Gifted Education

What is Gifted & Talented?  

If a student is identified as GT, they may go to their neighborhood school (Rock Ridge) 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 & 5th 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 1 ,2, 4 & 5.  Testing at these levels is solely for the purpose of possible GT identification. At this time, the CogAT is given each September.

What is an ALP?
An ALP is an Advanced Learning Plan.   All students that are identified as GT have an ALP whether they go to their neighborhood school (Rock Rid) or a Discovery School.  The decision to create an ALP comes from an identification process that looks at a body of evidence that includes many data points including CogAT, classroom work/assessments, other standardized measures, input from classroom teacher, parent(s), and student.  

What does GT look like at Rock Ridge?
At Rock Ridge, we create ALP plans for students that have gone through a GT identification process and qualify.  The ALP is written by the GT Facilitator 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.  At Rock Ridge, 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.  Our MTSS team collaborates to make the best determination of what that looks like year to year.  Some strategies that we use to meet needs at our building are: Flexible Grouping in reading and math, Content Acceleration, Independent Study, Curriculum Compacting, and Blended Learning.

What will this look like at Mesa Middle School?
Mesa has many options for different levels of learning.  Teachers will recommend placement based on their knowledge of the student and the choices that are offered.  Parent and student input is taken as well.
They also offer daily ALP exclusive ME time for 30 minutes a day.  In that time, they have teachers who have interest and professional development in serving kids who are gifted in regards to social and emotional needs in addition to their academics. In addition to this, they have offered kids enrichment classes via eDCSD, an internal Brain Bowl and also Odyssey of the Mind competition statewide with the potential of going internationally.  There are also some advanced classes offered, as well as a school wide cluster model where a student with an ALP always has 6-7 peers with ALPS in their classes.

What is my role?
My role as the GT Facilitator is to collaborate with our assessment coordinator during CogAT testing, coordinate the identification process as well as facilitate writing the ALP.   If a parent is interested in applying for the Discovery Program, I 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.  Rock Ridge has a long history of highly capable students and our teachers are well versed in differentiation for all students. 

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is designed to measure both general and specific reasoning abilities. The development of these abilities begins at birth and continues through early adulthood.
In DCSD we use the CogAT as a universal screening tool for all students at the beginning of 3rd grade and 6th grade. We also offer the opportunity for students in grades 1, 2, 4, and 5 to test in order to collect cognitive aptitude data as ONE piece of a body of evidence to be used for the purposes of gifted identification and programming.


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