What Kinsley's Kindergarten Situation Will Look Like Next Year

It seems a little unreal to write the title for this post. How? How are we five years into this entire situation already? It seems impossible to be five years on the other side of that pregnancy that turned our entire lives upside down in the best way possible. And here we are. Talking kindergarten. 

There were so many choices that we could have made in terms of Kinsley and school for next year. We could have sent her to a moderate skills kindergarten class in our current school district. This was the decision that her current teachers and school team had made. It would be a class that was higher functioning kids, and they would be learning the gen-ed curriculum, but in a class that wasn't inclusive with gen-ed peers, but would allow her the opportunity to possibly "mix" her with gen-ed peers during PE, music, and other elective classes. 

We had two different preschool options. She could either go to a private preschool that Derek and I would pay out of pocket for, or she could have gone to the community preschool in our same school that she currently attends, but she would have lost all her special education services, and it would have only been two days a week in both situations, private or public school. 

Then there was a third option. An autism charter school that is technically in our school district boundaries, but because it's a charter school, it's dealt with at a state level, and not a district level. There was a lottery to get into this school, and I kind of threw Kinsley's name in at the last minute not really thinking that we'd get in, and then low and behold we did. Which now meant we had four options for next school year, and no idea on how to proceed. 

Derek and I felt that because Kinsley has a late August birthday, that she should wait until she is six to start kindergarten because being the youngest in her class, and having a disability felt like an unfair advantage to put her in. We're not trying to deny the fact that she needs special education services, and that holding her back a year would put her in a normal gen-ed class for kindergarten when she's six... but what we're hoping is that when she is in 5th or 6th grade and they're potentially thinking about transitioning her to a gen-ed class, it could potentially be easier for her to make that jump if she's the oldest kid trying to transition into a gen-ed class instead of having the disadvantage of being the youngest and trying to bridge the gap with peers that are an entire year older than her. We wanted to set her up for the most amount of success for a potential transition to general education later in life. 

Initially we had planned on sending her to a private preschool that would have been in a person's basement. We actually haven't told that teacher yet that she's not coming and haven't looked into our deposit money or anything. We'd talked with Kinsley's PT who I'd forced into helping us make this decision, and he thought the private preschool would be the best option for her, and agreed waiting for her to start kindergarten would be best. This was at a time when the school district was trying to tell us they would not let her do another year of preschool with them (and spoiler, they lied to us and she could do a third year...). 

Then we'd thrown our hat into the lottery at the  autism charter school, and to our shock, we got in. We felt so confident in our decision with the preschool, and this really threw us for a loop. So we get the PT involved again and he flat out told us we shouldn't turn it down. My head was spinning. We'd spent so much time preparing ourselves that we weren't going to be doing kindergarten, and here we were, registering her for kindergarten for next school year. 

There are a lot of things that I love about this situation. They have a "functional skills"(what our local area calls special needs) campus, but because Kinsley's IQ is 1 point below average (YES, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!!!!) she won't qualify for that program and will be in a gen-ed class. Because mostly everyone in that school is on the autism spectrum though, most kids are going to be on an IEP like her and receiving services to some degree, but she will have access to the gen-ed curriculum and will be in the main building with higher functioning peers, but also super great and understanding teachers that just get the entire disability thing. 

So what about kindergarten when she's six? Well, because we're taking her out of the local school district and the charter school is part of the state school district, there really isn't much of a paper trail in this situation. The plan is for her to do one year of kindergarten in the charter school, and then transfer her back into our normal district for a second year of kindergarten (unless we love the charter school and want her to stay and they'll let her do a second year of kinder then we'll see). By doing this she'll have access to higher learning and knowledge then she would get in a third year of preschool, but she'll get the opportunity to learn that information twice through two years of kindergarten. It's a little unconventional and there's a lot of moving parts, but even when we met with her current school team to discuss this yesterday, and to let them know that we weren't going to be doing kindergarten with her current district, you could tell there were some eyes in the room that were nodding and thinking, "yep, that's smart and we literally can't do anything about it". 

So that's the final decision. One year of charter school kinder, followed by another year of public school kinder. Here goes nothing. Or everything. I've already made too many decisions and can't think anymore.

Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along in instagram @thehappyflammily!

1 comment

  1. I can't imagine trying to figure this all out. There are so many good/better/best situations for our kids. And its so hard to figure out which one will best help them. Its refreshing to see parents working to come up with the best situation for their kids. And your darling daughter is lucky to have you fighting for her. I hope she flies high this next year. Success is in her future.