The ALERT Program

Jackson R2 School District

What is ALERT?

The Jackson R2 ALERT Program is for the identified gifted student. ALERT stands for Advanced Learning and Enrichment using Research and Technology. The program is based upon a commitment to develop the unique potential of each student by providing a differentiated learning environment that offers enrichment opportunities. The district’s program is not designed as an honor, reward or status symbol.

The ALERT Program is an educational intervention that is designed to meet the social, emotional, and cognitive needs of the district’s gifted students. As a result of offering differentiated curriculum and personalized support, gifted students will have the opportunity to achieve district goals at the level commensurate with their abilities.

ALERT Program Curriculum Framework

Our program goals involve not only acquiring, but also applying knowledge and skills in complex and advanced ways to meet identified students’ needs. After achieving these standards, program participants and graduates of the Jackson R2 School District will have the knowledge and skills essential to lead productive, fulfilling, and successful lives as they continue their education, enter the work force, and assume their civic responsibilities.

Goals to address in performance areas, students will

  • acquire the knowledge and skills to gather, analyze, and apply information and ideas.
  • acquire the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively within and beyond the classroom.
  • acquire the knowledge and skills to make decisions and act as responsible members of society.

Goals to address content areas, students will

  • acquire a solid foundation in the disciplines of communication arts, mathematics, science, technology, social studies, and the humanities.
  • operate at advanced levels within these disciplines.
  • apply knowledge of disciplines to produce work that reflects individuality and creativity and is advanced in relation to other students of similar age and experience.

High Achievers vs. Gifted Learners

Big picture

Screening and Referral for Individual Testing

Criteria for Students Entering or Presently in Grades 1 - 8

A. Screening and Referral

  1. Academic Ability Test: 90th% on Reading and Math on i-Ready or Advanced Level on ELA and Math MAP (Missouri Assessment Program)
  2. Parent/Teacher Referral: Parent/teacher referral with appropriate documentation verifying potential giftedness; 85th% on Reading and Math on i-Ready from teacher referral

B. Individual Evaluation and Selection Procedures

  • General Mental Ability: An individualized full-scale intelligence test score of 124 or above (95th%) on WISCV
  • Academic Ability Test: 95th% or above on i-Ready in ELA and Math or Advanced on MAP in ELA and Math
  • Creativity, Reasoning, or Problem-Solving Ability: 80th% or above on the Creativity Rating Scale
  • Documented Evidence of Exceptional Performance: For placement purposes this evidence may include student grades primarily being 3s and 4s; samples of student work; teacher observations/recommendations


Students previously eligible for the gifted program will remain in the program unless a decision, as described in the Special Circumstances section, is made for that student not to continue in the ALERT Program.

Special Circumstances

  1. A student, who has been placed in the program at an earlier grade, will remain eligible for the program at the next grade level unless a decision is made to discontinue the student in the program by the ALERT teacher, counselor, and building principal (building team). This ALERT “building team” can recommend discontinuing a student in the program if there is a concern about class grades, student interest or concerning student placement may be appealed to the district’s gifted education Advisory Board.
  2. Students new to the Jackson R2 School District will be screened by the building counselor for possible inclusion in the gifted program. If indicated, an intelligence test will be administered to determine that placement criteria.
  3. If the number of students screened for the program is greater than the number able to be served, the building team should rank-order the list of students for admittance into the program. This should be based upon scores achieved on placement criteria. Eligible students will be placed on a waiting list and admitted into the ALERT Program as spaces become available.

Transfer Student Policy

Students who transfer to a school with a state-assisted gifted program shall be placed in the receiving district’s program if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The student must previously have been placed in the original Missouri school’s state-assisted gifted program.
  2. The student meets or exceeds the criteria established by the receiving school for placement in its gifted program.
  3. The student and parents agree to such placement.
  4. The areas addressed by the two programs are similar, i.e. both are general academic programs; both are fine arts programs; or both are specific academic programs.

Curriculum Alignment

The ALERT Gifted Program curriculum encourages independent and self-directed learning and is designed to meet the academic and affective needs of students. Using an interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective, learning activities emphasize the higher level cognitive skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Incorporating a variety of approaches from experts in the field of education, the curriculum draws from the following major areas:


  • Students plan, create, and present verbal, visual and written information in order to share thoughts and ideas with others.


  • Students will gather, organize and apply learned information.


  • Students will develop the ability to sense a problem exists, define the problem, analyze the problem and solution interactions, and determine and assess possible solutions.


  • Students will practice reflective thinking focused on deciding what to do or believe, include supporting ideas with facts and/or logic, and explain relationships between concepts.


  • Students will develop the ability to work productively and independently as an individual; to be an active, positive and productive group member, and to demonstrate positive leadership skills.

