Frequently Asked Questions:
1st Grade Cluster Model
Q: Is my child identified as Highly Capable/Gifted?
A: No, we use a “Growth to” model in 1st grade where we cluster together a wide net of students who have shown potential for unusual depth and ability to think abstractly into classrooms with teachers who receive some additional training in Highly Capable student characteristics, enrichment strategies, and teaching styles. The Highly Capable self-contained and neighborhood cluster programs that start in 2nd grade serve closer to 3% of the population while the 1st grade cluster pulls together the top 10% on cognitive screener measures.
Q: What does it mean for my child to be “clustered in 1st grade”?
A: Students who were recognized in Kindergarten through the CogAT screening process or teacher performance based assessment are grouped together with the same teacher in their neighborhood school. The teacher will receive professional development and will provide opportunities for enrichment. The main focus in 1st grade clusters is critical and creative thinking development. The amount of students in a cluster will vary by year dependent on the school population. These clusters exist within the general 1st grade classrooms. Often the work will look similar to the other 1st grade peers but 1st grade teachers are using differentiation strategies to vary the content, process, or product of the work to meet students where they are in their learning. We want 1st grade to be a year to solidify foundational skills while stretching creativity.
Q: How do I refer my child to be tested for the full Highly Capable identification?
A: All students in the 1st grade clusters will be automatically referred for testing in the winter. Teachers will fill out referrals for the students and parents will receive information from the school on how to fill out the parent referral form as well. Please see the district website under Highly Capable for information about the referral process and timelines.
Q: What are the options for Highly Capable services in 2nd-5th grade?
A: Students who are identified Highly Capable in both math and reading have the option of either 1) being clustered at their neighborhood school with other identified Highly Capable students within the general classroom with a teacher who receives some training on Highly Capable needs and strategies or 2) the self-contained PACE (Peninsula Accelerated Classroom Enrichment) program which is housed at Voyager or Minter Creek Elementary depending on your location. This program is an accelerated multi-age option in which Highly Capable students are placed in a class with other identified students to work above grade level when able.
Students who are identified as Highly Capable in one area for example, Accelerated in Math (AIM) or Accelerated in Reading (AIR), will be clustered in the neighborhood school with other students demonstrating similar strengths in a teacher’s class who has received training on Highly Capable needs and teaching methods. The student will receive a mixture of on grade level instruction and acceleration in class depending on his/her performance and needs.
Please see the Highly Capable Continuum chart on the district website to get a better understanding of our service models.
Q: Does the PSD Highly Capable program only serve the academic needs of the child?
A: No. Our teachers are trained to help meet the needs of the whole child, including social and emotional elements unique to the highly capable population.
If you have additional program questions, please contact email@example.com. If you have identification questions, please call (253) 530-1059.