Aspire Program for Highly Capable Learners

Aspire Program for Highly Capable Learners


Battle Ground Public Schools is accepting nominations to test students for its highly capable Aspire program. Nomination packets are due by December 1, 2017. Aspire is designed for students in grades K-12 who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels as demonstrated by one or more of the multiple criteria specified by the state (WAC 392-127-035). 


Testing takes place in January and February for grades 1-11 and March for kindergartners. Identified students will receive services beginning next school year, 2018-2019. Parents who submit the student referral packet by December 1 will be notified by mail of the time and dates testing will occur at their school. Referral packets are available at the child’s school office or below. For more information about the Aspire program, please contact (360) 885-5429.


It is the mission and responsibility of Battle Ground Public Schools to meet the educational needs and foster the intellectual growth of the 13,000-plus students who come to us with an array of learning styles and abilities. Some students thrive in an especially rigorous, challenging and advanced educational environment among similarly skilled and motivated peers. Our Aspire Program for highly capable students in grades K through 12 offers educational supports to high-achieving students whose academic needs are not always adequately met in a traditional classroom.


Overview of Program Services

Aspire provides a continuum of services to eligible students in grades K-12. Aspire services are different at various grades; the continuum of services is fluid and responsive to student needs as well as district capacity. Options for service may include: accelerated learning opportunities and advanced grade placement, academic grouping arrangements that provide intellectual and interest peer group interactions, self-contained classrooms, honors classes, Advanced Placement classes, and Running Start classes.


Procedures for Referral

Referrals are accepted based on data or evidence from teachers, other staff members, parents, students and members of the community. The district’s referral form must be used to refer a student in order to be considered for program services. A student may be referred at any time during the school year; however, there is a specific assessment window each year.


Referrals received after the stated deadline for an upcoming assessment window are held until the next regularly scheduled assessment window. An announcement about the highly capable student identification and assessment process is published in local newspapers throughout the district and posted on the district website.


A referral packet can be picked up at any school office or downloaded from the district website. A referral packet including parent permission to test must be completed prior to testing. Completed packets should be returned to the school office.


The identification process is adapted for students in kindergarten to be more developmentally appropriate. All kindergarten students receive whole class enrichment and are screened for the highly capable program. Kindergarten students meeting eligibility requirements are given the (Cognative Abilities Test) CogAT screener, which is an abbreviated form of the assessment used in grades 1 and above. 


Students scoring in the 90 percentile and above will be clustered with a trained teacher in first grade and scheduled for a  full assessment during their first grade year.

All first through eleventh grade students are eligible for testing for possible Aspire program services. Parents must complete and return a nomination packet to the Aspire office by December 1, 2017 to have their student included in the January and February testing period.  


2017-2018 Grades 1-12 Student Referral Packet
2017-2018 Grades 1-12 Russian Student Referral Packet
2017-2018 Grades 1-12 Spanish Student Referral Packet


Assessment Process

Students in grades 1-11 complete an ability test, the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), which provides information on how they solve problems using verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills. Ability tests are considered a representation of the ability to learn new tasks, reason and solve problems, especially in the absence of direct instruction. Students in grades K-8 also complete an achievement test, the iReady Assessment, in reading and math, students in grades 9-11 complete an achievement test, the IOWA Assessment (ITBS). Achievement tests measure what students have learned so far in their educational journey.


The assessment process is adapted for students in Kindergarten to be more developmentally appropriate. Kindergarteners are given the CogAT screener, which is an abbreviated form of the assessment used in grades 1 and above. Students scoring at the 85 percentile rank and above qualify for further testing using the ITBS for reading and math - the ITBS test occurs outside the school day on a scheduled Saturday. The links below provide further information regarding the assessment process and program options provided at each grade level.


Kindergarten - 2nd grade Assessment Process and Program Options
3rd - 8th grade Assessment Process and Program Options
9th - 12th grade Assessment Process and Program Options


Selection, Placement and Appeal

Students are selected for Aspire program services through eligibility and placement. Selection and placement is made by a Multidisciplinary Selection Committee. A team of professionals made up of administrators, teachers, a psychologist, and program staff will consider each assessed student and their needs as indicated by the data collected. Students that score at or above the 90th percentile on the ability assessment (CogAT) and score at or above the 95th percentile on the achievement assessment (iReady or ITBS) automatically qualify for program placement. Students meeting the eligibility requirements are ranked through a process which combines achievement and ability scores. Transfer students that were enrolled in a highly capable or gifted program in their previous district must submit documentation for review to determine compatibility. The committee will make a placement recommendation that will be included with the assessment report that is mailed home.


Parents will be notified following the decisions of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee. Parents of qualifying kindergarten students will be notified in January. Parents of first through twelfth grade students will be notified in March. Eligible students cannot be retested solely for the purpose of increasing their rank score, however retesting for initial eligibility is allowed on an annual basis.


Parents have the right to appeal the placement decision. Individuals appealing must submit a completed appeals form that includes reasons for the appeal and provide additional evidence to support reconsideration. The appeal form can be accessed at the district website or by calling the Aspire Office within two weeks of receiving placement results.


Appeal Form - All appeals must be submitted to the Aspire office, with all paperwork completed within two weeks of receiving the results letter.
Russian Appeal Form
Spanish Appeal Form


Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) courses provide an opportunity for students to take college-level courses and earn college credit and/or placement. The courses are taught at Prairie High School and Battle Ground High School by teachers certified to teach specific Advanced Placement courses. Each AP course covers information, skills, and assignments found in the corresponding college course. In order to earn college credit or placement, the student must pass (score of 3 or higher) the corresponding AP Exam in May. These classes will help prepare the student for the rigor of university academics.


Prairie High School, (360) 885-5000
Battle Ground High School, (360) 885-6500


OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instructions) AP website 

Contacts

April Dalrymple - Aspire Program Coordinator

(360) 885-5426 or dalrymple.april@battlegroundps.org 


Dr. Jill C. Smith, BGPS executive director of Federal Programs and Instructional Support Services, supervises the Highly Capable program and Cindy Klemsz is the secretary that supports it. You can contact them at (360) 885-5414 or smith.jill@battlegroundps.org or klemsz.cindy@battlegroundps.org.