• Accelerated Committee - St. Regis Schools - 2015



    Amanda Nichols         649-2311


    Middle/High School

    Laura Jarvis

    Jacki Almquist 649-2070

    Chris West 678-4038



    Amy and Mark Farris


    Board Member

     Fred Gillott



    Joe Steele, Principal 649-2311 ext. 202 cell 208-303-0140

    Judy McKay, Superintendent  649-2311



    Joe Steele 649-2311 ext. 202 cell 208-303-0140




    This plan is created using the Accelerated and Gifted and Talented guidelines posted on the Office of Pubic Instruction website at http://opi.mt.gov/PDF/Gifted/08GTPlanningGuide.pdf and http://opi.mt.gov/PDF/Gifted/Acceleration_Policy_Guidelines.pdf.




    District Profile


    St. Regis School District #1 services 143 students in grades K-12. Our student population consists of 1 Native American, 1 Black or African American, 2 Hispanic or Latino, 3 of two or more races, and 136 White or Caucasian. Seventy-eight percent of our students are on free or reduced lunch.


    St. Regis is located in Western Montana and serves the communities of St. Regis, Haugen, DeBorgia, Saltese. St. Regis School District serves its students in one building, housing elementary, junior high and high school. The school also provides a Pre-K program for 10 students.




    St. Regis Public Schools, in partnership with the community, exists to provide the highest quality education through diversity of exemplary programs that meet the individual needs of each student. The District is committed to providing Accelerated students with an appropriate learning environment to allow a diversity of options in order to maximize their potential.

    Component 1: Student Identification


    "Accelerated children" means children of outstanding abilities who are capable of high performance and require differentiated educational programs beyond those normally offered in public schools in order to fully achieve their potential contribution to self and society. The children so identified include those with demonstrated achievement or potential ability in a variety of worthwhile human endeavors. Gifted and Talented are students who are performing consistently above grade level in a particular area/areas or who have scored in the 95th percentile or higher on State testing[JS1] . These students may also have access to other resources beyond what is outlined in this policy based on their individual needs/talents.


    Children to be identified for the Accelerated Program will be evaluated by professional qualified persons. "Professionally qualified persons" mean teachers, administrators, school

    psychologists, counselors, curriculum specialists, artists, musicians, and others with special

    training who are qualified to appraise pupils' special competencies.


    A group of students consisting of 5 to 10 percent of the school population may be identified as needing services of the program. The District will use comprehensive and appropriate assessment methods including objective measures and professional assessment measures to identify and assessment student growth.


    A variety of screening methods will be used to identify students as accelerated.  These methods include:


    1) Teacher/specialists’ nomination forms (RTI form) using classroom observation/assessments

    2) Harrison Observation Form

    3) MAP/SBAC scores are collected

    4) Academic testing by District Special Education Teacher

    5) Evaluative tests by Consortium Psychologist

    6) Team meeting with parents to review test results and develop a formal, written instructional management plan if needed[JS2] 


    Timeline: Students may be identified anytime during the school year, but those students identified prior to Spring Break will be considered for participating in the Accelerated Program for the next school year.


    There is a difference between bright students and gifted students. The chart below provides a good distinction between the two groups.


    Bright vs. Gifted



    Knows the answers.

    Is interested.

    Is attentive.

    Has good ideas.

    Works hard.

    Answers the questions.

    Top group.

    Listens with interest.

    Learns with ease.

    6-8 repetitions for mastery.

    Understands ideas.

    Enjoys peers.

    Grasps the Meaning.

    Completes assignments.

    Is receptive.

    Copies accurately.

    Enjoys school.

    Absorbs information.


    Good memorizer.

    Enjoys straightforward, sequential presentation.

    Is alert.

    Is pleased with own learning.

    Asks the questions.

    Is highly curious.

    Is mentally and physically involved.

    Has wild, silly ideas.

    Plays around, yet tests well.

    Discusses in detail, elaborates.

    Beyond the group.

    Shows strong feelings and opinions.

    Already knows 1-2 repetitions for mastery.

    Constructs abstractions.

    Prefers adults.

    Draws inferences.

    Initiates projects.

    Is intense.

    Creates a new design.

    Enjoys learning.

    Manipulates information.


    Good guesser.

    Thrives on complexity.

    Is keenly observant.

    Is highly self-critical.




    Component 2: Curriculum Reflecting Student Needs


    1) Instructional Management:


    The instructional management component refers to how children are grouped to receive curriculum. High ability students are capable of moving through, or bypassing, portions of the curriculum at a rate different from other students. We have three categories of instructional management: individualization, grouping (by ability or achievement) and acceleration.


    A) Individualization – the District offers independent study, talent development and multi-grade classes.


