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Programs - High Ability

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Programs:

About High Ability

Middlebury Community Schools' Mission Statement: The Mission of Middlebury Community Schools is to prepare our students to be life-long learners and contributing citizens.

Middlebury Community Schools is committed to academic rigor and continuous growth for all students, including those students who perform at, or show the potential to perform at, an outstanding level of academic accomplishment.  All students deserve to have content and instruction provided on their level, and the high ability programming in the Middlebury Community Schools aims to meet students' varied needs through curriculum and programming designed for high ability learners.  Middlebury Community Schools is also committed to the overall growth of the high ability child, including social and emotional growth.  Please direct any questions about our high ability program Cathy Morgan, Director of Elementary Education at 574-825-9425.

Middlebury Community Schools' Mission Statement for High Ability Program:

The Middlebury Community School Corporation believes that the most important educational task assigned to the school is that of working toward the maximum intellectual and affective development of students in an atmosphere that recognizes the uniqueness of the individual and provides nurture.  This includes a carefully structured program for high ability students.  Students with high ability perform or show the potential to perform at high levels of academic accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience, or environment.  These students are found in all socio-economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and Middlebury Community Schools recognizes the need to identify such students through systematic, on-going procedures.  This program is coordinated with the existing curriculum and provides challenging curriculum and instruction to develop the high ability student's potential.

Middlebury Community Schools' Definition of High Ability:

In Middlebury Community Schools a high ability student is one who:

  1. Performs at or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one domain when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment; and
  2. Is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests.

Reflective of the Indiana State Definition IC 20-10.1-5.1-2

Identification

Identifying High Ability Students

Students are identified in two ways:

  • those with exceptional cognitive potential in mathematics/reading
  • those with outstanding achievement in mathematics/reading

Measuring Cognitive Potential

Measuring Academic Achievement

In measuring cognitive potential, we use the CogAT, a nationally normed test of aptitude.

All students in kindergarten, second and fifth grade take the CogAT screener test.  A screener is a condensed version of a test followed by a full version pending screener results.  Students scoring at the 80th percentile or above on the CogAT screener are included in the high ability identification pool and take the complete CogAT.

In grade 3 scores at or above the 80th percentile on the winter administration of NWEA for students new to the District will include the student in the identification pool to take the complete CogAT.

In grade 5 scores at or above the 80th percentile on the winter administration of NWEA will include the student in the identification pool to take the complete CogAT.

In grades K and 1, teachers use the Kingore Observation Inventory (KOI) during a six-week observation to include students in the identification pool to take the complete CogAT.

A 96th percentile or above score on the full CogAT at grades K, 2, 3 and 5 indicates the students qualifies to receive high ability services.

Parents may refer students in second, third and fifth grade to be included in the identification pool and take the complete CogAT.

Teachers may also refer students in kindergarten, first, second, third and fifth grades to be included in the identification pool and take the complete CogAT.

Normative data from the NWEA test is used to identify high academic achievement for students in reading or math.

The NWEA is an adaptive test that provides progress scores as well as national norms.

All student in grades K-8 participate in the NWEA three times a year.

Grades K and 1 students who score at the 99 percentile and grades 2-6 students taking the NWEA 2-5 who score between at the 96th percentile and above on the national norms from the winter administration of the NWEA and the complete CoGAT test scores are at the 89th percentile or above will be identified as eligible for service in the areas of mathematics, reading, or both depending on the results of the test.

Third Data Source:

Teachers complete the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) for each student in the identification pool.

Student Selection for High Ability Services:

An identification committee will meet in April to identify elementary students as High Ability, based upon the CogAT scores, NWEA scores (a second grade student should have taken the winter NWEA MAP 2-5 to be identified through achievement) and the SIGS rating scale.  The identification process is done "blindly" by the committee, which means names of students and schools are not known until after placement decisions are made.  Each elementary is represented by a classroom teacher which includes classroom teachers licensed in high ability and the high ability coordinator.  Identified students are placed with a cluster of other identified High Ability students in an elementary grade level classroom.

All parents of students who are in the identification pool for high ability will receive a letter which will include the committee's decision and the student's test scores.  Any parent who disagrees with the decision, has the right to appeal and should contact the corporation high ability coordinator.  After the appeals committee meets, the parents will receive a letter to inform them of the decision.

Once a student is identified as High Ability, the designation will carry over to the next grade where the student is placed with a cluster of other identified High Ability.  It is typical that a relatively small number of students are identified in kindergarten and that the number increases each year as the screening and identification process is repeated.

Fifth grade students transitioning to Northridge Middle School:

An identification committee will meet in April to identify fifth grade students as High Ability, based upon the CogAT scores, NWEA scores and the SIGS rating scale.  The identification process is done "blindly" by the committee, which means names of students and schools are not known until after placement decisions are made.  Each fifth grade teacher team is represented on this committee.

All parents of students who are in the identification pool for high ability will receive a letter which will include the committee's decision and the student's test scores.  Any parent who disagrees with the decision, has the right to appeal and should contact the corporation high ability coordinator.  After the appeals committee meets, the parents will receive a letter to inform them of the decision.

The names of students identified as High Ability are given to Northridge Middle School along with their testing profile.  High Ability student in English/language arts are clustered in Talent Development language arts classrooms along with high achieving language arts students.  High Ability mathematics students are placed in a classroom which is accelerated.  Students receive pre-algebra instruction during the sixth grade year, Algebra I in seventh grade and Geometry in eighth grade.  Students taking Algebra I and Geometry receive high school credit for these math classes.

Programming

Middlebury Community Schools offers programming and services for K-12 high ability learners in reading/language arts and/or mathematics.  Middlebury Community Schools’ High Ability Services is called EXPLORE (EXpanding Potential through Learning Opportunities Resources and Experiences).

Elementary (K-3) Program

Kindergarten students are identified as high ability learners during their school year and provided services within each classroom, with flexible grouping, and possibly cross-class grouping.  Beginning in first grade students identified as high ability learners are clustered together in general education classrooms with a teacher who is trained or has received professional development in delivering instruction to high ability students.  Students receive accelerated and enriched instruction in reading/language arts.  Mathematics instruction is enriched and focuses on problem-solving and explaining how a mathematical solution was determined.

Intermediate (4-5) Program

Students in grades 4-5 are placed onto a team that provides accelerated and enriched instruction in reading/language arts and/or mathematics.

Middle School (6-8) Program

Students in grades 6-8 are placed in Talent Development classes that provide accelerated and enriched instruction in reading/language arts and/or mathematics.  Students in high ability math can receive either one or two year accelerated advanced math.  This includes the option to take high school Algebra for high school credit as a 7th grade student, or as an 8th grade student.

High School (9-12) Program

Students have access to honors classes, Dual Credit, International Baccalaureate and AP classes and other rigorous coursework to meet their needs.  Online learning can also be an option for students who require such coursework.

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