Horizons Identification Process

HORIZONS ACADEMICS IDENTIFICATION PROCESS

The MSAD #28 Horizons program serves students who are identified as gifted and talented as well as those who perform well above grade level. Some programs address the needs of one group while others address the needs of both simultaneously. The screening / identification process for both groups is outlined below.

1. Initial Contact – All Grade 2 Students (April)

A letter is sent home to all parents of Grade 2 students explaining the identification process for the Horizons program at MSAD #28.

2. Screening Pool Determination (early May of Grade 2)

At the end of Grade 2, we begin to determine which students will be screened for Horizons programming in the fall of Grade 3. To do this, we use quantitative and qualitative data sources. Students who meet both criteria (a NWEA score of 95% or higher and meet the required score on the individual student teacher questionnaire) are added to the screening pool.

A) Teacher Feedback (late May of Grade 2)

To gather the initial, full-class teacher feedback, all 2nd grade teachers complete a gifted and talented full-class screening survey for each student in his/her class, indicating whether or not they have seen particular gifted and talented characteristics throughout the year.

B) NWEA Scores

The CRES Horizons teacher reviews spring NWEA test scores. All students who scored in at least the 95th percentile on either the Math or Reading NWEA will be considered in the initial screening pool.

C) Individual Teacher Questionnaires


Grade 2 teachers will complete individual questionnaires for any student who received 8 points or higher on the full-class gifted and talented characteristics Teacher Feedback Survey AND for any students who scored 95th %ile or higher on either Math or Reading spring NWEA.

All Grade 2 students who score a 39 or higher on the Individual Teacher Questionnaire AND also scored 95th %ile or higher on either NWEA, will form the Fall Horizons screening pool.

3. Final Screening Pool (June)

The students who met the above criteria (section D), form the screening pool for the Grade 3 Horizons program. Every student in the screening pool will meet with the Horizons teacher for an informal interest inventory interview. This interest interview allows the identification committee to learn more about each student, beyond what a test score can show. This interview is also directly linked to commonly recognized gifted and talented characteristics and is designed to glean more about each student’s passions, interests, and curiosities.

The students in this screening pool will then continue the full screening process in the Fall of Grade 3. Each parent will be mailed a Parent Questionnaire to complete and return to the CRES Horizons teacher. This is not used as screening data, but is very helpful in allowing the Horizons identification committee to gain more insight into each child being screened. Parents will also be asked to complete a permission form giving the CRES Horizons teacher permission to give the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test), the SAGES (Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary and Middle school students) II Math/Science, and the SAGES II Reading/Social Studies tests in the fall of 3rd Grade.

4. Screening Process (Fall of Grade 3 - September)

A) Every student in the screening pool is given the CogAT test.

B) Every student in the screening pool is given the SAGES II, both Math/Science and Reading/Social Studies.


5. Review of Scores and Recommendations
(typically completed by end of September)

All of the screening data is scored, norm-referenced, collected, and compiled by the CRES Horizons teacher. The CRES Horizons Identification Committee then meets to review all the data and determine who meets the eligibility criteria. The committee membership includes a district and building administrator, Horizons teacher, general education classroom or specials teacher, and the guidance counselor. If a student receives scores indicating that he or she is eligible for any Horizons services, the identification committee will determine the most appropriate programming (e.g. subject advancement, extension class, in-class differentiation support, etc.).

6. Identification Notification Process

After the screening committee has met and made placement decisions, a letter describing a clear instructional plan, is mailed home to the parents/guardians of all students who were screened. If a student does not demonstrate a need for Horizons programming, it will be indicated in this letter. The Horizons programming options (may be one or a combination) for students who do qualify are the following:

A) Pull-out/Push-in extension program with content focused on science and social studies, math, reading, or a combination. This instruction does not replace the classroom instruction, but extends and provides a more challenging level of learning. There are also times where the Horizons teacher will team with the classroom teacher.

B) Curriculum modification and support by the classroom teacher, with guidance and resources provided by the Horizons teacher, when requested.

C) Individual programming (typically for students identified as Gifted and Talented, in-class independent research project or other individualized programming).

D) Subject acceleration with subject specific instruction at the appropriate instructional level (this requires much more extensive screening, beyond that administered for regular Horizons programming). Student must qualify as Gifted to be eligible for subject acceleration screening (see Screening Criteria document for Gifted Qualifications.)

7. Appeal Process

Parents may appeal the decision of the Horizons Identification Committee by writing a letter to the building administrator and Horizons teacher. This is considered a first appeal and should include additional information, if available. The Horizons teacher will collect additional data during the appeals process, by administering the SAGES 2 Reasoning subtest and a NWEA retest to make a final determination. If denied, a further appeal can be made to the Assistant Superintendent who serves as the Director of Gifted and Talented.

8. Annual Programming Review (Spring of Grade 3 and fall of Grade 4)

The programming plan for every student in the Horizons program will be carefully reviewed at the end of Grade 3 to confirm the best programming options going into Grade 4. It is important that the students demonstrated engagement and commitment to the program in order to continue. A student, and his/her parents, can, at any time, request that the student no longer receive the Horizons programming. Students who were identified as G/T will retain that identification for the years they remain in MSAD #28. However, placement into Horizons programming will be re-evaluated each year.

9. Selection for Further Testing (Grade 3 students in Spring or as Grade 4 students in Fall)

Students who did not participate in the Horizons program during Grade 3 can enter the screening pool in any of the following ways:

  • Parent Questionnaire (nomination)
  • Teacher Questionnaire (meeting criteria)
  • A score of ≥95 on either math or reading NWEA

Students who meet the screening criteria will be screened in the fall of Grade 4 with the returning Horizons students.