    B) Grouped – the District groups students in the following ways: regrouping by achievement for subject instruction, within class performance groupings, and cooperative grouping with like-ability learners


    C) Acceleration – the District provides grade skipping, grade telescoping (rapid progress – shortening the time of progressing through a school level) and duel enrollment for college credit.



    Grouping by Ability or Achievement


    Credit for prior learning

    Full-time ability grouping (tracking)

    Grade skipping

    Individual educational (or learning) plan

    Regrouping by achievement for subject instruction

    Early entrance to school

    Talent development

    Partial day (or send-out) grouping

    Single subject acceleration

    One-on-one mentoring or tutoring

    Within-class performance grouping

    Grade telescoping

    Independent study

    Cooperative grouping with like-ability learners

    Concurrent enrollment

    Non-graded/continuous progress classes

    Cross-graded classes

    Advanced Placement/ International Baccalaureate

    Multigrade classes


    Early admission to college



    Credit by examination


    2) Instructional Delivery


    Instructional delivery refers to the strategies and techniques used to bring the curriculum to the student. Instruction delivery also includes process modification, which is to change the process by which a student will learn, or change the process used by the teacher to help students learn. High ability students must move through the curriculum at a faster pace and can handle content that is deeper, more complex and more abstract than the regular grade level provides. This requires pre-assessment, curriculum differentiation, and consistent on-going assessment. The following is a list of the most common methods used with accelerated students.


    Instructional Delivery Method


    Accelerated pace

    Students progress faster as the teacher speeds up rate of presentation of information in order to match the significantly faster learning rate of intellectually and academically gifted learners.


    Students participate in contests outside of school using the knowledge and skills they have learned

    Discovery learning

    Students find information and answers for themselves through active, often hands-on inquiry-based or problem-based learning activities.


    Students reflect orally on learned information with whole class or small group of students. When questions include conceptualization/ generalization, this is particularly appropriate for gifted students

    Flexible project deadlines

    Students negotiate for more or less time to complete a learning experience and its matching product or performance

    Flexible tasks

    Students (or teachers) change the requirements and parameters of a required product or performance

    Group projects and group learning

    Group of students work together on teacher-chosen or group-chosen topic, developing either a traditional or nontraditional product of the learning acquired; as a process modification, it requires that the tasks be designed so that bright students will perceive the group product as more valuable than how they think they could have done individually.

    Independent study

    Students research teacher-chosen or self-chosen topic on their own, developing either a traditional or nontraditional product to demonstrate the learning acquired.

    Individual project

    Students learn about teacher-chosen or self-chosen topic, which may or may not involve research on own, developing either a traditional or nontraditional product of the learning acquired.

    Learning contracts

    Students negotiate individually with teacher about what and how much will be learned and when product will be due; often connected with an independent study or individual project.

    Open-endedness, creative thinking

    Students are encouraged to brainstorm or think divergently in order to produce more than one idea, answer, or solution

    Personal goal-setting

    Students identify their personal goals and learn how to prioritize their time and activities to reach those goals.

    Problem-based learning

    Students are provided with an unstructured problem/task and are expected to “discover” a method for solving/accomplishing it.


    Students may test out of material they already know and work on independent  projects or extension activities

    From Re-Forming Gifted Education: How Parents and Teachers Can Match the Program to the Child, by Karen Rogers. Reproduced by permission of Great Potential Press, www.giftedbooks.com


    Higher level students may also be tasked with higher-order thinking skills as part of their responses and participation in activities. At the secondary level, this may result in students being graded using a different rubric to reflect those higher-order thinking skills and tasks, which will result in being awarded an Honors credit for the coursework[JS4] . These skills may include:


    Higher-order Thinking Skills


    Higher order thinking

    Students are required to use higher order thinking (application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, etc.) in their learning responses.


    Students respond to teacher-led questioning in order to learn new concepts or draw conclusions and generalizations about what has been learned.

    Open-endedness, creative thinking

    Students are encouraged to brainstorm or think divergently in order to produce more than one idea, answer, or solution.

    Proof and reasoning

    Students are expected to support their arguments and conclusions with evidence or proof.


    Students role-play situations or scenarios in order to apply previous learning or find solutions to the problems or situation presented.


    The key in instructional deliver is to remember that these students learn at a much faster pace and a deeper level. Higher-level thinking skills should be embedded in all they do.


    3) Curriculum Adaptations


    As management and delivery are modified for high-ability students, the curriculum must also adapt. This is usually done by modifying the content, process, and product for accelerated learners. In planning lessons for accelerated/high-ability students, teachers identify exactly what it is that students need to know, understand, and be able to do when they have finished with the content.


