Navigating the System: FAQ
Answers to Common Questions
A: Kindergarten is encouraged but not required in Texas. Students turning 6 as of September 1 are required to attend school. To enroll your child in any Texas school, you must have:
- Birth certificate or other proof of identity
- Immunization records
- Student records from recently attended school
- Proof of residency in the district
A: Public schools begin the last week in August and include 180 days of instruction per year. Each district sets its own holiday calendars, typically including winter and spring breaks. Testing typically takes place in the spring for public schools. Private schools typically start earlier in August, and testing takes place in January or February.
A: No. Texas does not follow the Common Core State Standards program. State of Texas learning standards are called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Every grade level and every subject have learning standards that drive curriculum development and what is taught in the classroom.
A: Yes, most likely. You’ll need to confirm with your new district and school.
A: No, if your child has passed the sixth grade in your state, he or she will start in the seventh grade in Texas. Grade level alignment varies by district.
A: Each district schedules its own tryouts, summer practices, and calendars. Speak with your new school to determine eligibility.
A: Probably not. Meet with your new school counselor as soon as possible to discuss graduation requirements.
A: Yes, most districts in the Dallas Region offer AP classes, International Baccalaureate programs, and dual credit learning opportunities. You’ll need to confirm with your individual district and school to be sure.
A: Yes, your son will continue to be educated under an IEP as dictated by federal and state law. Get in touch with the district as soon as you can to ensure a seamless transition. Please visit Alternative Schools for more information on special needs education.
A: It depends. Bus service is provided to families living more than 2 miles away from their schools. Transport will also be provided in cases where students might face hazardous conditions, such as crossing a major roadway or no crossing guard. Confirm with your new school.
A: Yes. To be classified as a Texas resident and be entitled to pay resident tuition, a person must establish a domicile and maintain continuous residence in Texas for 12 months preceding the school census date.
“The underlying philosophy of Montessori is that children are individual, self-motivated learners who are assisted in learning by their teachers, or ‘guides,’ as they are called,” says educational consultant Eleanor Munson, Ph.D. Instead of focusing on test taking, highly trained educators encourage their students, who are typically in mixed-aged classes, to move at their own pace, follow their own interests, and work independently.
The schools you’ll find in Dallas, which may serve kids from pre-K through 12th grade, are governed by one of two accrediting bodies: Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and American Montessori Society (AMS). “If you’re looking for a ‘pure’ Montessori experience for your child, you’ll want an AMI school,” says Munson. “If you want your child’s education to include computers, technology, et cetera, you’ll want an AMS school.”
Not sure if this type of education is right for your child? “You child doesn’t necessarily have to attend a Montessori-accredited school to enjoy the benefits of this type of educational philosophy,” Munson says. “Some preschools take the best of what each educational philosophy offers and combine these to form their curriculum.”
For an extensive look at both public and private Montessori schools, and more educational resources in Dallas, browse through the DFW Child Everything guide online at dfwchild.com/everything. – Elizabeth Smith, DFWChild Magazines