Childrearing

Help! Moving Mid-School-Year Got My Daughter Kicked Out Of Kindergarten

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Catherine was shocked. Her mother, who works as an educator, was shocked. I was shocked. A school would kick out a five year old girl because they moved houses in the  middle of the year? They couldn’t even wait until next September? After all, taxes are allocated to every school during September. So technically, the school was paid to educate Kylee for the entire year already. Catherine and her husband pay additional tuition so that Kylee can attend a full-day program, a fee they were happy to continue paying. Transportation wasn’t an issue, because Catherine is a stay-at-home mom who takes her daughter to and from school everyday and even volunteers in her classroom multiple times a week. Catherine heads up fundraisers at school and works at the school spirit shop. She reads stories and helps with snack. She’s an active member of her school, the type of parent that most teachers pray for.

Now, my friend’s choices are whether she’s going to find an apartment in her new city, in the same school district that they’ll be moving to, so that her daughter can switch to her new school immediately. They’ll have an additional cost of rent while they’re getting their new home. And Kylee will miss at least a couple weeks of school while they move and get readjusted. Or Kylee can switch to a new school in our city, in the district of Catherine’s parents. That would mean that she only attends this new school for a couple months before she leaves again. But either way, this poor little girl is going to be ripped from a classroom where she feels comfortable and deposited into a new, unfamiliar setting.

As a veteran at switching schools, why do I think that moving mid-year is so different? Well first of all, curriculums vary by district, by school and by teacher. Kylee’s new class could be covering things that she learned months ago, causing her to lose attention and focus. Or, they could be a couple steps ahead of Kylee’s old class. Then, she can feel confused and unsure when she’s already in a new place. Secondly, at the beginning of a new year, everyone is on the same level. Sure, you might know some friends from a previous class. But every child has to learn about the environment of their classroom. Social structures haven’t been formed yet and the class’s rules haven’t been learned. Switching mid-year means walking into an established system where you feel completely out-of-place. The kids have been playing together for months. The teacher knows all their strengths and weaknesses. I hate showing up late to a party that’s already in full swing. Switching mid-year involves that type of social anxiety multiplied by a couple hundred.

My friend now has one day before her daughter has to say goodbye to all of the friends and relationships that she’s made in her first year of education. Kylee has to leave a classroom where she feels confident and secure, and I’m not quite what the school district gets out of it. I have no idea why they couldn’t continue to educate this child for a couple more months. The only thing I do know is that if our school districts are supposed to be serving our children, they just failed one of their youngest charges. Through a ridiculous bit of bureaucracy, they made school more difficult and stressful for an amazing little girl whose house sold quicker than her parents expected.

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