Enviroment Scan

History of Alleghany County

Local and Relevant Context of Sparta School and Community

Community Context

  • Alleghany County, NC
  • Population: 10,939 (~2% decline in the last four years)
  • Loss of industrial factories and businesses (as a result of NAFTA) has led to declining local economy
  • 76.2% of adults have a high school diploma
  • 14.9% have a Bachelor's degree or higher
  • 20.9% of total population lives below the poverty line
  • Unemployment rate: 11.2%
  • 14% of residents are enrolled in government food stamps program
  • Alleghany County relies on agriculture (livestock, pumpkins, Christmas Trees, tobacco, and cabbage...)
  • Alleghany County Schools is the largest employer followed closely by Bottomley Evergreens
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Learning Context of Sparta School

  • Title I
  • Pre-K through 8th Grade
  • 559 students
  • 54%-Caucasian; 21% Hispanic; 25% African-American
  • 79% of students receive free/reduced lunch
  • 20% identified as EC
  • 5% are ELL
  • 18% identified as AIG
  • 100% highly qualified teachers
  • 41% have advanced degree
  • Support Staff: 20 Pre-K-2 full time teaching assistants, media specialist, part-time IT, part-time tutors, part-time speech/language assistant and office assistants

Target Group

Academically and Intellectually Gifted Students

  • 18% of total student population
  • Budget Restraints and Faculty Shifts cut full-time AIG teacher position
  • Sparta School has one AIG coordinator/ media specialist position
  • AIG requirements met by classroom teachers
  • Rarely exhibits a large amount of growth on EOG/EOC scores
  • Enrichment elective opportunities
  • Students are not receiving the services/instruction needed to meet maximum levels of growth and achievement

Characteristics of Academic and Intellectually Gifted Group and Implications for Learning

  • Uses advanced reasoning skills
  • Applies prior knowledge to problem solving
  • Understands abstract concepts
  • Excels in subjects ares
  • Enjoys learning

Action Plan

  • This course through Northwestern University named Gifted LearningLinks is a individualized Online course for Gifted Students
  • For Kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Design for the independent learner eager to pursue their passions and gain access to advanced subject matter
  • Students propose a topic of interest to them and are matched with a online mentor who has expertise in the field
  • Rigorous, academic courses that align with core standard in math, science, and language arts

The Successful Implementation of Gifted LearningLinks

  • Training for Teachers , AIG coordinator, Instructional Specialist
  • Cost Varies depending on how many students enrolled/discount for 5 or more students
  • Students may work independently or in small groups
  • Financial Aid available to families who qualified
  • Web Site ctd.northwestern.edu
  • Send information home with students to parents
  • Enroll students
  • Monitor progress of students
  • Initiation meetings with teachers, parents, and students to discuss progress, achievement levels and concerns
  • Year-End review (teachers and administrators): ability of Gifted Leaning Links to provide challenging and productive opportunities to gifted students Discuss financial constraints and possible changes, etc.

Professional Development

Training for Teachers to us Gifted Learning Link
Promote Gifted Learning Link to students and parents
Monthly meetings to review results and reviews of Gifted Learning Link


  • This Environmental Scan was a lot of work for a summer semester
  • Learned about NC Reports Card and Teacher Working Conditions Survey
  • Learned valuable information about Sparta Elementary School
  • I understand how important it is for every teacher and staff member to work together as a team for the benefit of our students.
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