Metropolitan School District of Wabash County
Levels of Services Program Plan
This plan outlines the educational services for high ability students offered by the Metropolitan School District of Wabash County (MSDWC) in compliance with IC 20-10.1-5.1-4 and 511 IAC 6-9.1-2 Sec. 2)
• Counseling & Guidance Plan
• Curriculum & Instructional Strategies Plan
• Multifaceted Student Assessment
• Professional Development
• Systematic Program Assessment Plan
Counseling and Guidance Plan
MSDWC has two counselors available for the four elementary schools, so a counselor is available to K-6 students on a regular basis. The building teams involve the counselors in planning and training so that their services are integrated into the services provided to high ability students. District-wide, the counselors have met to learn about social-emotional needs of high ability students using “Guiding Students with High Abilities: Social & Emotional Considerations. The group also used a rubric provided by the Indiana Department of Education to evaluate guidance department services for high ability.
At the junior-senior high school level, counselors work with teachers to coordinate between elementary and junior high school. Highly able students are made aware of opportunities and requirements. Orientation programs are held for parents and students and course request sheets are mailed as verification of upcoming course selections. Exiting and entering procedures for honors programs are also established and communicated to students. Standardized test scores, prior student performance, student work ethic, and teacher recommendation are among the criteria used for placement. Exiting procedures involve the student, teacher, and parent. High school students are also seen on a formal, individual basis each year. The four-year course plan is reviewed and notes are recorded regarding post-secondary plans, testing, academic progress, and course scheduling for the following year.
Counselors make themselves readily available for personal counseling as well. When appropriate, suggestions are made to help the student with concerns he or she has encountered either at school or outside the school environment. Students are referred by self, other students, parent and/or teacher suggestion. Group counseling sessions are held when appropriate and referral to outside agencies is made when deemed necessary.
Curriculum and Instructional Strategies Plan
The Metropolitan School District of Wabash County (MSDWC) has a variety of components in place to meet the needs of high ability students. Students are served through the Levels of Services (LoS) model, where services are matched to unique student needs.
Tier I services are for all students. Field trips, convocations, guest presenters, and other events provide all students an opportunity to expand their view of the world. School-wide or grade projects (i.e. science or social studies fairs, community essay contests) offer students open-ended opportunities for challenge and provide a real world audience. While these opportunities are provided for all students, high ability students are in a unique position to thrive in this environment.
Tier II services are for some students. This level provides for students based on specific characteristics and needs. This varies by school and grade level, but may include grouping by skill level for math and/or reading instruction, between-class grouping, daily pull-out, honors classes, and acceleration of content material leading to opportunities for dual credit and Advanced Placement courses. Both in school and extracurricular opportunities include academic competitions, visual and performing arts options, and service learning.
Tier III services are for a few students who demonstrate a need for even more highly individualized options. Depending on the student’s age, interests, and ability, this may include early entrance, grade advancement, mentorships, internships, independent research/projects and/or early graduation.
District Focus on PLC’s
In 2011 the district began taking steps toward becoming a Professional Learning Community. Weekly teacher collaboration time is focused on four questions:
1. What do students need to learn? (Curriculum)
2. How do we know if they have learned? (Assessments)
3. What do we do if they have not learned? (Interventions)
4. What do we provide for students if they already know it? (Acceleration, enrichment, challenge)
We are pleased that Question #4 directs more attention to the needs of high ability students and confident that our daily services for high ability students will continually improve as we become more experienced with the PLC model.
In the two primary schools, high ability students have above grade level reading instruction on a daily basis. In additional, time is built into the daily schedule for enrichment focused on critical thinking, problem solving, and research. Math talent is nurtured in identified students through the Mentoring Young Mathematicians (K-2) and Mentoring Mathematical Minds (3-5) curriculum. By grade 6, some students are accelerated in the math curriculum, preparing for taking accelerated math when they reach junior high.
