Berkeley Unified Transitional Kindergarton Waiver

Our daughter misses the 2017 kindergarten birthday cut-off by 35 days.  She will already have completed 3 years of pre-school by next fall and we are trying to petition BUSD for a waiver from mandatory T-K.  She is already ahead of age in terms of reading, writing, math, and maturity (thanks to older sisters).  We are seeking advice from parents who have tried successfully/unsuccessfully to petition BUSD?  Otherwise, do people have other options to have our daughter start kindergarten early?

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Why do you need to waive out of TK before even trying it? My daughter also had had 3 years of preschool before doing TK last year. I thought she was so advanced that we would be petitioning the district midway to move her up to K. Well, turns out my daughter wasn't so sure about "real school" and basically didn't start making an effort until February; we did not feel justified in discussing acceleration with her teacher until the May parent conference. They do STAR Early Literary Assessments with the kids, so you will see those scores and can decide from there when and where to start pushing for acceleration. Long story short, we got her promoted to skip K and she is doing great in 1st now at our home school. So for her, TK served the role of K, and you might want to give some thought to if that will work for you too. TK was at a different school site and it wasn't incredibly convenient with the schedule for our older child already enrolled at our home school, but we sucked it up for that year. Now, even if you know your daughter to be super smart, but she isn't testing above kindergarten level, you may not be successful in advancing her, and perhaps rightfully so as we saw with both kids, you really have to be a competent early reader to start off first grade on the right foot. They do word problems in math, for example, if you can't read well, you start suffering with math too.

yes, I agree with the previous poster. I was so annoyed that my daughter "had" to go to TK and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Though she was pretty advanced academically, it took her a while to acclimate socially. And again, I thought the "second year of kindergarten," aka her actual kindergarten year, would be boring for her (and it was, a bit, academically, but her teacher made up for it with more challenging work for her) -- more importantly, she again needed the time to catch up socially. I keenly remember, with embarrassment, how I was nagging her teacher to move her up to first grade, and she said, "Look, follow us around a bit, ask your friend who volunteers in the classroom. Kinder kids are very different from first graders; they look around when walking thru the hall, their attention is very different." I did as she asked and sure enough she just fit socially into her kinder cohort. By this year (2nd grade) she was completely both socially and academically in the right place and is doing great. All this to say: Don't knock TK. It's very valuable. We had a wonderful experience with it. 

Is your daughter socially mature? How is her attention span? Those are the questions I would ask myself before trying to advance her to K. When I was a first grade teacher I had a child in my class who skipped K because she was reading and doing math beyond her years, but the mother completely left out telling our school that her child was incapable of dealing with difficult social situations. For instance, if a child cut in front of her in line, or if she was unable to do art projects as well as her peers (lots of cutting and following directions), or it didn't go her way, she would pout or cover her ears or get angry. Her peers eventually noticed that she was immature, and she had difficulty making close friends, which exacerbated the social problem. Do not underestimate the gift of time as far as building your child's social competence. Being able to hang with your peers socially at school is huge. Teachers can always tell who is the young one in their class, even if parents can't.