Advanced Learner Services in the Harlem School District

As part of District’s Long-Range Plan, Goal 1, Strategy 5, “By February 2018, the task force will develop a coherent and consistent program proposal that further addresses the needs of Gifted and High Achieving students grade K-6,” a group of teachers and administrators reviewed the changes in our gifted program. Through this process a Task Force was formed and it was determined that an outside consultant assist the District through this process. Our programming is based off of these recommendations and aligns with our District Mission and Beliefs.

Levels of Service for Advanced Learners

The needs of our Advanced Learners are met through Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Each elementary building has an MTSS Facilitator and MTSS team to help assist in meeting the needs of each learner. Students should receive differentiated instruction that keeps them on a path of continuous learning with the goal of one year’s growth for every year spent in school. In order to achieve this level of growth, there are multiple tiers of support provided to students to ensure that instruction is appropriately differentiated and services are provided when indicated.

Levels of Service

Talent Development

    • As a District, we believe all students have great potential that should be fostered from a young age.
    • We have two Talent Development Specialists that model lessons in K-3 classrooms on critical thinking strategies, communication, collaboration, and creativity prior to the opportunity to take part in the District’s Advanced Learner Program . These 21 Century Learning Skills provide enrichment for students and lessons are framed in a way that can be easily transferred to multiple content areas.
    • The Talent Development Specialists consult with teachers regarding appropriate enrichment activities to be carried out during student intervention time for Advanced Learners.

Cluster Grouping

    • Similarly skilled groups of students are placed together within classrooms according to their academic achievement. Cluster grouping will occur within all classrooms in grades 1-6 during the 2019-2020 school year.
    • This reduces the academic variance within each classroom allowing for differentiation to easily occur and benefits all students in the classroom.
    • This is NOT high, medium, low classes.

Advanced Learner Program

    • This advanced learner magnet program for students in grades 4-6, intended for the top 5% of local (school) population.
    • All students currently enrolled in third grade are screened for this program. Scores from our benchmark assessments (fall, winter & spring) and the input of the MTSS team determines the top 5% of the school population.
    • Individual needs of students drive the focus of the curriculum and instruction.
    • Pre-assessment is used to determine the appropriate kind of differentiation needed.
    • This program is in transition between buildings. Grades 4 & 5 are currently at Olson Park Elementary School and grade 6 is located at Machesney Elementary School. This program will be fully implemented at Olson Park Elementary School during the 2020-2021 school year.
    • If you are not currently enrolled in the Harlem School District, but would like to have your child considered for the Advanced Learner Program, please contact Rebecca Logan, Director of Elementary Education, at (779) 771-5466.


    • Acceleration is the practice of assigning a student to a higher grade level or content area than is typical, given the student’s age, for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities.
    • Acceleration can occur within a single subject (content area), grade level, or early entrance to kindergarten or first grade.
        • Subject (content area) acceleration can occur within the student's grade level classroom or in a different classroom/grade level. This is determined through the MTSS Process. If you have questions regarding subject acceleration, contact your child's school Principal and MTSS Facilitator (Find Contact Information Here)
        • Full grade acceleration, commonly referred to as grade-skipping, is the most intensive level of service and requires additional testing to ensure its appropriateness for the student. If you have questions regarding full-grade acceleration, contact your child's school Principal and MTSS Facilitator (Find Contact Information Here)
            • If a child is currently enrolled in grades K-6 and you would like to refer the student for full grade acceleration, please complete this paperwork (please note, parent permission is required).
        • If you believe a child qualifies for Early Entrance to Kindergarten or First Grade, you may complete the appropriate paperwork below and return it by May 10, 2019 to be considered for the 2019-2020 school year: