High Ability Program
HIGH ABILITY PROGRAM
Springs Valley Community Schools
The Springs Valley Community School District's mission is to Inspire creative learning, Prepare accountable & responsible citizens, Achieve more by reaching higher, and to Succeed in building a stronger community.
A high ability student is one who performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in Math, English Language Arts, or both, when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environments; and is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests.
- To effectively identify all students in need of high ability services
- To differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of high ability learners. This is accomplished through: emphasizing higher level thinking and problem solving skills, asking open-ended questions, encouraging collaboration, and promoting study skills.
- To provide enrichment and/or acceleration options at all grade levels
- To provide extracurricular academic activities and learning opportunities which transcend from the classroom
- To ensure interaction with peers having similar intellectual and academic abilities
The purpose of identification is to provide appropriate services for all students. This is a complex process because some students enter school with more rich learning experiences and school readiness skills. Since all children develop at different rates, this developmental readiness plays an important role at the primary level with high ability identification. For example, other students may progress quickly and catch up in skills, surpassing those with an early advantage. In addition, cognitive growth is not always consistent, especially in the elementary grades. Therefore, high ability identification from one year to the next is not necessarily permanent. Placement decisions may be modified in accordance with changes in students’ learning profiles as they progress through elementary and middle school.
Students are screened for identification purposes regardless of socio-economic status, cultural background, underachievement, or disabilities. Students may qualify as high ability in one of the following areas: General Intellectual, Math only, or Language Arts only. All students are considered for High Ability identification during a “Pathway” year. The “Pathway” years are Grades K, 2, and 5 when all students participate in a reasoning-ability test and subsequent achievement tests, as needed. Qualitative measures are also collected as appropriate. If your child qualifies for high ability services, you will be notified via a Parent Notification Letter. This letter will need to be signed and returned so your child can participate in the available programs or services.
Step 1: Testing
All students in grades K, 2, and 5 take the Naglieri General Abilities Test (GAT). This test measures general intellectual ability in the verbal and quantitative domains.
Step 2: High Ability Selection
The testing data is examined, including both the Naglieri GAT and iReady for both ELA and Math, to determine which students will be identified as high ability.
If the student scores within the 90th percentile on the GAT, then the student would be eligible for the Springs Valley high ability program. If the student scores within the 80-89th percentile on the GAT and are in the 95th percentile on the iReady, then the student would be eligible for the Springs Valley high ability program. If a student is within 1 or 2 percentile of qualifying, then the teacher(s) of the student may be asked to complete the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS). If that student’s target score is above 115 on the SIGS, then the student would be eligible for the Springs Valley high ability program.
Step 3: Notification
Letters will be sent home with the students to notify the parents/guardians of the children who qualified for the Springs Valley high ability program.
Each teacher of high ability students will ensure that high ability students are provided with high ability instruction that matches their unique needs. This could include various types of differentiation strategies such as: learning higher grade level content, providing enrichment activities, giving assignments that promote higher level thinking skills, presenting more challenging material, utilizing problem solving resources, or allowing exploration of a topic of interest.
Springs Valley offers a variety of service options for high ability students including:
- Differentiated curriculum (all grades)
- Pull out Enrichment Program- Project Lead the Way curriculum (Grades 3-5)
- Math Bowl (elementary)
- Spell Bowl (elementary)
- Enrichment Language Lab (6th grade)
- Enrichment Math Lab (6th grade)
- Academic team competitions (middle school and high school)
- Advanced, Dual-Credit, and Career courses (high school)
If a student is new to the district and completed testing for high ability at the previous school, those assessment scores will be reviewed and utilized to determine placement. If the student did not participate in high ability testing at the previous school, the parents may request screening.
A formal appeals process is available to parents/guardians. Parents should obtain a high ability appeal form from the principal or high ability coordinator and complete the form to start the process. After the administration receives the form, the Broad-Based Planning Committee will review the student’s profile, academic history, and supporting evidence to make a decision regarding the appeal. The results of that decision will then be reported to the parents/guardians.
If a teacher or parent believes a high ability placement for services is no longer appropriate, a student may be exited from the program. This process can be initiated by the school or by the parent. A parent or student may voluntarily request a removal from the program at any time. In addition, other circumstances could result in the student exiting from the program. However in these instances, for a probationary period of no less than one semester, efforts will be made to retain the student in the program. A team of the parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, counselors, and the student will meet to examine issues of concern and discuss interventions that may be implemented. Examples of interventions which may be implemented in an attempt to improve the situation could include contracts, behavior modification schedules, and conferences with students and/or parents. At the end of the probationary period, the student’s progress will be reviewed, and it will be determined whether or not the student should exit services. If a student is exited from the program, the parents/guardians will be notified in writing of that decision and sign the documentation for their child to be exited from the program.
Counseling and Guidance:
Certain character traits and issues, such as overexcitability, perfectionism, self-esteem struggles, and asynchronous development, seem to have a higher incidence among high ability students. Many of these are potential strengths, however, if these are detrimental to the student’s daily functioning, they may indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. Small group or individual counseling is available from the school counselor or social worker if needed, at grade levels K-5. In grades 6-12, this type of counseling is typically provided by PACT (People and Communities Together), unless it is a more severe case, which would be referred to the social worker. Additionally, at the high school level, the guidance counselor meets with students to provide them with pertinent college and career information and options. She meets with the seniors individually to discuss their personal college and/or career plans.
The high ability coordinator is encouraged to attend, at minimum, the Indiana Association for the Gifted Conference each year. The coordinator then shares pertinent information with educators, administrators, and counselors in the district. The counselors, administrators, and other educators in the district are also allowed to and supported in their decisions to attend professional development as necessary or as they choose.
A Broad-Based Planning Committee is available to assess and support the high ability program. This committee consists of the high ability coordinator, the principal from each building, the superintendent, and counselors. This committee at least annually evaluates the effectiveness of the high ability program and services provided. They will take into consideration the high ability program element evaluation rubric and the amount of funding provided by the high ability grant when making their decisions on how the program will be further developed and implemented.