BUSD Transitional Kindergarten for kids with behavior problems

Anyone have experience with Berkeley TK with a kid who has sensory overstimulation issues and/or developmental delays around self-regulation (or any comparable challenges w behavior)? My kid needs a lot of support in his preschool setting to get through the day (gets overstimulated, acts out, hits, has difficulty managing conflict & disappointment). We're currently paying a private aide to support. We qualify for TK this fall but we have some concerns.

We're in the IEP system but didn't qualify for services based on their "academic" criteria, aka they don't seem to care if he can't make it through the day without melting down as long as he recognizes the letters A, U, N and W or whatever.

I've also heard from someone adjacent to the public schools that the transition to universal TK has been rough and some teachers don't have enough support to be handling ~20 4-year-olds and are sorta losing it, reprimanding the kids inappropriately etc. (not sure if this was in reference to Oakland or Berkeley schools or both) 

Would love to hear from anyone currently or recently in Berkeley TK who could give me some hint at how this is gonna go!

Thanks in advance <3

Parent Replies

Parents, please Sign in to post a review on this page.

You could contact DREDF and talk to an Education Advocate:"If you live in Alameda, Contra Costa or San Joaquin Counties, an Education Advocate can talk to you about special education and give you resources so you can make informed decisions about your child’s education and other individual needs."
Call 800-348-4232

Often an IEP will include the social aspects of your child's challenges. You might not qualify for an aide, but there might be other provisions that could help him with school.

Regardless of the school district, I would only send a kid to TK if that child was pretty well-adjusted to a school setting. The complaints I have always heard about TK is that parents want it to be like private preschool - lots of individual attention. Individual attention is not what TK can offer given the ratio of kids to adults in a classroom. If I had a kid in need of more time to adjust to the whole concept of school, there is no way that I would enroll them in a public TK. (Unless, of course, I did not have the resources to offer that child a private setting for that last year before Kindergarten). TK teachers are often magicians! but they are in a tough position.

Maybe I would feel differently in a district that was under-enrolled or had extra resources at their disposal. 

I work in the district and interface with the TK program. If your child is doing well or happy in their preschool and you have the means to keep them there, I advise to keep them in preschool so they have time to emotionally develop before heading off to a large elementary school. A child who has a hard time making it though a preschool day and does not have a well-established IEP will not necessarily thrive in a TK classroom where sitting still, walking in line, and managing lunch protocol is important. Social-emotional development is more important for kindergarten readiness than being at a large school sooner.

Thanks for your responses, all. I'm a little surprised at the recommendations to keep the kid out of TK mostly because they're saying more about a child's "school readiness" than the school program's level of support for children who need more support. Isn't the school district federally required to provide access to school for all children? If a child can't participate in TK, that indicates a problem with the system, no? If some set of children needs social-emotional development support, the schools should offer it. Not everyone can afford to opt out. I guess that's why dredf exists! Thanks for the rec!