Advanced learners need opportunities to think abstractly, work at various rates and levels of complexity, and pursue tasks independently. In addition, they need opportunities to learn with others of like abilities, as well as opportunities to develop socio-emotionally. Services for advanced learners are implemented through school-based and countywide activities, which comply with school board and state objectives. These school-based services are delivered in the following ways:
- APS Advanced Academics and Talent Development is collaborative resource model, in which the classroom teacher works with the Advanced Academic Coach (AAC) to develop and present appropriately differentiated learning experiences for advanced learners within the general education classroom.
- In the general education classroom setting, identified students are cluster-grouped (with a goal of of 10+) together. Unit and subject-based flexible groupings are utilized based on ongoing data.
- Identified students work with teachers who are specifically trained in the instructional needs and curriculum written for advanced learners.
- Specific curricula which are differentiated or extended from concepts in the general education curriculum, and when appropriate, through opportunities for acceleration and extension.
The Cluster Model
The Cluster Model provides services to identified advanced learners by allowing the AAC to “push in” to the classroom and collaborate with teachers through CLTs and individual planning sessions. Using this model, identified advanced learners are placed in a cluster classrooms with intellectual peers. The classroom teacher, with the support of the AAC, is the primary deliverer of advanced curriculum.
Advantages of this model include…
- Students have intellectual peers necessary for academic and social development all day
- Students have more access to curriculum for advanced learners and/or strategies in their classroom
- Non-identified students who also need challenges will have the opportunity to try out advanced curriculum or strategies
- AACs can monitor students and foster talent development for students not currently identified for services
AAC Roles and Responsibilities
- Collaborate and co-plan with teachers
- Extend and deepen student learning through higher level discussion, rich content, and high expectations
- Provide supplemental resources
- Model lessons, co-instruct, or facilitate lessons
- Coaching best practices and instructional strategies (i.e. APS’ K-12 Critical Thinking Strategies)
- Help plan and facilitate book clubs and extension projects
- Promote differentiation practices throughout the school
- Manage gifted and talented screening process and evaluation
- Facilitate professional development for teachers
For more information about Arlington Public Schools’ full plan for Gifted Services, please review: https://www.apsva.us/gifted-services/. For frequently asked questions, please review: https://www.apsva.us/gifted-services/frequently-asked-questions-faq/. If you have school-specific questions, or if you would like to learn more about differentiation, growth mindset practices, and Advanced Academics and Talent Development in our building, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at Glebe Elementary.
Classroom Teacher’s Role and Responsibilities
- Collaborate with the AAC to provide differentiated curriculum, extension opportunities, and supplemental curriculum resources
- Plan units and lessons to meet the learning needs of students demonstrating the need for advanced curriculum
- Coordinate instructional needs of all learners in the classroom
- Keep open communication with AAC on students that may need to be screened for gifted identification