At the junior-senior high level, MSDWC has enriched/accelerated classes for both English and mathematics. By beginning algebra in 8th grade (or sooner as appropriate for specific identified students) and finishing with Advanced Placement Calculus as seniors students can receive five years of high school math as well as an opportunity to qualify for college credit through the AP exam. In English, students have an opportunity to take a more challenging curriculum through honors/advanced English classes culminating with the Advanced Placement English courses. AP courses are also available in biology, history, and chemistry. Dual credit is available for several classes in our schools and students also have the option to travel to nearby college campuses to take classes. Several Southwood students take an early morning class at Indiana Wesleyan and Northfield students have taken advantage of Manchester University. In recent years students have also used the Indiana On-line Academy to take AP and other courses not available in our high schools.
The two intermediate schools and the two junior-senior high schools have multiple opportunities for academic competition, including Destination Imagination, Spell Bowl, MATH Bowl, Battle of the Books, Wabash County Junior High Math Contest, multiple high school mathematics competitions, and many essay contests.
Talented art and music students have many opportunities depending on their areas of strength and interest. Both art departments offer flexible scheduling so that talented art students have an opportunity to take a variety of art classes, regardless of what class period they have available. The music department is also flexile, providing advanced opportunities for individuals or small groups.
MSD of Wabash County partners with Wabash City Schools and Manchester Community Schools to offer the Visual & Performing Arts Cooperative. Students, (grades 3-12) talented/interested in acting, singing, costuming, or set production can participate in a Youth Theater production each summer. (See music teachers for the April audition schedule). Special art classes are held for two weeks each summer for talented art students (grades 3-12). (See art teachers for application and art product submission for acceptance) The Best of the Best program provides four talented students from each high school an opportunity to learn how their art talent could lead to a career. They meet at Charley Creek Gardens Education Center to work with professional artists and tour local art-related businesses. The culminating event is a gallery showing where students sell their own artwork to the public.
Multifaceted Student Assessment Plan
Placement:Standardized testing, teacher input, classroom performance, and professional judgment are all utilized to identify students who are High Ability-Math, High Ability-Language Arts, or High Ability-General Intellectual.
At the junior-senior high level, placement in the honors/accelerated classes is based on past student performance, standardized test scores, teacher judgment, input from parents, and student motivation.
Assessment of performance
Once students are placed in one of the program components, assessment is continuous to determine if this is the best placement for them.
Annual growth for grades 4-8 is measured using the Indiana Growth Model as well as specific progress in the service (i.e. advanced math or reading instruction) being provided. Benchmarking is used for the primary grades. At the junior-senior high level, student progress is evaluated at mid-term and at the end of each nine weeks. Those experiencing difficulties may be placed into another class after a conference.
Professional Development Plan
The professional development plan for promoting professional growth in all areas of high ability services is integrated into the overall professional development plan for MSDWC. The plan provides release time and funding for teachers involved directly in the high ability programs: AP teachers, high ability teacher and classroom teachers to participate in local, regional or state events specific to their responsibilities. To meet the expectation for having staff licensed in high ability, grant money is set aside for stipends to teachers willing to take coursework toward a high ability endorsement.
The high ability coordinator participates in the Region 8 Curriculum and Professional Development Council as well as the Region 8 High Ability Coordinators Roundtable. The MSDWC professional development plan also provides opportunities to reach all teachers with instructional strategies and organizational techniques to allow them to challenge all students yet meet the needs of highly able students.
Guidance counselors are encouraged to attend workshops on social & emotional needs of high ability students and are required to be familiar with the DOE resources on this topic.
Systematic Program Assessment Plan
The MSDWC plan for program assessment uses a variety of instruments and processes to systematically gather data on the services offered to highly able students. The information is then analyzed by the Broad Based Planning Committee and used to revise the services as needed.
At the elementary level, the high ability staff and classroom teachers maintain a log of services for identified high ability students. The school improvement team evaluates the program services and presents the annual highlights to the Broad-Based Planning Committee.
Principals, department chairpersons, and teachers, along with College Board (AP) and the partner universities (dual credit) evaluate the courses that serve highly able junior-senior high students.
Student performances on the Advanced Placement exams provide data for evaluating the effectiveness of our programming options for high ability students.