    Some content and product modification strategies include abstraction, complexity, variety, method of inquiry, real world problems, and transformation. Students will have regular practice using higher order thinking, proof and reasoning, freedom of choice and pacing and flexibility. Teachers will use Montana Content standards and Essential Learning Expectations as tools in making curricular modifications.


    4[JS5] ) Student Assessment


    Students identified as accelerated will have a baseline test completed using MAP or district developed assessments at the beginning of the school year. Students will be tested at grade level and the next grade higher to determine the baseline. The student will have periodic testing during the course of the year to ensure students are making academic progress.


    5) Programming


    During the 2015-2016 school year, the district will implement a multigrade reading program based on a Walk to Read model. This allows students to flex up a grade level to receive higher level reading and meet the needs of all students. Accelerated students, based on testing data, may be placed on an individual plan to meet their specific needs.


    As the year progresses, and teachers become familiar with the format and instructional delivery methods being incorporated, math may also be developed and implemented on a Walk to Read model. Until this is implemented, the team and parents of Accelerated math students will meet at the beginning of the year to develop an appropriate plan for the student. This may include any instructional management method the team feels is appropriate and that the teachers are comfortable incorporating.


    In addition, the District will develop an after school program using Imagination Destination. This is a competition-based program that challenges students to develop solutions to a problem and present their solution during a competition.


    The District has allocated $1,500 for the Acceleration/Gifted and Talented program,, which will be matched by the Office of Public Instruction if approved.


    Component III: Support Services and Parental Involvement


    Support services and parental involvement is vital to provide well-planned, continuous programming for students. Support service include: administration/school board, psychologists, counselors, teachers, and parents.


    Administration/school board involvement is important for program commitment to meeting the needs of every student. Administrative support includes providing staff, time, funding, training and materials.


    Psychologists may be called upon to test some students during the identification process. He/she consults with teachers and parents and helps explains test results.


    Counselors consult with teacher and/or parents, mentor students, and assist with curriculum advice and course placement.


    Teachers need to communicate with other teachers, specialists, parents and others to ensure the needs of the students are being met.


    Parents will offer support to the District and receive support from the District. Parents need to know how their child’s unique needs are being met and be involved in every decision that concerns the child’s placement and curriculum changes.


    Component IV: Teacher Preparation


    A. Planned Professional Development


    Training for accelerated is a continuous process involving the accelerated specialist, classroom teachers, administrators, and specialists. The following topics will be addressed:


    Program development – conducting needs assessments, designing an identification process, selecting delivery options, and creating action plans.


    Identification – characteristics and needs of gifted students, identifying students, and social and emotional needs of gifted students.


    Instructional strategies – content, process, product, and pace.


    B. Timeline


    August- September – Review identification as part of RTI process and instructional strategies

    September – October  – Parent meetings for testing signatures; testing, and results

    October – MEA workshops, RTI and accelerated training if offered somewhere

    January – Mid-year review that adapts instructional strategies based on student progress

    March – Review and implementation of identification process, apply for accelerated grant

    April – AGATE conference, program development for next year, summer programming planned

    Summer – Summer programming


    C. Funding


    March – Apply for accelerated grant on OPI e-grant system

    July – Budget for accelerated program and staff professional development


    Component V: Program Evaluation


    A. Formative Evaluation


    A mid-year and end-of-year report will be created addressing these questions. Any weaknesses found will be addressed in a timely manner. Measureable objectives will be reported to OPI each year. The following questions will be addressed:


    ·         How well are the students in the program performing?

    ·         Is the identification process identifying students with needs that the program was designed to meet?

    ·         How well does the curriculum meet the needs of the students?

    ·         Have program goals been met?

    ·         What measures are used to determine program effectiveness?


    B. Summative Evaluation


    This will be conducted every five years, the year after the Five Year Comprehensive Education Plan (5YCEP) is due to Office of Public Instruction. A committee of teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents will evaluate and strategically plan the program. The committee will ask questions such as:


    ·         Did the program do what it was designed to do?

    ·         Was the student identification process effective in identifying students with extraordinary needs and abilities?

    ·         Are there components of the program that are missing or incomplete?

    ·         How successful were the school’s support services in meeting identified needs?

    ·         Did professional development result in an increase in the staff knowledge about gifted education?

    ·         Did the quality of programming for gifted students increase as a result of professional development?

    ·         Are classroom teachers better able to meet the needs of gifted students in their classrooms because of professional development?

    ·         What changes do we need to make?

     [JS1]Added per our June 2 conversation

     [JS2]Added per our June 2 conversation

     [JS3]Added this section to reflect OPI options and per our June 2 discussion

     [JS4]Added based on a June 10 meeting with Shelly, Joe and Judy.

     [JS5]Added per our June 2 discussion