Skip To Main Content

Alternate Placement and Screening Process

The process for families who request special placement (e.g. late start or early entry to kindergarten) is outlined below. MPCSD makes every effort to ensure that students are placed in the grade level that is most appropriate for long-term academic, social, and emotional success. Most children will be best served in their standard grade level. Please note there is no Alternate Placement (early or late entry) for Transitional Kindergarten.

Students under consideration for non-standard grade placement will be universally screened with research-based language arts, mathematics and fine motor screening tools and measure against the grade level standards to which they are applying. Appointments for screenings will be made upon receipt of the completed readiness survey. Information gathered from the screenings, survey, and observations will inform the recommendation to grant or deny the alternate placement request. Parents are welcome to submit additional information for consideration when appropriate.

The District will make every effort to place the child at their home school; however, based on current student enrollment at a particular school, this may not be possible.

Students who are approved for alternative placement are enrolled on a trial basis for the first six months of enrollment. Within the six month trial basis, if an administrator feels the alternative placement is not in the best interest of the child (academically, socially, or emotionally), parents will be contacted to discuss alternatives.

On a case-by-case basis, a school administrator may recommend a non-standard grade placement.

The School Board must approve all requests for alternative grade placement before placement is complete.


Early Kindergarten Entry

Requests for early admittance into Kindergarten may be submitted for the child who turns five between September 1 and December 2 (inclusive). All early-admitted students should exhibit social, physical, and academic readiness for Kindergarten.

To be eligible for early kindergarten entry, parent/guardian(s) must attend a kindergarten orientation at their home school to learn about the kindergarten program and process for admittance (usually held in early spring).

In determining whether a child may be granted early entry into kindergarten, the Superintendent or designee may also consider the availability of classroom space and/or any negotiated maximum class size.

*Please note there is no early alternate placement into Transitional Kindergarten.  Please review the Transitional Kindergarten web page for eligible birthdates to enroll in TK.

Late Start Kindergarten and Deferred Kindergarten

For students who turn five by September 1 (and, therefore, are age-appropriate for kindergarten) but whose families would like to defer kindergarten until the following year, must submit a written request for Late Entry to the Superintendent by June 1 the year they would enter kindergarten.  This process is also required for students who are age appropriate for kindergarten but want Transitional Kindergarten (TK). 

Children who are age appropriate, and match the academic and maturational profile of a first grader, will be placed in first grade even if the student did not attend kindergarten previously.

The timeline to process alternative grade placement requests is as follows:


*Requests for alternative grade placement will not be accepted after June 1 for the coming school year.

*Students requesting both alternative grade placement and Immersion program during open enrollment will be entered into the Immersion lottery should one be necessary. However, enrollment in the program will not be confirmed until alternative grade placement is approved. Students are only allowed to enter into a kindergarten Immersion lottery once. Therefore, if wait listed, student will not be allowed to enter the kindergarten Immersion lottery the following year.  

What is our placement and screening process? 

1. Use our School Locator link to verify that your residence is in the Menlo Park City School District attendance boundaries.  Once you have secured housing within our District attendance boundaries, we can accept your alternate grade placement request.

2. Complete a short Alternate Screening and Placement Survey to help us better understand your child.  Please note - alternate grade placement recommendations may not necessarily guarantee placement at your home school.

3. Forward the link below that says "Preschool Teacher Survey" to your preschool teacher and have them complete the form.  
Preschool Teacher Survey

4. Once the preschool survey and the form have been completed, we will contact you to schedule a time to bring your child in to be screened.

Who do I contact when I have questions regarding the alternate placement and screening process?
Inquiries can be emailed to: