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Aspire, Advanced Placement, Kindergarten Early Entrance
It is the goal, responsibility and, indeed, the calling 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. Among them are those who 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 3 through 8 and Advanced Placement high school courses are targeted at those high-achieving students whose academic needs are not always adequately met in the traditional classroom.
Highly Capable - Aspire
April Dalrymple, Advanced Studies Coordinator
The cluster program option currently serves students in grades three through six using the cluster grouping model within a regular classroom. Students in grades seven and eight are clustered for math, language arts, and other core subject areas as students move from class to class. Research shows that placing highly capable students in clusters of three to six students per classroom works best for gifted learners. Clustering creates a classroom peer group for the highly capable students while still allowing them to interact with other students. Clustering also allows for integration of the program within the regular school culture.
The magnet program option serves students in grades three through eight. A magnet classroom creates a peer group for the highly capable students as they support each other and their learning. The magnet classes are in a central location within the district located at Captain Strong Primary and Chief Umtuch Middle School. In this model, entire classrooms are made up of only identified highly capable students and taught by teachers who specialize in the education of gifted students. Subjects are accelerated in nature, progress through the curriculum at a faster pace, and have greater depth and complexity than they would in the regular classroom. Battle Ground School District provides transportation to the magnet program schools.
Aspire Curriculum and Instruction
Aspire teachers receive professional training in gifted education. The curriculum is based on the Washington State Essential Learning Requirements and Grade Level Expectations (GLE’s). Students learn these requirements along with their grade level peers, but in the class room setting instruction is differentiated to meet the needs of highly capable learners. Differentiated instruction in the classroom means more challenging or accelerated assignments requiring higher-order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, evaluation and creativity or an in-depth enrichment of a topic.
Student Identification Process
Battle Ground Public Schools conducts open, rolling referral, meaning that any student may be referred at any time during the school year by a parent, teacher, community member or another student; however, we have specific assessment windows and must have permission from a parent or guardian to conduct testing. Referrals received after the stated deadline for an upcoming assessment are held until the next regularly scheduled assessment window. An announcement about the highly capable student identification and assessment process is published throughout the district and posted on the district website.
Referral forms can be picked up at any school office or downloaded from the district webiste. Completed referrals should be returned to the school office or directly to the Aspire office. A referral form including parent permission to test must be completed prior to testing.
Testing completed during the regularly scheduled assessment window is administered at each student's home school during the regular school day. A letter is sent to each student's home detailing when testing will occur so parents can make sure to have the student present, rested and ready for testing.
All students 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 also complete an achievement test in reading, languate arts and math. Achievement tests measure what students have learned so far in their educational journey. The observation survey provides evidence of characteristics for exceptional creativity.
After assessment concludes, a committee will consider each assessed student and his/her needs as indicated by the data collected. The committee will make a placement recommendation that will be included with the assessment report that is mailed home in April. A parent can request that a placement decision be reconsidered through the Appeal Process, which requires additional evidence that, when added to the testing information, demonstrates the need for program services.
Frequently Asked Question:
How long will the testing take?
It takes approximately three hours for each test. Only one test is administered per day.
Should the student bring anything with them?
A healthy snack is recommended and a book to read for grades 3-7.
What if my child is sick and misses the scheduled testing time at their school?
Please contact the Aspire office to reschedule (885-5429)
Does my child need to re-test once they qualify for the Aspire Program?
Once students are placed into the Aspire Program the assessment scores are final and the student will not be retested.
Eligibility Requirements & Placement
Students that score above the 90th percentile in the mental ability score (CogAT) and above the 95th percentile in the achievement score (ITBS) automatically qualify for program placement. Students meeting the eligibility requirements are ranked through a process which combines achievement and mental 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.
Battle Ground Public Schools offer two program options, described below, and parents may request a program. Students are ranked and placed into the magnet until the class enrollment cap is reached. Students are then placed on a waiting list according to the rank order. Students on the waiting list will be placed in a cluster group at their home school. If an opening in the magnet becomes available, the next student on the waiting list will be contacted.
Retesting for eligibility purposes is available, although currently idenitified students will not be retested annually to maintain eligibility. Additionally, eligible students cannot be retested solely for the purpose of increasing their rank score.
Advanced Placement 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, www.prairiehighschool.org/index.html
Battle Ground High School, (360) 885-6500, www.bghs.battlegroundps.org
OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instructions) AP website www.k12.wa.us/advancedplacement/
Dr. Jill C. Smith supervises the Highly Capable program at the district level; she can be contacted at 885.5414 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kindergarten Early Entrance
For additional information please contact:
April Dalrymple, Advanced Studies Coordinator