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Board Policies


Last Updated Date: 02/14/2023

Adoption Date: 06/22/2021

Revision History: 3/22/22 (reviewed), 2/14/23 (updated), 2/13/24 (reviewed)

Grade level retention is not a practice that is generally supported by the ICCSD

  • Experts generally consider grade level retention an ineffective strategy to support student achievement.
  • Grade retention may also have negative effects on social-emotional outcomes.
  • Grade retention may contribute to inequitable educational outcomes because some groups of students are more likely to be retained.
  • Schools should provide students with additional support outside of the typical school schedule as an alternative to retention.
  • Schools should use the MTSS process to reduce the need for grade retention.

Process when parents request for retention consideration

  • Meet with the parent or guardian and hear their concerns
  • Share one or more of the articles around retention with the family
    •  Phi Delta Kappa
    • Hanover Research Brief
  • Have them leave the meeting, and have time to think about it
  • If they still want to retain, have them write a letter stating that they have read the research on retention and wish to retain their child and state that they have read the article(s)
    • They need to sign and date the letter
    • Place the letter in the Cumulative file
    • Sample Letter

ELL Retention

Once identified, an ELL should be placed with students the same chronological age, unless there are extenuating circumstances, which will be considered on an individual basis. In no case will a student be placed in a grade level more than one year different from age-appropriate peers (see district LAU plan). If the team recommends a placement outside of the “age-based grade”, the principal and district ELL Coordinator must be included in the decision-making process.

Retention in Preschool 

  • The state of Iowa currently does not allow students who have turned 5 by September 15 to enroll in a public school preschool program.
  • Parents or guardians who do not want to send their child on to kindergarten would have the option to enroll their 5-year-old child in a non-public preschool, keep their child at home for a year, or even enroll their child in kindergarten for half days.
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