3111 Procedure – Entrance Age

Entrance Qualification

Pursuant to WAC 392-335-010 Bellingham Public Schools establishes the following procedure for early entrance of kindergarten pupils.  Early admittance will be considered for children born after September 1 of the desired year of entry. This allows children who have the ability or need, or both, to enter kindergarten or first grade prior to the uniform entry age.

Application/Assessment Process

  1. Applications for early entrance for children living within Bellingham Public Schools will be accepted through May 1 of the desired entry year. Complete application must include:

A. Proof of Bellingham Public Schools permanent residency and a copy of the child’s birth certificate (or other proof of age).

B. The application for early entrance to kindergarten form, which will include permission to evaluate.

C. A developmental questionnaire to be completed by the parent/guardian regarding the child.

D. A preschool questionnaire to be completed by the preschool teacher if the child has had prior school experience.

E. Other information that is relevant and will assist the Early Entrance to Kindergarten team in determining a child’s developmental level.

The application packet can be obtained from the district website, at the district office, or at any elementary school.

2. An early entrance assessment is required. This assessment will include, but may not be limited to, seven areas: (1) mental ability, (2) gross-motor skills, (3) fine-motor skills, (4) visual discrimination, (5) auditory discrimination, (6) social/emotional development, and (7) language development.

3. The district reserves the right to annually establish a fee to pay for the cost of the assessments noted above. Parents for whom the cost of an assessment would cause undue hardship may request exemption or reduction from fees. These requests will be considered on the basis of submission of a “Free and Reduced Meals” application and qualifying for free or reduced meals.

4. Parents must contact the Department of Teaching and Learning, Early Childhood Education, to make an appointment for the assessment.

5. The assessment is conducted by the Early Entrance to Kindergarten Team. The assessment team will include a school psychologist, a kindergarten teacher or representative from Early Childhood Education, and at least one additional member of a multidisciplinary team.

6. The Early Entrance to Kindergarten team will review the application and assessment results and come to a decision in regards to a child’s need and/or ability to enter kindergarten early. The student must meet the screening criteria in all areas and receive a recommendation from the Early Entrance to Kindergarten team. A decision will be mailed within 10 work days of testing.


Admission of Students Aged Twenty-One or Older

A student aged 21 or older may enroll in a school in the district under the following conditions:

  1. There is available space in the school and program which the student shall attend;
  2. Tuition is prepaid;
  3. The student provides his/her own transportation;
  4. The student resides in the state of Washington; and
  5. In the judgment of the superintendent, no adult education program is available at reasonable costs and the district’s program is appropriate to the needs of the student.


Placement of Students on Admission

The decision of where to place a student seeking admission to the district rests with the principal. Generally, students meeting the age of admission requirements or transferring from a public or approved private school shall be placed in kindergarten or first grade, or the grade from which they transferred. The principal shall evaluate the educational record and assessments of all other students to determine their appropriate placement. A temporary classroom assignment may be made for no more than thirty calendar days for the purpose of evaluation prior to making the final placement decision.

Adopted/Previous Revisions: 02/26/14; 03/24/14; 04/17/17
Updated: 06/18/18