High Ability Learner Education
Board of Education Policy for High Ability Learners
“High ability learners are those students who give evidence of high performance capability in such areas as intellectual/academic, creative, or artistic capacity and who require accelerated or differentiated curriculum programs in order to develop those capabilities fully.”
The Board directs the Superintendent to develop selection methods, regulations and procedures to ensure that appropriate programs, within budgetary limitations, are provided for high ability learners. The Board also expects the Superintendent and his staff to inform patrons of the District about available high ability learner program options.
Adopted September 14, 1998
The Elkhorn Public Schools are committed to an educational program that recognizes the unique characteristics of the student and strives to advance to the fullest all aspects of the student’s development.
WHAT IS HIGH ABILITY LEARNER EDUCATION?
High ability learner education is designed to extend the learning environment for high potential students. Services are defined as being expanded learning experiences for students who are capable of studying in-depth matters of an academic and creative nature.
The District shall attempt to provide educational experiences for students through the following goals:
- Assessing and identifying students of high academic ability third through grade twelve.
- Providing services for identified students that incorporate curriculum modifications/accommodations, teaching methods, activities, and/or instructional materials to meet the needs of high ability learners.
- Communicating the various aspects and successes of the program for high ability learners to staff, students, parents, and the community.
- Evaluating program goals, activities, materials and procedures.
- Recognizing and nurturing educational excellence.
PROGRAM SELECTION PROCEDURES
More information will be added soon.
Children in kindergarten, first, and second grades are served primarily in the regular classroom with consulting services provided to the classroom teacher by an elementary coordinator. Whole class and small group sessions are planned in collaboration with the classroom teacher.
Students in grades three through five who demonstrate high potential or performance in their academic programs have the opportunity to participate in many activities designed to challenge their abilities. Programs for high potential students include literature groups, math and logic activities, creative problem solving and small group seminars on topics developed from student interest or as an extension of the general education curriculum. A Thinking Skills curriculum (Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Creative Problem Solving, Creative Dramatics and Affective Awareness/Leadership) is incorporated on a weekly basis with students in grades three through five. Academic competitions are conducted in cooperation with grade level teachers. Flexible grouping and curriculum compacting is utilized to accommodate the needs and abilities of students.
The goal of the middle school HALE program is to recognize each student’s unique characteristics and create expanded learning experiences for each student. Working together with the classroom teachers, we provide three forms of services to HALE students: classroom differentiation, seminars/independent studies, and competitions. Seminars and independent studies focus on creativity, creative dramatics, leadership, critical thinking, research and questioning skills. The competitions offered include SIGMA (math based), History Day, Future Cities, Current Events, Geography Bee, and Quiz Bowl.
At the high school level, students are invited to participate in honors classes offered by the English, science and mathematics departments. Students in grades 10 through 12 have the opportunity to enroll in advanced placement classes in English, mathematics, history and science. Academic competitions that challenge and enrich individual areas of high ability are also available. Such competitions include Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial, Math Field Day, TEAMS, American High School Mathematics Competition, Quiz Bowl Teams, Sigma, Destination Imagination and Science Olympiad.
HALE Seminar courses are taught by the HALE coordinator. Socratic methodology is used to challenge students to explore issues and develop understanding through dialogue. This class focuses on the affective needs of high ability students by developing awareness of gifted characteristics, personality types, learning styles and multiple intelligences. Participation in the Future Problem Solving competition is used to develop creative thinking, critical thinking and problem solving skills. Career and college exploration guides students toward setting personal goals and prepares them for college visitations and the application process. The leadership unit defines five dimensions of leadership and provides students with an assessment of their leadership skills. Master student skills, such as time management, note taking and test taking are addressed to help students succeed in rigorous honors and Advanced Placement classes.
At all levels, classroom teachers, building coordinators and other specialists strive to assess student potential and design options to enhance student learning.
For more information please contact Lee Frye, Director of Student Services at (402) 289-2579.