Meeting Students Where They Are
Liberty exists to nurture and facilitate innovators’ individual passion for learning. Through voice, choice, pace and path, learners will contribute to mankind’s digitally connected world.
The relationships built between learners and teachers are important to all involved and build culture and the common language around personalized learning so everyone is on board. It starts with conversations between learners and teachers to develop an understanding of who the learner is and to use that information to co-design learning goals based on our state standards. Learners advance at their own pace based on demonstrated mastery of the standards. They are socially engaged contributors that share their learning with others.
Gifted and Talented Programming
What is Gifted and Talented?
If a student is identified as Gifted and Talented (GT), they may go to their neighborhood school (Frontier Elementary) or apply for the Discovery Program which is housed at another school. The Discovery Program is designed for those students who have needs so intense that they cannot be met in a regular classroom. All students in Douglas County are given the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in 3rd & 5th grade (unless the school has 6th grade) as a universal screen for early intervention. If there is a need for a student to take the CogAT in another grade due to teacher recommendation or parent request, that is possible at grades 1, 2, & 4. Testing at these levels is solely for the purpose of possible GT identification. The CogAT is given each September.
What is an ALP
An ALP is an Advanced Learning Plan. All students that are identified as GT have an ALP whether they go to their neighborhood school (FVE) or a Discovery School. The decision to create an ALP comes from an identification process that looks at a body of evidence that includes many data points including CogAT classroom work/assessments, other standardized measures, input from classroom teacher, parent(s), and student. The decision to create an ALP comes from an identification process that looks at a body of evidence that includes many data points including CogAT, classroom work/assessments, other standardized measures, input from classroom teacher, parent(s), and student.
Common Myths of GT Students
- Gifted students do not need help. If they are really gifted they can manage on their own.
- Gifted students are a homogenous group, all high achievers.
- Gifted students have fewer problems than others because their intelligence and abilities somehow exempt them form the hassles of daily life.
- The future of the gifted student is assured: a world of opportunities awaits.
- Gifted students are self-directed; they know where they are heading.
- The social and emotional development of the gifted student is at the same level as his or her intellectual development.
- Gifted students are nerds and social isolates.
What does GT look like at Frontier Valley Elementary?
At Frontier Valley, we create ALP plans for students that have gone through a GT identification process and qualify. The ALP is written by the GT Contact in collaboration with classroom teachers, students, and parents. The ALP formalizes the differentiation that the classroom teacher does for the students in their identified area(s) as well as affective needs. At Frontier Valley, we value and support the depth and complexity of knowledge, not just what grade level a concept may be. All students in our building read and write at their highest independent level. Sometimes additional grouping is needed in the area of mathematics. Our MTSS team collaborates to make the best determination of what that looks like year to year. Some strategies that we use to meet needs at our building are: Flexible Grouping in reading and math, Content Acceleration, Grade Level Acceleration, Independent Study, Curriculum Compacting, and Blended Learning.
What will this look like at Cimarron Middle School?
Cimarron has many options for different levels of learning. Teachers will recommend based on their knowledge of the student and the choices that are offered. Parent and student input is taken as well.
What is the Professional Learning Specialist's Role
My role as the GT contact is to organize and administer CogAT testing, coordinate the identification process as well as facilitate writing the ALP. If a parent is interested in applying for the Discovery Program, I help with that process as well. I also collaborate with teachers in writing the goals, gathering support materials, analyzing data and adjusting plans as needed. Frontier Valley Elementary has a long history of highly capable students and our teachers are well versed in differentiation for all students.
CogAT Testing will be held Sept. 11-15 for ALL 3rd and 5th Grade students.No permission is necessary. September 11-15th cogAT Referral Testing available upon request for grades 1, 2, and 4. Note that ALL STUDENTS ARE SCREENED IN GRADES 3 and 5.
The Discovery Program
The Discovery Application Process for the 2018 -2019 school year is now open.
The application process may be initiated by a teacher or other professional, parent, or student. The application deadline for the 2018-2019 school year is November 17, 2017. For applications submitted after that date, students identified for the program are placed on a space availability basis.
The Discovery Program is a self-contained, center based, magnet program for highly gifted learners located regionally at four elementary school sites in Douglas County. The program is intended for those students who require intensity of instruction and acceleration beyond what can reasonably be expected from the regular school gifted programming.
Due to the intensive nature of the Discovery Program, a body of evidence is needed to determine the best match between student and programming. Information considered includes documented cognitive ability, standardized achievement data, classroom performance data, student, parent, and teacher input. Three major criteria for placement are
- Exceptional intellectual/cognitive ability
- Documented above grade level performance in multiple content areas, and
- No below grade level performance in any content area.
