District moves kindergarten enrollment date to August 1

Policy takes affect in 2020; preschools will also make adjustments

By Katherine Nettles

The RE1J Gunnison Watershed School District (GWSD) approved a change in the kindergarten enrollment date from September 30 to August 1, which will take effect in 2020.

The policy change is meant to ensure that all students are five years old on the first day of school each year, meaning that kindergartners must be five before August 1 of the year they are enrolling. The change also applies to preschool and Early Access entrance.

GWSD superintendent Leslie Nichols said the district has worked to communicate with the families who will be affected by this, and has received a lot of support. “The strong feedback we’ve gotten is an appreciation for the two-year roll-out, so that people can plan ahead,” she said.

The change has a domino effect to include the way preschools separate age groupings and when children are eligible for public preschool. “Everyone has been in favor,” Nichols said, of the public and private preschools.

Early access for children who are identified as gifted will remain, and while Nichols concedes that the appeal process is “fairly involved,” she said the district is also considering if there would be another avenue for kids who are not five before school starts but are deemed ready to enter kindergarten. A different process to identify those exceptions is not out of the question as of yet, but has not been determined.

“Were still discussing alternatives, but as it stands today, procedures are unchanged,” Nichols said.

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