Aspire Program for Highly Capable Learners

Aspire handbook coverBattle Ground Public Schools is accepting referrals to test students for its highly capable Aspire program. Referral packets are due by December 4, 2020. 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 through March for grades 1-11 and March for kindergartners. Identified students will receive services beginning next school year, 2021-2022. Parents who submit the student referral packet by December 4th 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) 885-5426.

It is the mission and responsibility of Battle Ground Public Schools to meet the educational needs and foster the intellectual growth of the 12,800-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

All students in first through eleventh grade are eligible for testing. 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.

Student Referral Packet, Grades 1-12 (English)
Russian Language Student Referral Packet, Grades 1-12
Spanish Language Student Referral Packet, Grades 1-12

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. 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 90th percentile rank and above qualify for further testing using iReady for reading and math.

Selection, Placement and Appeal

Students are selected for Aspire program services through eligibility and placement. Selection and placement recommendations are 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 90th percentile on the iReady achievement assessment 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 students will be notified in April. 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

Program Service Options

Kindergarten – Grade 2: Students demonstrating high academic achievement will be clustered together in the general education classrooms in their neighborhood schools. Students will receive differentiated instruction focused on social-emotional learning and creative and critical thinking.

Grade 3 – Grade 8: Students identified as highly capable in grades 3- 8 are currently served through two program service options. In both options, students received differentiated instruction designed to enhance and enrich learning experiences.

Option 1: Cluster Program
In this option, a group of highly capable students are clustered together at their neighborhood school to receive differentiated instruction in the general education classroom. This option allows students to receive instruction designed to meet their needs while participating with other students within their neighborhood and community. Any student identified as highly capable in reading, math, or both areas is eligible to participate in this program.

Option 2: Magnet Program
In this option, highly capable students receive differentiated instruction in a self-contained classroom at Captain Strong Primary (grades 3-4) or Chief Umtuch Middle (grades 5-8). Instruction is differentiated for increased depth and complexity and often accelerated. The district assists in-district students with transportation services from the neighborhood to and from the schools.

Students desiring a magnet placement are ranked using their ability test (CogAT) and current achievement test (i-Ready) scores. Rankings are updated yearly for the most current testing data. The magnet option is available on a space available basis.

Grades 9 – 12: At the high school level, highly capable students can participate in advanced coursework that earn high school and the potential for college credits. A variety of Honors level and Advanced Placement courses are available in all grades and at all high schools.

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, Battle Ground High School, and CAM Academy 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

Jennifer Marrott – Aspire Program Coordinator

(360) 885-5426 or marrott.jennifer@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.

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