What is Gifted Education?
If a student is identified as Gifted, they may go to their neighborhood school, (Cougar Run Elementary), or apply for the Discovery Program that is 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 CogAT, Cognitive Abilities Test, in 3rd & 6th 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 K,1,2,4 and 5. Testing at these levels is solely for the purpose of possible Gifted identification. At this time, the CogAT is given each September.
What is an ALP (Advanced Learning Plan)?
An ALP is an Advanced Learning Plan. All students that are identified as Gifted have an ALP whether they go to their neighborhood school, (Cougar Run), or a Discovery School. The decision to create an ALP comes from an identification process that looks at a body of evidence which includes many data points including CogAT, classroom work/assessments, other standardized measures, input from classroom teacher, parent(s), and student.
What does Gifted programming look like at Cougar Run?
At Cougar Run, we create ALP plans for students who have gone through a Gifted identification process and qualify. The ALP is written by the Gifted Education Facilitator (Jessica Simmons) 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. Gifted students also participate in Autonomous Learners, a small group that meets weekly to develop problem solving skills, collaboration and create connections with peers. At Cougar Run, 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. Some strategies that we use to meet needs at our building are: Cluster Grouping of Gifted students for peer connections,Flexible Grouping in reading and math, Content Acceleration, Independent Study, Curriculum Compacting, and Blended Learning.
What will this look like at Cresthill Middle School?
Cresthill 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 my role?
My role as the Gifted Education Facilitator is to coordinate the identification process as well as facilitate writing the ALP. If a parent is interested in applying for the Discovery Program, I am available to 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. Cougar Run has a long history of highly capable students and our teachers are well versed in differentiation for all students. When needed, I work with students on specific projects or affective goals that need individualization.