The Horizons Identification Committee will go through the same process they did the previous fall to identify Horizons placement.


2e or Twice Exceptional Students
When a 2e student (twice exceptional = students IN, or eligible for, special education support, AND also qualifying for Gifted and Talented services) is identified as having a need for Horizons programming, very special consideration has to be made when scheduling the instruction and programming for those students. The Horizons teacher meets with the special education teachers and the parents to determine a plan since the available time must be shared by special education and Horizons.



Students new to the district with prior G/T identification

  • Review of Records: A record review involves verifying screening that took place at a previous school AND whether or not a student was identified to receive previous programming in gifted and talented.
  • If a student is new to CRES, at the start of the school year, a Teacher Questionnaire is completed by his/her teacher in
  • October/November. If a student is new to CRES, after fall screening is completed, the teacher will complete a Teacher Questionnaire no later than 2 months after his/her arrival.
  • If indicated, further full evaluation will include the CogAT, SAGES, and NWEA when possible. The same identification criteria will be used.
  • Parents will be notified by mail of any recommendation.

Students new to the district with NO prior G/T identification

  • Teacher or Parent Referral will prompt
  • Review of Records
  • Parent Questionnaire
  • If a student is new to CRES, in the fall, a Teacher Questionnaire is completed by teachers in October/November. If a student is new to CRES, after fall screening is completed, the teacher will complete a Teacher Questionnaire no later than 2 months after his/her arrival.
  • If indicated, further full evaluation will include the CogAT, SAGES, and NWEA if possible. The same identification criteria will be used.
  • Parent will be notified by mail of any recommendation.


Nomination During the School Year by a Student’s Classroom Teacher

Student must have >95% on either math or reading NWEA to be considered for nomination.

  • Teacher’s nomination will prompt:
  • Review of Records
  • Parent Questionnaire
  • Teacher Questionnaire
  • If indicated, further full evaluation will include the CogAT, SAGES, and next available NWEA if possible. The same identification criteria will be used.
  • Parent will be notified by mail of any recommendation.


ELL Student Nomination

We will consider an ELL student in light of their English Language Proficiency and the impact that may or may not have on performance results that were based in English. If language is not an apparent barrier to performance, ELL students must meet the same criteria as all other students. We will make every effort to have the parent questionnaire translated into their native language if the parent is not fluent in English.



Acceleration Protocol

1. Subject Specific Acceleration

Acceleration should only be considered when best practices in differentiation strategies are unable to meet the student’s needs. Students at any grade K – 8 can be accelerated in Math (exceptions in other content areas made on a case by case basis) when they meet the following criteria (listed below). Placement decisions are determined during the following windows:

Between September 1 – October 15 (for current year) and May 15 – June 15 (for following year). Criteria:

  • Student must have met the criteria to be identified as G/T in Math. Refer to the screening criteria document, for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Grade students. If the student is in Kindergarten or Grade 1, they would need to meet 2 of the 3 following criteria to be considered for math acceleration:
  • CogAT (Level A) ≥98%
  • SAGES II Math/Science (K-3 level) ≥98%
  • G/T characteristic interview score of ≥5

And MUST also be at the following Fountas & Pinnell instructional reading levels:

  • Kindergarten student: levels K, L, or M
  • Grade 1 student: levels N, O, or P
  • Student must have scored ≥85% on the end-of-year Math assessment for the grade level ahead of their placement for spring window, and for the current grade if during the fall window.

Placement options:

  • Qualifying students will join a regular math class at the grade level ahead.
  • If placement goes beyond Grade 4, the student will work in a pullout setting with the Horizons teacher or will use a self-paced online program.
  • If there are scheduling conflicts that are insurmountable, then the school will discuss and determine other options.

Process:

  • Teacher or parent nominates a student for acceleration (nomination goes to the Horizons teacher).
  • Horizons teacher collects & compiles relevant data.
  • Horizons teacher notifies building administrator to arrange preliminary meeting to discuss options (staff only).
  • Building administrator convenes meeting with parents and relevant staff (includes Horizons teacher) to review data and recommend a placement.

Each spring, the Horizons teacher will contact parents regarding a student’s continued acceleration plan.

2. Grade Level Acceleration

Grade level acceleration should only happen in rare circumstances, if ever, particularly at the K – 4 level. The cost of entering high school at a young age has significant implications in terms of social pressures that will not be evident at the student’s current age.

Considerations:

  • Must qualify for G/T in Reading and Math.

Refer to the screening criteria document, for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Grade students. If the student is in Kindergarten or Grade 1, s/he would need to meet 3 of the 4 following criteria to be considered for grade acceleration:

  • CogAT (Level A) ≥98%
  • SAGES II Math/Science (K-3 level) ≥98%
  • SAGES II Reading/ Social Studies (K-3 level) ≥98% G/T characteristic interview score of ≥5

And MUST also be at the following Fountas & Pinnell instructional reading levels:

  • Grade 1 student: levels N, O, or P
  • Kindergarten student: levels K, L, or M

Also taken into consideration:

  • Advanced writing skills
  • Chronological Age of student
  • Maturity
  • Social and Emotional capacity and resilience

Process:

  • Parent or teacher nominates a student for acceleration (nomination goes to Horizons teacher).
  • Horizons teacher collects & compiles relevant data.
  • Horizons teacher notifies building administrator to arrange preliminary meeting to discuss options (staff only).
  • Building administrator convenes meeting with parents and relevant staff (includes Horizons) to review data, discuss long-term implications, and recommend a placement.
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