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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers

  • Is my child old enough to apply to Metcalf?
We have a preschool for children who are 4 years old.  The child must have turned 4 on or before September 1, 2023 but not yet have turned 5 by this date. If your child is age 5 on September 1, 2023 they are age appropriate for Kindergarten and would need to apply for Kindergarten placement. We do not service students in our preschool who are Kindergarten age appropriate.
  • How do I get my child admitted to Metcalf?
For the 2023-2024 school year, applications become available on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 8:00 a.m. and are due by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.  Completed applications are evaluated according to criteria listed on the Admission Guidelines sheet on the Admissions tab of Metcalf's website. Final decision letters will be mailed early to mid April.
  • If I turn my application in first, will I be first on the list?
No. Every completed application that is submitted before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 will be considered equally.
  • Do you charge tuition?
We only charge tuition for our preschool program. This fee is comparable to those charged by other child care centers in the area. Registration fees are charged for students in grades K-8; these vary according to grade level. Fees/tuition may be waived or reduced for families qualifying for the free or reduced lunch program.
  • Who decides if a student is admitted?

An admissions committee evaluates the application according to the needs at each grade level.  Each applicant uses a unique code as an identifier.  The committee is not privy to the student's identity; only the assessment and supporting documents provided by the student's current teacher/child care provider.

  • What time does preschool meet?

There are two preschool classes at Metcalf.  The morning class meets from 8-11:00 a.m. Monday through Friday and the afternoon class meets from 12-3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  If your child is admitted to preschool, we will ask for your class preference, but your child is not guaranteed to be placed in that class.

  • My child is enrolled in the Metcalf preschool. Will he/she automatically be enrolled in the 5-year-old Kindergarten?

Admission is not automatic, although priority may be given to children enrolled in preschool.

  • If my child is not admitted to Thomas Metcalf School, can his/her name be placed on a waiting list?

No, we do not maintain a waiting list for admission through the year. We will keep all applications on file over the summer to be used for last minute changes of enrollment for the upcoming school year. On rare occasions, we may have a few late admit options for students. If this is the case, and your child's application is chosen, you will be contacted by the Metcalf School Office Personnel before the start of the school year.

  • Is it true that Metcalf is a school only for gifted students?

No, we do not identify students as gifted nor do we offer programs or services specifically targeted at gifted students. We strive to offer a rich curriculum for all students.

  • What special education services does Heart of Illinois Low Incidence Association (HILIA) offer through Thomas Metcalf School?

Thomas Metcalf School has the resources to provide special education services to students with who have low vision/blindness or who are deaf/hard of hearing.  Students needing these services attend through HILIA'S cooperative agreement between their home district and the Lab Schools.  Our Support Services staff serves the needs of students with mild to moderate learning challenges. If a student has needs that go beyond this level, we team with the home district to determine where the services should take place.

  • If I apply, how likely is it that my child will be accepted into Metcalf?

Metcalf receives between 300 and 500 applications each year and admits approximately 40 to 60 students.

  • Is it possible to get a tour of Metcalf?

We are often asked to give individual tours and have meetings with parents.  This past year we received over 500 applications.  In fairness to all applicants, we try to give equal treatment to prospective families.  Since it's not possible to individualize meetings/tours for that many families, we provide an informational open house for all prospective applicants including a self-guided tour and time to ask questions.  This informational meeting is held during the first part of February.  Please watch our website during January for this date to be announced.