Multiple criteria will be considered in the placement process to provide evidence of the best match between student academic need and the rigorous environment of the program.
Response to Intervention
RTI is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom.
What is Intervention?
Intervention: Is “first and foremost, instruction focused on individual need. It is carefully planned. It is intensive, urgent, relentless and goal directed. It is empirically supported practice, drawn from research.” (Zigmond, 1997, p.385).
What constitutes an Intervention?
A. An instructional intervention is a planned set of procedures that are aimed at teaching a specific set of academic or social skills to a student or students. An intervention is more than a single lesson and less than an entire curriculum. Minimally, an intervention would have the following components:
1. It is planned. Planning implies a decision-making process. Decisions require information (data) therefore, an instructional intervention is a data-based set of teaching procedures.
2. It is sustained. This means that an intervention likely is implemented in a series of lessons over time.
3. It targets, or is focused on, a particular student or students and on a particular set of skills or knowledge. This means an intervention is intended to meet a specific set of needs for a student(s). However this does not mean that an intervention must be conducted in one-to-one teaching. An intervention, even a special education & individualized intervention, can be implemented for an entire class.
4. It is goal oriented. This means that the intervention is intended to produce a change in knowledge/behavior (academic or social) from some beginning or baseline state toward some more desirable goal state.
5. It is typically a set of procedures rather than a single instructional component/strategy. Intervention typically address a range of ICEL considerations. For example: Instruction (e.g., pace, guided practice); Curriculum (e.g.,= correct level of difficulty, sequence); Educational Environment (e.g., allocation of instructional time or arrangement of the instructional setting); and, Learner (e.g., motivation patterns or prior knowledge of task).
There is no minimum number of things that should be included in the description of an intervention, nor is there a maximum number of things to include. The needs of the specific student(s) and application of the stranger test dictate the functional level of specificity.
6. Re-administering performance probes for progress monitoring is NOT an intervention.
What is Accomodation?
Accommodations: An accommodation is a change that helps a student overcome or work around the disability. These changes are typically physical or environmental changes. Allowing a student who has trouble writing to give his answers orally is an example of an accommodation. This sort of accommodation extends across assignments and content areas.
- Teacher provides notes/outlines, allows type-written work, allows printed work, provides a peer note-taker, allows the use of wider lined paper for written tasks, provides highlighted text, allows the use of spell-checker,
- Daily agenda checks between home/school, additional progress reports
- Preferential seating, ability to leave room without permission, peer buddy, behavior reward system
- Extended time on assignments, shortened assignments, simplification of directions
- Tests read aloud to student, verbal response acceptable in lieu of written response, fewer multiple choice responses (2 instead of 4), multiple -choice response instead of fill -in -the -blank or short answer/essay, word banks provided for fill in the blank questions
What is Modification?
Modifications: Modifications are generally connected to instruction and assessment;, things that can be tangibly changed or modified. Usually a modification means a change in what is being taught to or expected from the student. Making the assignment easier so the student is not doing the same level of work as other students is an example of a modification. This change is specific to a particular type of assignment. Making a slight modification to an assignment can drastically improve a student’s ability to be academically successful.
- Omitting story problems, using specialized/alternative curricula written at lower level, simplified vocabulary and concepts, alternative reading books at independent reading level
- Tests are written at lower level of understanding, preview tests provided as study guide, picture supports are provided, use of calculator
Multi-Tiered System of Supports
Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is defined as a whole-school, data-driven, prevention-based framework for improving learning outcomes for EVERY student through a layered continuum of evidence based practices and systems.
Frontier Valley Elementary has regularly scheduled meetings in which we examine student needs, look at data, express concern, create/monitor plans, and look at instructional strategies to support all students. The system of support includes all classroom teachers, specialists (ELL, moderate needs, SSN, SLP, RTI, OT, school psychologist) principal, assistant principal, PLS, school nurse and other support staff when appropriate.
Colorado READ Act
The Colorado Reading To Ensure Academic Development Act (Colorado READ Act) was passed by the Colorado Legislature during the 2012 legislative session. The READ Act repeals the Colorado Basic Literacy (CBLA) as of July 1, 2013, keeping as many of the elements, of CBLA such as a focus on K-3 literacy, assessment, and individual plans for students reading below grade level. The READ Act differs from CBLA by focusing on students identified as having a significant reading deficiency, delineating requirements for parent communication, and providing funding to support intervention. Other components of the Colorado READ Act include a competitive Early Literacy Grant and a resource bank of assessments, instructional programming, and professional development.
A child may be eligible for accommodations under a 504 Plan if he or she has a physical or mental health disability that limits one or more major life functions. A 504 Plan is supported by the federal civil rights law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973