Transferring schools with two months to go.
February 21, 2021 2:30 PM   Subscribe

We homeschooled out daughter for K-5 and then decided to enroll her in a public school for 6th. She's been doing virtual (and doing well) since August. Now, because of a loss of employment and an expiring lease, we are required to move from Florida to North Carolina. Has anyone transferred their kid to a new school with only two months left in the school year? How does that even work logistically? I know every state and every situation is different, but the whole public school system is still very new to me after homeschooling her all her life, so any guidance is appreciated.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI to Education (15 answers total)
Contact both school districts -- the one you're in now, and the one you'll be moving to. They'll both have standard procedures to follow (people move all the time), and will tell you what needs to be done (and in what order they must be done).
posted by aramaic at 2:43 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]

Is there any reason they have to know you are moving if it is virtual? Why not just finish out the school year (only 2 months) virtually with the old school district?
posted by Toddles at 2:50 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Is there any reason they have to know you are moving if it is virtual? Why not just finish out the school year (only 2 months) virtually with the old school district?

That was our original thought. But we received an email that they'll be administering state tests in April and May that she needs to be physically present for over multiple dates.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:56 PM on February 21

I moved to a new fifth grade with only a few months left in the year.

The only (minor) issue it caused was that when we got a substitute teacher to finish out the year because the teacher I'd only had for a week had given birth, I was the only kid in the class who hadn't realized the original teacher had been pregnant. It was obvious and old news to the rest of the class.

I remember several instances of my classmates being welcoming.
posted by aniola at 4:06 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

If it is not possible to have her stay with a friend for the days of the state tests, I would find out what happens to her if she stays virtual and does not take the State tests. Can she get a waiver? Will she be allowed into 7th grade in NC? If not, why not? How is that different than her being home schooled in 6th grade too? Could she take a placement test in NC to see if she is ready for NC 7th grade?

Is NC virtual? Does NC have some State test too that she will have to take? If the class has been preparing all year, that is being taught to the test and she moves in with 2 months to go, no matter how well she is doing now, she may struggle on the test.

But, so what? My kids took State tests in NY and we never even opened the envelope. Unless it is being used for some sort of advanced or remedial placement, the test is mental masturbation. Probably even if it is being used for placement purposes. My concern would more be the social aspects of moving than the academic.

Also, while I do not know your schedule, you could theoretically home school her for the last two months.

I would rank the possible alternatives you prefer then call both schools and push for the one you want the most. I we lived in 3 states while my kids were in school. I found all three district administrations to be reasonable and wanting to work with us. They were limited only by State regulations. Even then, a few could be missedforgottenskipped if it was really in the best interest of our children. Decide what is in the best interest of your family and then see if they will accommodate it and if not, what they will do.

As for last two months moving, it is what it is. Your child will not be the first to do it and if her teacher(s) and administrators are engaged, they will work with her to both make sure she is up to speed on curriculum and integrate socially. Plus, the last month of school in every school I have attended or my children is more of a wind down than hard learning.
posted by AugustWest at 4:59 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]

I would add in that many school districts in NC are also moving to in person learning now or soon (or are doing some combination of virtual and in person), so be aware of that change for your family as well
posted by raccoon409 at 4:59 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

I’d talk to your current school district. If they’re willing to let her skip the state tests, you don’t care about them, and the new district doesn’t care about them, sticking with the current district remotely would be easiest. As some anecdata, our neighbors are moving from the SF Bay Area to Canada next week, and our school district is letting them finish out the year even in another country.
posted by bananacabana at 5:04 PM on February 21

What is going on in NC schools right now is completely dependent on the county/school system (we have a few city systems too) and the grade level (so in the county I'm in, they've got elementary in school part of the week but high school at home; in the systems my sisters teach in, one has middle school students in person some of the time and the other has been having to report to the building even though all the students are still virtual. I think. It keeps changing).

