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Frequently Asked Questions About Screening of Applicants at SPES

Students applying for admission to St. Pius Elementary School are required to participate in a screening process prior to entering school the following year.  The results of the screening, along with the information provided on the child’s application assists us in determining if the child is developmentally prepared to enter St. Pius.  Upon starting school, we want your child to be poised to thrive in our educational setting.  One important note about screening that we want to stress to parents applying for their child’s admission to St. Pius is, the screening we administer is not a “readiness measure.”  We recommend that parents speak to their child’s preschool teacher and/or pediatrician if they want to discuss their child’s readiness - these people know your child and will welcome such a discussion.
 
What Screening Tool Is Used?
For the children entering school for the first time, the screening process we use is a developmental screening designed to measure the most fundamental and basic concepts that young children have acquired.  The tool we use, DIAL-4, is normed by age so a child screening at age 3 yrs, 3 months will not receive the same screening a child at 4 yrs, 2 months will.  DIAL-4 measures fundamental or basic concepts that children preparing to enter school have acquired.  
For students applying for Kindergarten, we also use DIBELS which is a series of short measures that assess literacy skills such as phonemic awareness, principles of the alphabet, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.   For students screening for 1st - 3rd grades, we use DIBELS and STAR Reading and Math, with which the majority of students are familiar due to the fact that so many schools use this platform.    Our older students, applying for grades 4-8 are also screened using STAR Math and STAR Reading, both computer-based and part of the Renaissance platform.  We find that older applicants “jump right in” to the screening process.

 

How Do I Prepare My Child For Screening?
In preparing your child for his/her screening, we want to stress above all else that this is not a test!  Our screeners have been in education, and worked with children, for years and make the experience fun.  Mrs. Lottie Broussard is in charge of Lower School Academic Support, Mrs. Kim Frederick is our Lower School Counselor and a former Kindergarten teacher and Mrs. Yvette Primeaux recently retired from SPES as our Middle School Academic Support Director but substitutes frequently, coaches our tennis team and assists with screenings.  These ladies make screening so much fun that we have children who do not want to leave and/or they ask if they can come back to the “big school” the next day.  Be sure to allow your child to wear play clothes with tennis shoes or shoes in which he/she can jump and hop.  There will be a lot of moving around so we want the children to be comfortable.
 
What Will Screening Day Look Like?
After scheduling a time for your child’s screening, we will provide instructions as to where we will meet you.  One adult (due to COVID guidelines) is allowed to accompany each child to his/her screening.  Upon arrival, you will sign in and wait with your child.  One of our screeners will come to meet your child, introduce herself and invite your child to join her to go play some games.  Three screenings take place at the same time with our applicants working with each screener for approximately 15 minutes each.  The adult accompanying your child is required to remain on campus and wait in a designated area while enjoying a cup of coffee and a bit of quiet time!   Our screenings usually last about 45 minutes, give or take a few minutes.
 
What Areas Does DIAL-4 Screening Examine?*
  • Motor area—Gross Motor items include catching, jumping, hopping, and skipping. Fine Motor items include building with blocks, cutting, copying shapes and letters, and writing, and a popular finger-touching task.
  • Language area—Items include answering simple personal questions (name, age, and sex), articulation, naming (expressive) or identifying (receptive) objects and actions, plus phonemic awareness tasks such as rhyming and "I Spy."
  • Concepts area—Items include pointing to named body parts, naming or identifying colours, rote counting, counting blocks, identifying concepts in a triad of pictures, and sorting shapes. Also included is an item that assesses automatic naming of objects, a skill that is associated with potential learning disabilities.
  • Social development—Looks at the child's development of social skills including rule compliance, sharing, self-control, and empathy.
*Details of motor, language and concepts screening provided by
Pearson Canada Assessment, Inc., manufacturers of Dial 4.  
 
When Will We Hear from St. Pius After The Screening?
You will receive a call, or email, regarding next steps in the Admissions Process no later than Friday, November 20, 2020.
 
 

St. Pius Elementary School does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national or ethnic origin in its admissions policies, employment practices or educational activities.