Polk Moms

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vpk question.....I know someone helped me before runs a program

Sadly my son has missed 24 days of VPK, less than half would be considered "excused" with a doctor's note. However, the director of my son's program says it doesnt matter. That at 25, he can be kicked out of the program.

I changed jobs after school started and then my dad passed away requiring me to be out of state for a week. My husband did a poor job of making sure our biys attended school.

I have remained in constant contact with the program director, but to no avail. She has informed me it is a state rule and it doesnt matter why he missed.

Now I am in a constant fear of him getting sick and needing to miss a day as it will mean him not being able to attend school anymore. I shifted my entire work schedule around and now take him myself, but I have to work one morning shift a month and cant.

Does anyone know if he is kicked out due to attendance, is it a state wide kick or can I enroll him in the program at a different location that is more conducive to my older son's schedule? (The afternoon program at Loughman so my hsuband could pick up both at the same time)

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Hello :)  I'm the Director of Little Sparks Learning Center in Lake Wales. 
Unfortunately, yes he can lose his placement in the VPK program.  The state pays per child to the site offering VPK.  And there are strict attendance rules that we as a site have to follow in order to be able to receive that compensation.  Otherwise it is at our discretion [the site] to decide whether or not to retain the child's enrollment.  After all the allotted excused days are missed, the payment begins to reduce.  Until a child misses 30% of the VPK program at which we do not get compensation at all.  So in short if a provider allowed a child to continue they would not get paid.  And it's hard to run a program/business with no money.
Sadly, you will be hard pressed to find another site that will taken him as a delayed enrollment because of the excessive absences.

I'm sorry you've been through so much though.  To be honest, it is my hope as a Director [and teacher of the VPK at our site], that one day that whole year before kindergarten will become a free program for all and not contingent on a certain program. 
With the education system wanting children to know a certain amount of things upon entering kindergarten, I think at least one year of free preschool [age 4] should be free and counted basically as a Kindergarten I program and then they go on to Kindergarten II.

Terra, thank you for taking so much time to help DisneyMomaTo2 with your information.  I thank you both for bringing this topic with so much clarity to everyone reading these forums; I think this information could be helpful to many.

DisneyMomaTo2, I am very sorry to hear of your troubles.   I hope there are only sunny days ahead.  Good luck to you and your family! 

Can you qualify for a different pre-k program, like School Readiness or Head Start or ESE ( through Early Steps or Child Find)?

My son was evaluated through Early Steps because he was missing milestones, and he qualified for some free services and eventually free ESE pre-k when he turned 3. When he was 4, in his second year of ESE pre-k, his teacher put in a request for him to try "traditional" pre-k the year before kindergarten. The School Readiness pre-k at Medulla allowed up to three ESE labeled kids in the School Readiness classroom, and he got one of those spots, thanks to his ESE pre-k teacher! The rest of the kids in School Readiness paid on a sliding scale. Also, I think that particular School Readiness program was combined with VPK...the kids paid some, and used their vouchers to cover the rest. Since my son was still labeled as ESE the year before kindergarten, we didn't have to use our VPK voucher...we used it that summer before kindergarten instead.

Terra you said "excused absences".......so does that mean my center is just lumping any absence together, regardless of reason up to the 25?  Because granted, he's missed more days than he should have.....but I had dr notes for several days.

Jmarr.....maybe head start, but not ESE...he doesn't qualify for ESE as he definitely meets all his milestones.

I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to say excused.  To the VPK program it doesn't matter whether it's excused or not.  They pay [or don't pay] regardless. 
I'm sorry you're going through this.  I know every center can be different with their attendance policies.  I realize things do happen.  One of the reasons that providers like myself have this policy truthfully is to ensure appropriate learning and also getting them used to a full time kindergarten schedule.  Statistically it is shown that the more a child misses of school, the less they learn, and miss out on so much classroom experience.



DisneyMamaTo2 said:

Terra you said "excused absences".......so does that mean my center is just lumping any absence together, regardless of reason up to the 25?  Because granted, he's missed more days than he should have.....but I had dr notes for several days.

Jmarr.....maybe head start, but not ESE...he doesn't qualify for ESE as he definitely meets all his milestones.

Sadly my child will suffer due to choices made by my husband. I will just keep my fingrrs crossed he doesnt get sick between now and June.

Thanks for the advice.

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