certain individual student needs.  The kindergarten program shall routinely assess student progress throughout the year.  In the event that a kindergarten-age child demonstrates exceptional growth and developmental patterns, a program ought to be designed to accommodate the child's needs within the kindergarten program.

Parents/legal guardians 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) shall be completed to assure proper placement.

The district shall develop and implement an assessment process to assist elementary principals in making the decision as to whether the student’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 process shall be available from principals upon parental/legal guardian request, and consists of those components which will give the principal and parents/legal guardians a comprehensive profile of the student’s placement needs.

Conditions for First Grade Early Entrance

Request for first grade early entrance may be pursued in the fall of the year prior/during registration.  First grade early entrance shall only be available to a student whose sixth birthday is on or before December 31 of the school year the student is scheduled to be in kindergarten.

School personnel shall 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 Public Education Department may be placed directly in the first grade. Albuquerque Public Schools may administer the Kindergarten Developmental Progress Record (KDPR) to determine the student’s progress to date.  Refer to the New Mexico Public Educational Department Personnel Directory for a list of accredited schools.

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


It shall be left to principal's discretion 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 student shall be required to have attended a full year of kindergarten prior to application for first grade early entrance.

Procedure for First Grade Early Entrance

When a parent/legal guardian files a written request for early entrance into first grade the school principal or designee shall discuss the following topics with the parent/legal guardian:

  • objectives of the kindergarten program;
  • implications of early entrance;
  • the process of evaluation for proper placement ; and
  • the timeline for a final decision regarding placement.

The parent shall provide any evidence of attendance at any previous school as well as recommendations from the student’s previous teacher to the school principal or his/her designee.  Assessment shall utilize a team effort approach.  The principal, counselor, and kindergarten teacher shall be included in the team, in addition to other staff as appropriate.

It shall be up to the principal's discretion for final decision on early entrance placement. Ongoing evaluation shall continue to verify proper placement.

Administrative Position: Associate Superintendents for Elementary Schools/Assistant Superintendent for School and Community Support

Department Director Director of Student, School and Community Services Center


Legal Cross Ref.:

  • §22-12-2 NMSA 1978
  • §22-8-2 NMSA 1978

Board Policy Cross Ref.:

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:Attendance Procedural Directive

NSBA/NEPN Classification: JEB

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997
Revised: June 2002
Reviewed:  June 2010
Reviewed: September 24, 2010
Reviewed: October 15, 2010
Reviewed: November 8, 2010
Revised: November 21, 2010