And, one more thing…


When it comes to the late birthdays, don’t you fret! Last evening, RIISE sponsored a Riverdale Parents of Color workshop entitled, Is Everyone’s Hand Raised. You might remember this workshop as a RIISE webinar last year. Once again, the facilitator, Leslie Talbot rocked the house and dropped some spectacular pearls of wisdom. Leslie talked about the increasing role intellectual curiosity will play in gaining a competitive edge on the newer applications for top tier colleges and having success in our global workforce.

At the end of the event Latoya Allen, Asst Dir of Admissions lamented over prospective parents concerns about their child repeating a grade. My son’s birthday is November 22. This birthdate is beyond the cut off for his school, which means that he had to wait a year before applying for K. Our son attended the local PS for one year as a K’er and then REPEATED K after being accepted to his independent school. He is a confident leader because of it.

But, many families of color are just not having it. Repeating a grade has all sorts of negative connotations. Yet, it is not the same thing as being left back. Latoya wants parents to know that the extra year is a gift of time.

Somewhat controversial in public schools, late birthdays are a fact at independent schools, so let’s consider three benefits:

  1. Intellectual Curiosity & Confidence can come with age. Most of our kids are coming to Pre K/K reading and writing. However, one of the most impressive attributes of a prospective student is how curious they are. Are they asking questions? Are they engaging in conversation? This comes with emotional confidence and confidence often comes with age. But, keep in mind that as parents we have the power to encourage this type of engagement.
  2. Head of the Class is pretty much a shoe-in. The oldest is generally the most mature. That’s the concept behind late birthdays-Independent Schools like to develop leaders. It is a competitive advantage, and trust me many majority families leverage this – it’s called redshirting, a collegiate sports reference adopted by early childhood education
  3. Thinking Ahead. As a parent wouldn’t you feel more confident sending an 18 year old to college versus a 17 year old? Hmmm, something to think about.


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