Advanced Learning News

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Advanced Learning in the Classroom: Reader's and Writer's Workshop

The Middleton-Cross Plains School District's choice of using a workshop format for reading and writing instruction offers excellent growth opportunities for advanced learners. Teachers typically get to know their students well through weekly one-on-one conferences and are then able to appropriately challenge their learners. At times, students take part in instructional strategy groups and book clubs where they are able to learn with academic peers. Students spend the bulk of their reading time engaged with content that is in their zone of proximal development and receive explicit instruction on how to comprehend these challenging texts and continue to grow. In writing, each genre includes specific writing skills that are easily vertically aligned to the next grade level should a student demonstrate mastery of their current grade level expectations. Furthermore, staff has been working with experts from Columbia University's Teachers' College to enhance their instructional knowledge of the workshop model to benefit all students. Our students benefit greatly from this model as it meets their unique needs and allows for unlimited advancement.

Math Acceleration: What is it all About?

For most students, math learning follows a gradual curve of ever-growing content and complexity in a predictable trajectory. Spending time developing a depth of knowledge around grade level skills is what is best for the majority of students to achieve proficiency and success. in mathematics. For the few students who have an uncommonly strong aptitude for math or extremely high level of achievement, accelerating a full grade level is the best way to meet their needs for appropriate instruction. Over several years, Advanced Learning Specialists and math teachers have evaluated the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District's criteria for advancement based on the success of the students in the program. Our criteria is currently under review as we have a new assessment protocol (STAR testing) we are working to analyze. This past year, students who scored 98 or 99 % on STAR were offered further aptitude and achievement testing to determine whether acceleration would be the best path for them. Among these highly capable students that were tested, a small percentage demonstrated a need that could not be met in the classroom with our robust math program and enrichment opportunities. As our criteria including STAR data is clarified this year, I will be updating this newsletter to keep families informed. Our annual math testing is completed in the spring so we can best plan for the following year. Only new students are tested in the fall.

Mrs. Emily Stousland

Advanced Learning Specialist

Sunset Ridge and Park Elementary Schools