Questions Asked About ELP Services
How are needs of high-ability students met?
Short-term classes, content acceleration, or an advanced class may be needed. Classroom support is provided when the Extended Learning Program(ELP) teacher consults with grade level teachers for curriculum modification, assists with small groups in the classroom, arranges mentorships, and/or provides enrichment material. At various times, some students may also be serviced through the ELP resource room. Many students can be reached through extra-curricular enrichment activities, such as community education classes, after school clubs, fine arts experiences, or service groups.
What if students don’t leave the regular classroom to meet with the ELP teacher?
ALL Johnston teachers have had or will have opportunities for training to work with the many high-end students. ONE Extended Learning teacher cannot effectively serve all the high-ability students in a single school, but TOGETHER, we can make the difference! As opposed to “being gifted” one period a day, teachers can make modifications so that every hour of the day is challenging. Cluster groups of 4-8 high-ability children are formed in order to effectively reach more students. This type of grouping is only one way to meet some of the needs of our gifted students. Some students might be in a cluster group for math for the entire year, or for one unit in literature, or for a day in creative writing. The groups are flexible because students do not all learn at the same pace. Sometimes the classroom teacher works with these groups, and sometimes the ELP teacher does. The ELP teacher meets with classroom teachers to plan or provide materials as a need arises.
How will I know if my child is receiving Extended Learning programming?
We strive to match student’s abilities with the curriculum. The staff look for evidence of excellence: a superior project, excellent grades, work above and beyond what is expected, high test scores, strong interest, and a desire for knowledge and challenge. Parents, teachers, and students themselves provide this information, which is on going. When standardized or special tests are given, data is reviewed. Students’ needs and interests can and do frequently change. What is best for your child’s friend may not be best for your child. If your child demonstrates an ability to work at a higher level, opportunities will be provided. This could include an advanced assignment, challenging novels, extension activities in math or science, or special literature and social studies projects. These extensions take place in ALL classrooms. Your classroom teacher will discuss with you how your child’s needs are being met. Your child’s principal supervises teachers, and if you have questions about the extent of classroom services, they are a contact for you.
As a parent, what can I do to support and encourage my child?
Focus on meeting your child’s needs, rather than identification for the sake of a label. You may find your child is challenged appropriately. One year, a classroom teacher/ grade level curriculum may be the perfect match for your child. Another year, he/she may need extra support to be successful. Children are not “gifted” one year, and “not gifted” another, but their identification status may change based upon their participation, motivation, and ability to demonstrate the need for additional services. Programming is a response to their needs, so it is logical different levels of service will be more appropriate at different times. You can help your child understand that only a few children at each grade level have a Personalized Education Plan, and are regularly involved in programming with the ELP staff. Most are served adequately through the classroom. Being a part of a flexible group is part of programming, but so is working on an independent project or taking an advanced math class. The emphasis is not on being “IN” ELP; many students take part IN ELP SERVICES. Don’t let your child get caught up in this misconception- let them know that by challenging themselves they are participating in Extended Learning Programming. Help your child get involved. Share your interests. Provide opportunities through activities such as theater, museums, libraries, or special programs. Parents and the school make a great team to challenge our children.