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GCT Minds
Serving Mahtomedi’s Advanced Learners

Definition of GIFTED/CREATIVE/TALENTED

Our Vision:

Engage, Challenge, and Inspire All Students to Create Opportunities for Themselves and Others

Our Beliefs about Gifted and Talented Students Mahtomedi Public Schools recognize that some students have outstanding abilities that differ from others of their age, experience, or environment. Mahtomedi seeks to identify these gifted, creative, and talented students in order to provide services to meet their unique needs.

What is GCT MINDS? Gifted, Creative and Talented MINDS is an acronym that stands for Matching Identified Needs with District Services
. This describes the way we strive to serve our gifted, creative and talented students. Mahtomedi School District uses the LoS (Levels of Service) model in designing services provided.


Definition of Levels of Service Model

Level I: Services for All Students

Opportunities that provide foundational skills and tools that help all students to discover and build their personal strengths and talents.
Teachers in a school noticed that most of the questions they asked their students called for basic recall. They decided to teach higher level thinking skills and deliberately modified their questioning technique by developing questions that required students to think creatively and critically. 


Level II: Services for Many Students
Opportunities that invite students to engage in activities through which they can investigate their interests and verify areas in which they may demonstrate strengths and talent potentials.

Level III: Services for Some Students
Opportunities that involve alternative learning activities for students to engage in rigorous and complex learning based on their demonstrated performance and documented needs in areas of strength and sustained interest.
Students with strengths and talents in math may be placed in advanced math classes, Honors classes, or AP math courses (based on mathematical aptitude, skills, and interests). Their math opportunities may involve acceleration as well as opportunities for enrichment (e.g., special projects for individuals or small groups).

Level IV: Services for a Few Students
Advanced opportunities that respond to the unique needs of individual students who have demonstrated outstanding ability, expertise, motivation and passion to learn in a talent domain or academic area.


Identifying Students for Gifted, Creative and Talented Minds

Gifted Identification Process

  • In grade 1 all students will take the CogAT (Cognitive Ability Test).
  • In grades 1 and 2 all students will take part in the 4 part PETS (Primary Education Thinking Skills) assessment.
  • In grades 1 and 2 all students will take the FAST assessment.
  • In grade 2 all students will take Math and Reading Students Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests.
  • All achievement data is collected.
  • Parent and teacher input are requested.
  • Test results and input is received and reviewed.
  • Those scoring in the 98th and 99th percentiles will be identified as a gifted learner.
  • Communication to families will be sent Spring of 2nd grade year.

Gifted Identification after Grade 2

  • In grade 4 all students will once again take the CogAT (Cognitive Ability Test).
  • In grades 3-5 all students will take Fall Math and Reading Students Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests.
  • In grades 3-5 all students will take MCA.
  • All achievement data is collected.
  • Parent and teacher input are requested.
  • Test results and input is received and reviewed.
  • Those scoring in the 98th and 99th percentiles will be identified as a gifted learner.
  • Communication to families will be sent out Spring of 4th grade year.

Talented Identification Process

How does Mahtomedi identify talented learners for Levels of Service? Students are identified if they need to receive advanced math or language arts instruction based on district Aptitude and Achievement based criterion. 

Student Aptitude: Aptitude assessments indicate a student’s potential to learn new material in a specific subject, the content of which typically has not been taught in school. Aptitude assessments can be general or subject-specific.  Our district seeks to identify for Level III and IV services, students that consistency score at or above the 95 percentile on:

  • NWEA MAP assessments in 2-8 grades: Our district seeks to identify for Level III and IV services, students that consistency score at or above the 95 percentile
  • Standards based assessments: Our district seeks to identify for Level III and IV services, students that score in the 85% or higher on standards not yet taught.

Student Achievement: Achievement assessments represent the degree to which students have learned specific subject matter content as reflected by the items and norms on the achievement test.

  • MCA assessments starting in 3rd grade: Our district seeks to identify for Level III and IV services, students that consistency score at an Exceeds level at or above the 90 percentile
  • Standards based assessments: Assessments should reflect that student is consistently at or above the 97% in current classroom performance.
  • Student work samples: Work samples such as a writing sample are scored on a rubric provided to students prior to collecting work sample.

Services

Level I and II Services are provided to all students in Mahtomedi School District

Level III and Level IV Services are provided to identified Gifted and Talented Learners based on the criteria stated below:

Math in the Elementary Schools:
Mahtomedi uses the above listed a
ptitude and achievement measures to determine placement in math. Students that meet criteria will join a class that has been subject-accelerated in math. For example, in math, some of our students may be in third grade but studying fourth grade math standards with a third grade teacher. Other students better fit the criteria to study in a faster-paced, compacted class that focuses on the grade level standards that match their grade. A very few students will need to go to another grade level to receive instruction.


Reading in the Elementary Schools:

Mahtomedi uses the above listed aptitude and achievement measures to determine placement in reading. Students that meet criteria in grades 4-5 will be placed together for literacy class.  Students in grades K-3 will receive literacy instruction from classroom teacher. Grade K, 1, and 2 students can receive pull-out services with GCT Coordinator. Students in grade 3 can work with the GT teacher at OH if services beyond classroom instruction are needed.

Placements are reviewed quarterly to make sure that students are still in a class that best meets their needs.

In the Middle School:
Mahtomedi uses the above listed a
ptitude and achievement measures in the middle school to identify students for Honors English or advanced math placement. As in elementary, some students will need to go to another grade level to receive their instruction. There is also regular reviews to make sure that students are placed in courses that best meet their needs.

Middle School Accelerated Science: 

Students participating in Accelerated Science need to be strong in Science, Math and English Language Arts. Students need to score at or above the 95 percentile in the following three areas: Science MCA, Reading MAP and/or MCA and Math MAP and/or MCA. Accelerated Science students should be comfortable with rigorous content coverage, accelerated paced learning both in and out of the classroom and independent learning experiences.

In High School:
Students can self-select classes that will meet their goals. To enroll in advanced options like AP, CIS or PSEO courses, students must satisfy all of the pre-requisites courses and any other requirements expected by the instructor or the college.

 

Further Understandings

What is differentiation? Differentiation is a set of teaching strategies that help teachers respond to the learning differences in their students. Differentiation is being aware of how we teach and being knowledgeable about how our students learn so that students can reach their learning goals. In the elementary schools, one way differentiation looks is through the use of flexible grouping in reading and math. A student’s skill level is frequently assessed and then instruction is designed to best match that skill level. The middle school matches instruction to students through the use of honors English and Math courses while the high school offers many choices of Advanced Placement (AP) courses and College in the Schools (CIS) courses. This is one form of differentiation.

What opportunities are there for enrichment? Another effective way to help meet the needs of gifted, creative and talented students is through enrichment. Each school offers unique opportunities for students to extend their learning. From chess clubs to LEGO Leagues to Science Bowl and MathCounts, opportunities are plentiful. Another amazing resource for opportunities is Mahtomedi Community Education. Check out their catalog of intriguing options.

What is acceleration and how does it help gifted and talented students? There are many forms of acceleration but the basic premise is moving highly qualified students ahead of their traditional grade in either one or more school subjects, or, on much rarer occasions, a whole grade. Students need to meet criteria for acceleration.


More Information

How do I get more information? Contact Jen Israel, Coordinator of Gifted Creative and Talented Services and Programs at 651-407-2319 or jennifer.israel@isd832.net


Contact: Jen Israel