High Ability Program

 South Putnam Community Schools

High Ability Program Guide 

Mission Statement

South Putnam Community School Corporation recognizes that high ability students are found in all populations.  In order to develop the potential and achievement of identified students in the South Putnam School Corporation, our High Ability Program supports classroom teachers in providing appropriate learning experiences that provide challenge and rigor in order to develop the cognitive and affective processes of high ability students. 

Definition of High Ability Students

A high ability student is one who:  “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 is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests.” --Indiana Code (20-36-1-3). 

Program Overview

The South Putnam High Ability Program follows the Indiana State mandates for high ability students in grades K – 12, and is overseen by a Program Coordinator.  It is supported by grant funds from the Indiana Department of Education, and provides resources for the school community, professional development for staff, and support for classroom instruction for the unique needs of the identified, high ability students in general intellect and the specific academic areas of language and math.  A professional, licensed in Gifted Education, is employed as the High Ability Coach to assist administrators, classroom teachers, counselors, parents and students in meeting the needs of high ability learners.

Students are identified as having potential for achievement and/or demonstrating high levels of achievement in general intellectual ability, Language Arts and/or Mathematics as compared to same-age peers.  Students participate in screening processes to determine levels of potential and achievement.  Students who demonstrate high levels of ability and/or achievement are considered for formal identification. 

Formal identification procedures take place in grades K, 2, 5 and 10 or as needed per teacher request and parent and/or student nomination.  Teachers of all grades use professional judgment and discretion with the help of the SPHA program resources, to screen and nominate students for identification throughout the school year.  Teachers as well as parents may nominate a student for formal identification at any time by contacting the program coordinator and completing the Teacher Recommendation form and Student Information Form.  Student information and data gathered from various tools and assessments are used in the identification process by a team of qualified teachers who assess student data for evidence of achievement and general intellectual strengths.  The final identification of high ability students is made throughout the year determined by each grade and testing schedule. 

The list of identified students is submitted to the State Department of Education and HA status is noted on student and school records.  School administrators, program representatives, counselors, classroom teachers and parents receive information about identified students at appropriate times within the school calendar in order to support instruction and meet individual student needs.  

Student Identification

A variety of documents may be used by the High Ability Coach or Program Coordinator to screen/identify student potential and achievement and monitor progress.  Based on data collected, recommendations for identification (or change in services) are made to an identification team of qualified teachers and school professionals who have access to any or all data collected. 

Identification for HA students will focus each year on kindergarten, second grade, fifth grade, and 10th grade with formal screening and identification each year according to the following procedures:

         

Kindergarten:  All kindergarten students are screened for potential using the Sages-2 Reasoning Subtest, and screened for achievement with the NWEA MAPs test.  Students in the screening pool are administered the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).  Students who score at or above the 92th percentile are considered for high ability identification in Math and/or Language/Reading with corresponding cognitive scores.  Additional data from teachers, parents and students is collected and analyzed by a committee of qualified teachers/administrators who approve recommendations for identification. 

Second Grade:  Second grade students are screened for potential using the Sages-2 Reasoning Subtest, and screened for achievement with the NWEA MAPs test.  Students in the screening pool are administered the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).  Students who score at or above the 92th percentile are considered for high ability identification in Math and/or Language/Reading with corresponding cognitive scores.  Additional data from teachers, parents and students is collected and analyzed by a committee of qualified teachers/administrators who approve recommendations for identification. 

Fifth Grade:  All fifth grade students participate in NWEA MAPS testing to screen for achievement and are screened for potential using the SAGES-2 Reasoning Subtest.  Students who score at or above the 92th percentile are considered for high ability identification in Math and/or Language/Reading with corresponding cognitive scores.  In addition, students who score at or above the 96th percentile are recommended for placement in pre-algebra their 6th grade year.  Additional data is gathered as needed for students in the screening pool and reviewed by a committee of qualified teachers/administrators who approve recommendations for identification by May 1. 

