Accelerated Curriculum and Gifted
Appomattox County Public Schools provides a differentiated curriculum for identified gifted students in grades K-12 though the Advanced Learners Program (ALPs). A wide range of opportunities for academic extension are provided in the regular classroom. Math and Language Arts are the primary areas of service for identified ALPs students. The ALPs Program has two primary purposes. The first aim is to offer challenging academic opportunities that foster creativity, academic growth, higher level thinking skills, and problem solving. Secondly, the program supports classroom teachers as they meet the challenges of teaching students at all levels by creating a differentiated curriculum.
Elementary students in grades K-5 are instructed by a full time gifted resource teacher who serves students in grades K-2 at Appomattox Primary School and grades 3-5 at Appomattox Elementary School. Primary and elementary level students are served by the resource teacher through a pull out program. At both schools, schedules are coordinated with the regular education teachers to make optimum use of the school day. Students work with the ALPs teacher and in the regular classroom on advanced activities and differentiated curriculum that foster higher level problem solving and thinking skills and self-directed learning. The program allows advanced students instructional and social time with both academic and age peers.
Middle school students in grade 6-8 at Appomattox Middle School are served through a combination of advanced classes and in the general classroom. Opportunities for acceleration in math and language arts are available for identified students. The middle school ALPs program is designed to enhance the unique learning styles of the middle school student and provide opportunities for self-directed learning, intensive study of selected topics, and participation in enrichment activities, competitions, and subject acceleration.
Appomattox County High School students in grades 9-12, are provided opportunities to enroll in advanced level courses in all academic disciplines and participate in extracurricular academic activities. Through faster-paced teaching and working with more detailed and complex subject matter, the advanced learners are provided opportunities to widen their horizon and explore new concepts. The ALPs program at the high school level is not designed as a “pull out” program. The honors, advanced, and advanced placement classes are designed for students who need and desire more challenging academic settings. These courses require the use of higher cognitive skills to complete class work, homework, and special projects. The classes move at a faster pace encompassing more of the subject matter as well as including more detailed and complex material. ALPs students are not only encouraged to take the higher level course offerings, but also to participate in various contests throughout the year. These competitions cover a wide variety of areas including writing; public speaking, scientific endeavors, and inventions while providing opportunities for self-directed learning, critical inquiry, and developing creative processing skills.
Through a competitive process, students may apply for admission to the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology (CVGS) and the Governor’s Summer Enrichment Programs, focusing on academics, fine arts, foreign languages, and agriculture. Students at CVGS engage in an innovative and dynamic curriculum which explores the connections between mathematics, science, and technology. The mission of CVGS is to develop leaders who possess the research and technical skills, the global perspective, and the vision needed to address the challenges of a rapidly changing society.
Identification and Eligibility
Candidates for gifted services in the area of General Intellectual Aptitude may be discovered through an on-going screening process beginning with the kindergarten population and continuing through grade 12. Administrators and teachers are trained in characteristics of gifted learners and continuously monitor students for giftedness.
In kindergarten through second grade, the general student population is screened using multiple criteria that may include data from Pals, QRI, Otis-Lennon, records of observation of in class behavior. At all grade levels where standardized test scores are available, students whose records indicate an aptitude/achievement test score at or >95% will be added to the screening pool. The school division administers the Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test at grades 2 and 5 and participates in the required State Assessment Program. Results of the Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test and SOL assessments are also used in the process of screening students.
The screening process automatically includes transfer students who have been verified as eligible for gifted program services. School personnel responsible for registering new students notify the principal and gifted education resource contact person in each building of transferring gifted students. These students, with parent permission, advance to formal assessment, if needed.
The nomination process is ongoing and screening of any student can occur at any time. Information regarding the characteristics of gifted students, including underserved populations is regularly provided to the public and school personnel through publications and school-based gifted program resource personnel to actively encourage educator and community referrals.
Annually, information about the referral process for gifted education is disseminated in a variety of methods, including, but not limited to, parent newsletters, advisory committee meetings, faculty in-service sessions, the school division’s website and local media.
Through classroom observation and/or involvement, gifted program personnel and teachers actively seek candidates for referral at all grade levels. Referrals from parents, guardians, school personnel, community and persons of related expertise, self, and peer referrals are encouraged within each school.
To initiate a referral, the person making the referral must contact the school’s principal or gifted program resource personnel and complete the appropriate gifted program referral form. Completed referral forms must be returned to the principal/designee and will be accepted at any time throughout the school year.
Procedures, Actions and Timelines
The Identification Process begins immediately after the referral form is received by school personnel. The Identification/Placement Committee collects data and meets on the referral within 90 days of days from the date parent permission is received. The Identification/Placement Committee is appointed by the principal and consists of the principal/ designee, gifted resource personnel, grade, subject area, and referring teachers, guidance counselor, and advocate(s) for the child. Data indicated as criteria in II.3 will be collected and presented to the Identification/ Placement Committee.
The school level gifted resource teacher/coordinator is responsible for the collection and summary of information to be presented to the Identification/Placement Committee. Additional information and test data may be requested by the Identification/Placement Committee. The school level gifted coordinator is appointed annually by the school’s principal.
We are required to use Multiple Criteria in the identification of gifted learners. This just means that no single instrument, score, or criterion may be used to exclude or include a child for eligibility. We use the following:
1. Assessment of student performance
2. Appropriate rating scales, checklists, and questionnaire
3. Individual or group aptitude test(s)
One of the following unless otherwise deemed necessary by the committee.
- Sages 2 (Reasoning)
- Otis Lennon Ability Test
- Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children
- Standford-Binet Intelligence Scale
- Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale- Revised
- Naglieri Non-verbal Intelligence Test
4. Individual or group achievement test(s)
One of the following unless otherwise deemed necessary by the committee.
- Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement( 1998)
- Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments
- SAGES-2 ( Reading- Social Studies),(Math-Science)
- Stanford 10
5. Additional valid and reliable measures or procedures- ie: Limited English Proficiency Test