Thinking Skills, Enrichment and Challenge
Thomas Jefferson once said, "There is nothing more unequal than equal treatment of unequal people." Our political and social system is based on democratic principles. The school, as an extension of those principles, must provide educational opportunities for all children based upon their need.
The Board of Education for District #37 has recognized that within its population there exists students who have special academic potential and is therefore committed to an educational program that will enable every student to fulfill his/her potential as an individual
The State of Illinois defines gifted as, "those children who consistently excel or show the potential to be superior in 'general intellectual ability' or 'specific aptitude/talent'." The East Moline District #37 TEC (Thinking Skills, Enrichment, Challenge) program focuses on the specific aptitude/talent of students. This means that a student possesses a specific aptitude/talent in one or more fundamental area of learning (e.g., language arts, social studies, science, or mathematics) which is superior to aptitudes of other students of the same chronological age to the extent that he/she needs and can profit from specially planned educational services beyond those normally provided by the standard school program.
District #37 recognizes that students identified for the TEC program need to interact with both ability peers and age peers. The district provides a range of services for these identified students:
Elementary Cluster Group and Pull-Out (grades 1-4)
Identified students are clustered in grade level classrooms at each elementary school. These classrooms are not otherwise ability grouped, but contain students of mixed ability levels. The Cluster teacher is determined by his/her interest, desire, and training in gifted education. The Cluster teacher's responsibility is to provide differentiated experiences (a modification of the "regular" curriculum based on abstractness, complexity, critical thinking, creative thinking, and/or acceleration) which meet the needs of identified students in mathematics and/or language arts. In addition to cluster grouping, identified students are "pulled-out" of their regular classroom once a week for one and one-half to two and one-half hours (depending on the grade level) to meet with one of the traveling resource teachers. These resource teachers provide enrichment in mathematics and/or language arts to students. The mathematics portion of the pull-out program emphasizes problem solving, while the language arts portion focuses on literature and research.
Middle School Challenge Classrooms (grades 5-8)
Identified students are grouped together for mathematics, language arts, science, and/or social studies. Students are only in Challenge classrooms for those subject areas in which they qualify. Challenge classes are comprised entirely of identified students (homogeneous grouping). Challenge teachers are determined by their interest, desire to teach in the TEC program, and their training in gifted education. The Challenge teacher's responsibility is to provide differentiated experiences (a modification of the "regular" curriculum based on abstractness, complexity, critical thinking, creative thinking, and/or acceleration) which meet the needs of identified students in a particular subject area.
SCREENING (IDENTIFICATION PROCESS)
Screening is the first part of the identification process. When a student is screened, it means that he/she is being considered for selection in the TEC program. Following is a grade level by grade level description of how students are recommended for screening:
K to 1st All Students (based on test scores, Teacher Referral, or Parent Referral)
1st to 2nd Students Not Currently in the Program (based on test scores, Teacher Referral, or Parent Referral)
2nd to 3rd Students Not Currently in the Program (based on test scores, Teacher Referral, or Parent Referral)
3rd to 4th Students Not Currently in the Program (based on test scores, Teacher Referral, or Parent Referral)
4th to 5th All Students (based on test scores, Teacher Referral, or Parent Referral)
5th to 8th Students Not Currently in the Program (based on test scores, Teacher Referral, Self Referral or Parent Referral)
SELECTION (IDENTIFICATION PROCESS)
Selection, the second part of the identification process, determines whether or not a student is eligible for the TEC program according to the criteria established by the East Moline School District. Below is a description of the identification process for the TEC program:
The Elementary Pull-Out And Middle School Challenge Programs:
A TEC screening/selection committee will review the profiles of all students who are in the screening pool. Each student's profile will be considered on an individual basis. Selection into the TEC program will depend on two factors:
profile of the student in relation to the established Range of "Giftedness" and in relation to other students currently in the program
current number of identified students in the program at that grade level*
Profiles for students entering first and second grades will include ability test scores, specific work samples, and teacher recommendation/rating. Profiles for students entering grades three through eight will include the most recent (within two academic years) ability test scores, the most recent (within two academic years) achievement test scores, and teacher recommendation/rating.
In reviewing student profiles, the committee will use the following guidelines for selection and placement:
Strongest consideration is given to profiles which exhibit all indicators (ability, achievement, recommendation, and rating of characteristics) in the "high", "moderate" or "mild" ranges of giftedness.
Strong consideration is given to profiles which exhibit three indicators (ability, achievement, recommendation, or rating of characteristics) in the "high", "moderate" or "mild" ranges of giftedness.
Consideration is given to profiles which exhibit two indicators (ability, achievement, recommendation, or rating of characteristics) in the "high", "moderate" or "mild" ranges of giftedness. However, at least one of the indicators must be an ability or achievement score.
If there is a question as to the validity of test results (by the classroom teacher, parent, or screening committee), or if a student does not have "recent" (within two academic years) test results, those portions of the ability or achievement tests may be administered to the student. The screening/selection committee may use additional information such as previous years' test scores, review of achievement test and/or ability test sub areas, a student questionnaire, or examples of the student's work to make a final decision regarding placement. Students who have been screened and who are not selected for the program will be placed on a watch list. Every effort will be made to ensure that the TEC program (at each grade level) maintains an enrollment of between 5%-10% of the district-wide student population at that grade level.
CONTINUATION, REVIEW, EXIT
Once a student enters the elementary TEC program (grades 1-4), he/she does not go through the identification process again until the end of the fourth grade. At that time, all fourth grade students (whether or not they have been in the TEC program) are re-identified for eligibility in the middle school program. Because of changes in the program from elementary school to middle school and because of differences in student development, not all students who have been in the elementary TEC program continue in the middle school TEC program at the same level of involvement. Once a student enters the middle school TEC program (grades 5-8), he/she does not go through the annual identification process in the subject areas where he/she was identified. However, at any grade level it may become necessary to review the student's placement in the program.
If a middle school student receives a "D" or "F" in a Challenge (TEC) class on his/her report card for two consecutive grading periods, the student will be exited from that Challenge class.
Reasons for reviewing a student's placement in a middle school Challenge (TEC) class include:
Although the student has a "C" or higher report card grade in a Challenge class, he/she is not...
able to demonstrate an understanding of abstract and/or complex ideas and information.
able to demonstrate the use of higher order thinking skills and problem solving strategies.
able to demonstrate the use of "a" or "b" above in completed products i.e., research reports, compositions, projects.
The student is experiencing social/emotional problems which are a detriment to his/her health and/or the student's ability to perform in the Challenge class.
The student is displaying inappropriate behavior which interferes with his/her ability to perform in the Challenge class or the right of other students to learn.
The steps in the review process include:
Parent notification, by the teacher, of the reason(s) for reviewing the student's TEC placement and the expectations for continuation in the Challenge class. The student will be given a reasonable time in which to demonstrate those expectations.
Documentation of the parent notification, by the teacher, to the building principal. The building principal will then send a copy of this page to the parents.
Continued communication between the teacher and the parent regarding the student's progress toward meeting the expectations.
A recommendation, by the teacher, at the end of a grading period or school year regarding the student's status in the program. This recommendation will be communicated to the building principal and TEC program director by the teacher.
Parent notification of the final decision regarding the status of the student in the Challenge class by the principal and/or TEC program director. That status may include:
continuation in the Challenge class
being placed on "probation," with specific criteria identified for continuation in the class
being exited from the class
some other appropriate recommendation
TEC PROGRAM PERSONNEL
Garrin Jost, Elementary TEC Resource
Sanchia Sommers, Middle School TEC Coordinator
Kelly Ronnebeck, Associate Superintendent of Student Achievement