Given the pandemic situation, unfortunately, I don't think any of us are going to be able to address "Has anyone transferred their kid to a new school with only two months left in the school year? How does that even work logistically?" very usefully. I know all this is daunting, but I guarantee you that schools deal with this all the time, and they're your best resource right now.

Good luck with all this, and welcome to North Cackalacky! :) If you have any questions about NC, feel free to MeMail me as well.
posted by joycehealy at 5:50 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]

"They'll be administering state tests in April and May"

At that age I believe those tests would not be ones required to advance to the next grade, they'd be ones used to measure the performance of teachers/schools.

I would not recommend having a child who hasn't taken standardized tests before stay over with someone else to take them. These tests can be stressful, and the score your child gets would reflect more on the years of homeschooling than the year of online learning.
posted by I paid money to offer this... insight? at 5:56 PM on February 21

You asked about logistics, so I concur with AugustWest re: the scholastic / procedural answers you may seek, to ensure your child's' successful transition in the new school system. I would also point out, with no experience to support myself, that a change from a home-schooled learning environment to a 'big middle school', with an out-of state move thorwn in, has a lot of other socio-emotional issues that may be important for your child to be prepared for.
posted by TDIpod at 8:39 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]

In California, parents have the right to opt out of standardized testing in elementary school. Don't know if that is an option. When we moved from one district to another in California, we were allowed to keep our kids in their existing school until the end of the year so it is worth asking.

On the other hand, it may be that even distance learning might be chance for your kid to start to make friends in the new school that might give her the beginning of a social network for the summer and then moving into the fall. So, if she does need to switch that might be an advantage.
posted by metahawk at 11:09 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

When this happened to my family, my mother stayed behind with the kids to finish out the school year in a short-term rental and my dad went ahead and started the new job, staying with family.

Moving during the school year is rough. If there is any way at all you can manage to let her finish the year with her current school, and start the new one with the new school in the fall, that would be really for the best.
posted by amaire at 11:27 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

Look into opting out of the Florida tests. I haven't researched this in Florida specifically but I'd be surprised if Florida didn't have an opt-out option especialyl with COVID. Here's a recent article with some opt out guidance. The NC school may require some sort of placement test without those scores, but you also won't be the first family that has opted out of the tests so they will have a process for this. If you can opt out, I concur that keeping her remote at her Florida school would be best socially and emotionally for your kid. If it comes down to having your kid go physically in for the last two months, maybe you can contact the school social worker just to have contact with your child like a weekly check in or something. This is sort of the perfect storm of social integration -- new school, only two months left, and this age is just very difficult socially for all kids in school.

And if there is no opt out option, just have her be absent those days? I mean, what can the school do?
posted by archimago at 4:41 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]

It's functionally possible to opt out of standardized testing no matter what state you're in, Florida included. There is no statute that specifically allows opting out there, but again: "functionally possible." There are very few things that a district/county/state/etc can force families to do vis-a-vis schooling. Vaccination is one of the quasi-mandatory things. Most everything else is theoretically optional. The school might insist something is mandatory or even claim you're breaking the law by opting out*, etc., but what are they going to do? (*You're not, but they're worried about various forms of federal funding.)

This is even more true in a pandemic year. If someone doesn't want their kid in a group setting, who is the school to say "no, your family is required to take health risks for your kid to fill in bubbles for several hours"? (I realize that depending on your area or political climate, the school might definitely try to say this, but a. screw that, and b. again, this is really not enforceable.)

Link to Opt Out Guide for Florida K-12 standardized testing.
posted by desert outpost at 10:39 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]

Just as another data point, NC is requiring students to take their End of Grade/Course tests in person, even if they are virtual. I teach at the virtual option in my district, and our students were told they had to do it.

If it was me, I'd keep her in FL virtual schooling until the end of the school year, then just opt out of testing or tell them you're moving right before the end of the year, and start the new year in NC.

If you happen to be moving near Charlotte, I can offer more district-specific advice, as everything is very different depending on the district.
posted by guster4lovers at 4:23 PM on February 24

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