It is the philosophy of the Fargo School District that children with unique talents and abilities as expressed in superior intellectual, verbal, social and emotional development should be allowed to participate in formal educational experiences at a younger age if they are able to adequately benefit from such instruction and meet the birth date criteria established by North Dakota law.
As such, Fargo Public Schools, does maintain an early entrance policy. Students who meet the December 1st age requirement (NDCC 15.1-06-01) and in addition successfully pass the early entrance evaluation system described in the early entrance policy will be entered early if a parent so chooses. The early entrance application deadline is April 15 of the year preceding desired attendance.
For more information on the testing and application process, please email Kim Rensch, Gifted Services & Early Entrance Testing Coordinator, or call 701-446-1160.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is early entrance?
A unique type of whole-grade acceleration is early entrance to school. For intellectually gifted young children, early entrance to school may be an excellent option. There is a strong body of research evidence that concludes bright children who are carefully selected for early entrance generally perform very well long term, both academically and socially.
Children who will benefit from early entrance may not exhibit all of the characteristics listed below; however, strong candidates will exhibit more of these characteristics than other children.
What are some important factors in an early entrant’s ability, achievement, aptitude and behavior?
- Understands the meanings and use of words better than other children his/her age;
- Is curious about many things and asks questions often;
- Is very good at working puzzles or solving problems;
- Has a great sense of humor and understands jokes more than other children his/her age;
- Has a good memory and remembers details of conversations or stories;
- Is interested in difficult concepts such as time and space;
- Concentrates on certain activities much longer than other children his/her age;
- Reads and understands text in picture books or chapter books;
- Figures out math-related problems better than other children his/her age.
What are some important school and academic factors?
- Enjoys learning new information or skills;
- Participates in community-sponsored activities such as sports, dance, gymnastics, library, and museum programs;
- Believes he/she is capable of succeeding at new tasks.
What are some important developmental factors?
- Thoughtfully considers feedback and criticisms and modifies behavior appropriately;
- Often behaves in a way that is positive and effective;
- Has good interpersonal skills with age-mates, as well as, with both older and younger children, and with adults;
- Has excellent interpersonal relationships with adults in a teaching role.
- Is enthusiastic about going to school, and being there all day.
What is Fargo Public School’s application and assessment process for early entrance?
The procedure for early identification for kindergarten and/or first grade in Fargo School District is as follows:
- A pre-evaluation discussion will be held with parents to determine the basis for early entrance testing and inform the parents of the standards and criteria and evaluation procedures.
- Parents who wish to proceed with the assessment process submit an early entrance application. Fargo Public Schools early entrance application deadline is April 15 of the year preceding desired attendance. Parents who proceed with the testing will be charged a fee of $40.00.
- An individual intelligence screening test is given. Screening instruments may include, but are not limited to, the Beery Test of Visual Motor Integration, the Kaufmann Brief Intelligence Test, and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. The child must achieve an intelligence quotient in the superior range in order to be considered for further evaluation.
- If the student meets the criteria in #3, an individual intelligence test such as the Stanford-Binet or the Wechsler Pre-School and Primary Intelligence Scale-Revised given by qualified personnel. The intelligence test data is reviewed. Upon this review, an additional assessment of developmental readiness may also be requested.
- A post-evaluation conference will be held with the child’s parents to review the evaluation and the placement decision.
Why is early entrance limited to intellectually gifted children?
Intellectual giftedness is rare. It is very few children who demonstrate this kind of cognitive ability. Early entrance is intended to provide a pathway to meet the needs of students who demonstrate this uncommon intellectual gift because the educational research shows they likely will benefit long term from entering school earlier than is typical.
When does early entrance testing occur?
Early entrance testing occurs in May of each school year. Parents who submit an early entrance application prior to April 15th will be contacted to schedule testing in May.
Who do I contact to learn more about the process and application?
Ann Duchscher, FPS Coordinator for Gifted Services – 701-446-1160