Elementary Advanced Learning Initiatives

  • The District 109 Advanced Learning Model is currently used in third grade, with plans to phase it into fourth and fifth grade by 2020. This model is designed to provide unique learning experiences for all students and flexible learning opportunities to meet students academic needs. Advanced Learning specialists work with classroom teachers to deepen and extend curriculum objectives based on student needs. Differentiation is an integral component of this model.Advanced Learning

    Differentiation provides differentiated learning and curricular enrichment experiences for all students. This tier includes experiences that enhance the grade level curriculum through critical/creative thinking and problem-solving opportunities within a variety of inquiries, investigations, and presentations. Options are implemented within the school's curriculum and instruction and are made possible by the classroom teacher.

    Acceleration and Enrichment provides extension experiences for those students whose academic needs require an accelerated curriculum. Classroom teachers and Advanced Learning coordinators use formal and informal assessments, as well as classroom observations, to determine appropriate learning activities. Collaboratively, the teachers develop plans for implementing greater choices at this level.

    Gifted services serve students whose needs exceed differentiation and acceleration. Typically 1-3 % of the student population participates in Tier III activities. These students exhibit high levels of ability, creativity, and task commitment in school activities based on multiple assessment data points. (Click here for a comaprison of a bright child and a gifted learner.) Extensions are designed to accommodate student needs. Curriculum modifications are designed through an Individualized Learning Plan to ensure the academic development of these students.

    Advanced Learning specialists collaborate with all teachers to provide curriculum enrichment activities for all students, differentiation ideas for students who need additional challenge and acceleration, and curriculum modification or replacement for students whose needs exceed the general curriculum expectation.

    For questions about your child’s individual needs, please contact your child’s classroom teacher.

Advanced Learning Staff

K-2 Advanced Learning Services

  • K-2 differentiation takes place within the classroom. An Instructional Coach can provide support to the classroom teacher in differentiating curricula and instruction to meet the needs of high-potential students. Differentiated instruction in the primary grades may include literature circles using above-grade-level books and stories, writing assignments and research projects, flexible grouping using mathematics enrichment materials, and mentoring by older students or adults who share common interests with the student.

    In addition support can be provided by the Advanced Learning Coordinator. Support services include:

    • Monthly meetings
    • Data analysis
    • Planning and implementing units/standards(often above grade level)
    • Model teaching
    • Project Planning
    • Reflection on units and moving forward
    • Parent communication
    • Student feedback

4th-5th Grade Advanced Learning Initiatives

  • The TAP (Targeted Advanced Placement) classroom is available to fourth and fifth graders in the areas of math and/or language arts for the 18-19 school year. The program is designed to meet the needs of those students displaying academic strengths in the areas of language arts and mathematics. In addition, the program seeks to develop creative thinking and problem solving skills for high-ability students through enrichment activities. The fourth and fifth grade program is staffed with full time building-based advanced learning specialists trained in gifted education.

    TAP Language Arts: Students formally identified for Language Arts programming meet with the TAP teacher every day for 40 minutes. The TAP Language Arts lessons are linked to the grade homerooms’ language arts activities and offer accelerated and enriched experiences in guided and independent reading, literary analysis, language etymology, and written reader response. The remaining language arts instruction time is spent with the regular classroom teacher. All students in TAP classes are expected to complete work assigned by the TAP teacher.

    TAP Mathematics: Students in TAP math attend a daily replacement math class accelerated one to two years above the grade-level classroom math. The TAP math curriculum is designed to encourage higher-level thinking skills and problem-solving in addition to the accelerated pace of instruction.

Parent Referrals

  • Parents can complete the referral form if they believe their child performs well above grade level and demonstrates exceptional strengths or talents beyond Advanced Learning.

    Advanced Learning Plans are designed for students who consistently score in the 98-99th percentile on NWEA MAP assessment AND classroom acceleration/enrichment is not meeting a child’s needs.

    When this form is completed, we will review your child’s performance and achievement to determine eligibility for an Individualized Learning Plan.

    Once this form is received, the Advanced Learning Coordinator and Team will consult and analyze test and performance data to determine if additional assessments are warranted and if the criteria for an Individualized Learning Plan has been met.  The results of the screening process will be communicated to parents through a meeting, phone call or letter.

Early Entrance to Kindergarten

  • Early entrance to Kindergarten is the admission to Kindergarten of a student who: (a) will not be five years of age on or before September 1 of that school term; or (b) is admitted prior to the dates established in school code based upon an assessment of his or her readiness to attend school. This unique type of whole-grade acceleration may be an excellent option for some children.

    Requests should be directed to Mrs. Amy Rubin, Director for Learning & Growth at arubin@dps109.org.

Middle School Advanced Learning Initiatives

  • The District 109 Advanced Learning Model is currently used in sixth grade language arts, and will be phased in to seventh and eighth grade by 2020. The current structure for ELA in seventh and eighth grade is a replacement class that meets for one period daily. The curriculum addresses common core standards while promoting a greater depth, breadth, and level of complexity. The content, process, and products encourage divergent thinking and nurture a passion for learning. Seminar provides a safe environment for students to take risks and demonstrate a commitment to learning equal to their potential.

    Middle school students have two pathways for mathematics:

    • Accelerated Pathway: Starting in sixth grade the accelerated pathway consolidates the grades 6, 7 and 8 Common Core Math Standards into two years. No content is eliminated which makes the pacing of this course particularly brisk.  In grade 8 students enroll in Algebra. This pathway prepares students for transition to a geometry course at the high school.
    • Advanced Pathway: Students enrolled in the Advanced Pathway begin 6th grade in Intro to Algebra, continue into Algebra for 7th grade and complete Geometry in 8th grade. Students must have extremely advanced math skills and conceptual understanding of mathematics to successfully complete all courses within this pathway.  Additionally, students must demonstrate mathematical thinking and problem solving in order to keep up with the quick pace of all the courses within this pathway. The Advanced Pathway prepares students to enroll in Algebra 2 Advanced or Algebra 2 Honors at the high school.