K-8 Grade Acceleration
Whole-grade acceleration is a curriculum intervention for capable students who show strong achievement in the classroom or exhibit potential to do advanced work. The process may be initiated at any time, but should be initiated no later than the first day of fourth quarter for the following fall grade acceleration. The grade acceleration procedures are designed to guide the process in determining if a student is a good candidate for this accommodation. There are several steps to the process.
To begin the process, the parent or guardian should fill out a Grade Acceleration Request Form. A parent, student or staff member can initiate grade acceleration; however, the parent or guardian must submit the request for the process to begin. Submitting the request form will start the process of collecting preliminary information about the student. This does not mean acceleration will necessarily occur. Parents may choose to return this form to the Gifted Specialist or to meet with the Acceleration Committee or Principal to present their request.
Parents are encouraged to include a letter of request with application. The letter should contain additional anecdotal information about the student to help the Acceleration Committee in determining appropriate placement. Parents may also submit the Parent Inventory for Finding Potential (PIP) with this application. Please contact the Gifted Education Specialist at your school for a copy.
The next step of the process is an initial screening. In this step, school staff will determine if there are accommodations in the classroom that can meet the child’s needs. At least two strategies should be tried. These strategies may include enrichment opportunities, pre-testing curriculum, small group investigation and/or independent study. Additionally, the Gifted Education Specialist will compile existing achievement and testing data to determine if grade acceleration should be considered.
If the process continues, a building-level Acceleration Committee will review the request for acceleration. The Acceleration Committee consists of the building Principal or Dean, Gifted Education Specialist, classroom teacher and other school personnel as deemed necessary by the Principal. The Acceleration Committee will also evaluate the existing data to determine if the student would qualify for further testing. Using the criteria outlined in the grade acceleration procedures, the committee will determine what additional information and/or assessments are needed to make a decision. The Gifted Education Specialist will coordinate this process.
Once the assessments are completed, the Acceleration Committee and the parents/guardians will meet to discuss a recommendation. The criteria outlined in the grade acceleration procedures will guide the committee’s decision.
If grade acceleration is recommended, a plan for the student will be developed and signed by the parent(s) and members of the Acceleration Committee. The desired outcome of grade acceleration is for a student to be more appropriately challenged while continuing to excel at his or her new grade level. Acceleration requires a partnership between the school district and families. Parents of highly gifted students should be aware that further accommodations, such as independent study, subject acceleration or out-of-school programming, may be necessary in future years. Educational plans should be re-evaluated yearly.
If grade acceleration is not recommended, plans for the current grade will be developed as needed. The classroom teacher and/or Gifted Education Specialist will continue to monitor the student’s progress.