ALERT Homework Policy

The following statements should serve as a guide for the classroom teacher:

  1. ALERT students should be held accountable only for tests and new concepts missed on an ALERT day.
  2. Each should be allowed two days to make up work deemed necessary for mastery of concept.
  3. Whenever possible, classroom teachers should give assignments to ALERT students a day in advance of ALERT day.

Program Objectives

The overall goal of the Jackson R2 ALERT Program is to provide a differentiated program, designed to meet the interests and the special needs of academically gifted students. To address these needs and interests the program will:

  • Challenge each student’s area of giftedness, providing enrichment whenever appropriate.
  • Provide opportunities for students to located and identify resources and develop basic research skills.
  • Address affective (social/emotional) needs and provide guidance for personal growth and development.
  • Allow students to design challenging independent studies based on established objectives:

- maximizing individual interests

- utilizing research from a large variety of resources

- creating a product

- presenting to a specified audience

- providing the opportunity for self and peer evaluation

  • Promote the reading of quality literature and vocabulary enhancement.
  • Develop skills in group interaction on service projects to assist school and community.
  • Offer activities that will utilize problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Encourage students to develop and utilize their creativity in all aspects of work.
  • Provide situations and scheduling tools to help students deal with time management challenges responsibly and develop self-discipline.
  • Develop a variety of communication skills.
  • Help students set and reach immediate and long-rang goals.
  • Encourage positive leadership development.
  • Develop efficient reading and study skills beyond the regular classroom instruction.
  • Provide opportunities for social interactions with students of similar ability.
  • Provide a broad familiarity with careers in the world and introduce and develop readiness skills.

ALERT Program Description: Grades 1 - 8


Students in first through fourth grade participate in a pull-out program of gifted services. The term “pull-out” simple means that students are pulled out of the regular classroom for 180 minute period of time (half-day) each week. These students are bused to East Elementary School to work with the gifted facilitator on individual and group projects designed to match program goals and curriculum.

Middle School

For fifth and sixth grade students, ALERT is a quarter class offering. Students can elect to take this class for one, two, three or all four quarters. Students will work with the gifted facilitator on individual or group projects that match the area of study which are designed to build on program goals and curriculum which were introduced in fifth grade. A variety of technological resources and skills will be implemented throughout the course curriculum and projects. Students will also complete individual or group book studies on topics which reinforce or build upon the topic of study for the quarter. Independent Studies are also developed that match an area of the student’s interest. These areas of interest include ACT preparation, computer programming, etc.

The middle school program focuses on small group or independent projects on a variety of cross-curricular topics and provides opportunities to develop diverse skills and meet the intellectual and affective needs of middle school students. The gifted facilitator also provides gifted resource services to building students and staff on a regular basis.

Junior High

Seventh and eighth graders are offered a semester long elective course for ALERT. This class will consist of a cross-curriculum setting that will promote creativity, innovation, and critical thinking exploration through various projects and activities. The course will incorporate all four core subjects.

Needs of Gifted Students

While all students share common personal, social, and educational needs, gifted students have certain needs which are intensified by their giftedness. A program for the gifted should attempt to meet these needs.


  • Self-understanding, acceptance and appreciation as gifted individuals
  • Assurance of understanding, acceptance and esteem from faculty and students not associated with the gifted program
  • Efficient and productive work habits, e.g. managing time, setting priorities, developing task commitment
  • Constructive ways to manage stress
  • Recognition and control of self-defeating behaviors


  • Communication with intellectual peers
  • Skill in constructive interaction with people of all ability levels
  • Confidence and judgment necessary for constructive leadership opportunities for developing leadership ability
  • Knowledge of ways to express social concerns and explore solutions to actual problems


  • Development of high-level thinking and problem solving skills
  • Exploration of varied fields of interest and areas of learning, new to the student
  • Discovery and development of special gifts and special interests
  • Development of creativity
  • Intellectual stimulation and challenge
  • Freedom to progress at the rate of which one is capable
  • Standards of performance commensurate with ability

The ALERT Program does not substitute or replace the excellent classroom instruction and enrichment already provided in the district. Instead, it provides additional options compatible with the needs, abilities, and interests of the gifted learners.

ALERT Advisory Board

Members of the ALERT Advisory Board are listed below along with their role.

Lauren Skelton, Gifted Teacher, East Elementary

Staci Beussink, Gifted Teacher, Jackson Middle School

Dr. Jessica Maxwell, Associate Superintendent

Erica Weadon, Director of Gifted Program, Elementary Principal

Kristen Gautier, Psychometric Examiner

Bryan Austin, Junior High Principal

Janelle Pope, Middle School Principal

Samantha Trankler, Elementary Principal

Shauna Criddle, Elementary Principal

Wendy McBryde, Middle School Teacher

Kerrie Middleton, Senior High Teacher

Cathy Strickland, Parent