New parents often think their child will be in one room or another based on the math level they saw during spring visits, or based on a class description. Returning parents may assume that their kids will move through a sequential series of steps, just like all of us did in school. People assume that kids do 3rd grade with Mrs. Smith, then 4th grade with Mrs. Jones, etc. That isn't actually how we do this.
We may have as many as 60 new plus returning kids in September 2019. We will need a way to quickly sort them into rooms to get started. We are not trying to match kids to a defined group. The goal is to accommodate as many kids as we can, and to put similar kids together. The quickest way to do that is for as many as possible of the elem kids, and all of the middle and high school kids, to take a written, in-person placement test. We will offer gr 3, gr 5, and algebra I placement tests in 1st period, and a gr 7 placement test in 2nd period. Kids can choose whichever test they want. If they score particularly high or low, they may be asked to take a second test later. We will look for natural breaks in the test results to divide kids in each time period roughly into halves or thirds, and assign them to group leaders. Each room will end up with a range of ages. Group leaders will plan meetings to fit whatever kids they end up with. So your child's placement depends not just on how strong your child is, but also on where the rest of the kids fall. If there is a big cluster of kids who are stronger/weaker or older/younger than your kid in a given time period, your child may fall in a different slice than you are expecting. Also remember that group leaders are volunteers, with their own kids in the activity. They may drop in or out, or change the age group they are working with, between one year and the next. So "Mrs. Jone's group" now will not necessarily be equivalent to "Mrs. Jone's group" next year.
Kids under 9 can opt out of testing if they are not developmentally able to show what they can do in a test format. But they will not be grouped with older kids without doing the written test, even if a parent wants that. It has to do with reading skills, attention span, perseverance, ability to work independently, etc in addition to math level.
We all understand that some kids don't test well and may need a more challenging room than their scores would suggest. Or they may need to build up their self confidence and need a room where there is more hand-holding. Or they might need a switch to be with kids who have the same level of interest or disinterest in competing. Once we get going, we will try to make adjustments, space permitting, until everyone finds their best fit. But we cannot really predict in advance what group your child will be in in the fall. Please bear with us during the sorting process. Newcomers will have the option of paying by the week for a couple of meetings until they feel confidant that they are in a room that fits.
All parents are encouraged to participate unless they are watching younger siblings. They may be required to participate if their child not ready to solo.