Grades 1, 3, 4:  Teachers of these grades use professional judgment and discretion with the help of the SPHA program resources, to screen and nominate students for identification throughout the school year.  Teachers as well as parents may nominate a student for formal identification at any time by contacting the program coordinator and completing the Teacher Recommendation form and Student Information Form.  Additional data for nominated students is gathered as needed for potential as well as achievement, and reviewed by a committee of qualified teachers/administrators who approve recommendations for identification by May 1. 

Grades 6, 7 and 8:  Students in grades 6, 7 and 8 are grouped according to data, teacher recommendation and parent nomination.  All previously identified HA students are included in the advanced math and/or language arts classes, dependent upon identification.

Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12: The PSAT is given to all 10th grade students and serves as a screening/identifying measure with use of the AP Potential Tool for AP courses offered.  ISTEP Pass+, End of Course Assessments, teacher recommendation, parent/student nomination is used to identify students for placement for early entrance to Algebra I, Biology I and English 10.  

High Ability Instruction Grades K – 5

High ability students remain in the regular classroom for their core learning experiences and instruction.  Groups of identified students will be gathered at each grade level to provide peer support to better meet the academic and social needs of high ability students.  This inclusion program utilizes differentiated instruction with the support of Indiana State Standards and resources provided through the SPHA Program.  With the help and support of the High Ability Coach, classroom teachers use professional judgment to provide leveled instruction as appropriate to meet the individual needs of the identified students for both potential and achievement in the areas of general intellectual ability, English/Language Arts and or Mathematics. Teachers differentiate by incorporating advanced curriculum and instruction, high level thinking skills and individual learning style(s) into daily lessons and curricular activities.  

High Ability Instruction Grades 6 – 12

South Putnam Middle School and South Putnam High School offer courses to meet the needs of high ability students.  Identified HA students in grades 6, 7, and 8 are enrolled in advanced Language Arts and Math classes.   Pre-Algebra is offered to qualified 6th and 7th grade math students.  Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science are available for identified high school students.  Otherwise, HA high school students are enrolled in advanced courses in Language Arts, Math, and Science. 

Progress Monitoring

In addition to State required standardized testing, all formally identified students in grades K – 8 will participate in MAPs testing to monitor academic progress in the spring testing window.  Test results are reported to parents and placed in student files. 

Release/Change in Services

A student’s need for high ability services may change over time for a variety of reasons.  If it is determined by available data that a student may no longer benefit from high ability services, a student may be released from the high ability program with approval from the BBPC or by parent request.  A change in services may be made through the RtI process determined by building level administration and High Ability Program Exit Procedures.  If a decision to discontinue services is made and approved by the BBPC, a letter to communicate this change in programming to the student’s parent/guardian.  Parents are asked to return a signed copy to be placed in the student’s permanent file.   

Appeals

The South Putnam School Corporation has a committee of highly qualified teachers, administrators and staff who serve on the Appeals Committee.  Parents may appeal any decision made by a program committee by contacting the High Ability Coordinator and providing a rationale for why the initial testing or data gathered is not valid for their child.   The corporation will provide alternative measures and data for the student.  This will be reported to the appeals committee within a reasonable amount of time, and parents will be notified.  

Counseling and Student Support

Building administrators, counselors, HA program coordinator, the High Ability Coach, and classroom teachers are available to discuss the progress of individual high ability students and their specific needs.  Parents with input or concerns are encouraged to contact any of these professionals, and schedule a conference if needed.  High ability students at the MSHS level are counseled for college preparation and in the college application process by qualified school counselors who are active in helping college-bound students prepare for college and apply for scholarships.  Students are grouped into intellectual peer groups when possible or as needed to provide peer support for HA students. 

Broad Based Planning Committee

The High Ability Program is monitored by a broad based planning committee.  This group includes administrators, counselors, building representatives, teachers, parents, and community members.  The group meets no less than two times each school year to discuss program development, student identification and to make, recommend, and/or approve changes in identification, programming and procedures. 

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