Transition 101 January 2019

6th Grade Transitional Information

It's the Last Semester of Elementary School!

2019 is finally here! This semester will be filled with many fun and exciting events as you complete your 6th grade year. One important activity that is about the begin, is the selection of courses for 7th grade. Even though you do not begin to pick your courses until February, it is important that you start thinking about what courses you would like to take in junior high. This month's transitional newsletter will focus on information that can help to make picking courses much easier. Please don't forget that your elementary and future junior high counselors are an important part of the courses selection process and are here to help you.

January 6th Grade Visits to Junior High Campuses

During the month of January, 6th grade students have the opportunity to visit the junior high campus in their elementary attendance area. We know that many of our 6th graders may be applying to a magnet junior high and would like to also visit there but for our 6th grade visits, students will attend the junior high campus that their elementary school would normally attend.

During their visits, students will get to learn more about the junior high experience. They will meet some teachers and students, visit classes, experience a passing period, visit the lunchroom, and learn more about AVID and other elective courses that are found at the junior high campus. When students leave the junior high and return to their elementary campus, we want them to feel more prepared for their transition to 7th grade next year.

Please reach out to your elementary counselor if you would like to know which day your child will be visiting their elementary feeder junior high campus.

What are Pre-Advanced Placement or Pre-AP Courses?

Pre-AP stands for Pre-Advanced Placement. Pre-AP courses offer challenging and motivating coursework that prepare students for AP (Advanced Placement), Dallas County Community College Dual Credit and The University of Texas OnRamps Dual Enrollment courses at the high school level. Students enrolled in Pre-AP are expected to be hard working and willing to go the extra mile to take on more rigorous academic courses. Pre-AP courses offered in junior high include Spanish, Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, and some Art courses. All students are eligible to enroll in Pre-AP coursework.

How do you know if Pre-AP is best for your student? Consider interest, past performance in that subject area, future goals, and other time commitments. These factors can help to determine appropriate course load. Students can take as many of as few Pre-AP courses as desired.

Secondary Gifted and Talented Services

Secondary GT Services

Junior high students who qualify through testing are eligible to take part in a number of services for gifted and talented students. At the secondary level, gifted students are served through their core classes as well as an elective offering.

The goals of Secondary GT Services are to provide learning opportunities that serve the whole gifted child, academically as well as socially and emotionally. Each GT teacher receives specialized training in the unique need and nature of gifted students as well as professional development in gifted curriculum design.

How are GT courses different from Pre-AP courses?

GT courses are Pre-AP courses and cover the same content and standards as non-GT Pre-AP courses. The difference is in how the content is delivered. Research shows that when GT students are intentionally placed together, their learning outcomes and mental health improve. Because GT students are often able to accelerate and because they think in different ways from their peers, teachers are able provide the curriculum in a way that both broadens and deepens student learning through specialized experiences, projects, debates, and discussions as well as the use of gifted curriculum supplements.

What is GT “Humanities”?

GT Humanities is a combination of two courses, GT/Pre-AP English and GT/Pre-AP History. Humanities allows for an integration of English, Language Arts and Reading with your student’s history course. These courses adhere to state standards but are planned and taught in such a way that students can understand how literature and history connect to one another. In addition to gaining knowledge and skills about reading, writing, and social studies, student are also able to make inquiries into the realms of art, music, religion, ethics and other areas of the liberal arts. Course materials are selected to be at a level which meets the needs of advanced learners.

What is GT Investigations?

Investigations is an elective offered exclusively to GT students at the junior high level. Students engage in research and projects that are of interest with teacher guidance while also taking time to reflect on their passions, goals, and areas of talent they would like to develop.

My child was identified as gifted but doesn’t like to read/isn’t motivated/struggles in school. Should they take gifted classes?

Our teachers understand that not all students who qualify for gifted services are high achievers. Teachers are willing and able to meet your child where they are in order to unlock their full potential and to teach them the skills they need to be successful in GT classes and in other areas of their lives.

My child was identified to receive gifted services but she also wants to be in AVID. Is this allowed?

The transition to junior high from elementary school can be a difficult shift, especially for high ability students. Just like their peers, students who qualify for gifted services can struggle with study skills, organization, motivation, and establishing a sense of belonging. For this reason, Secondary GT Services encourages interested parents of qualified students, especially those recently identified for gifted services, or those who will be the first in their family to attend college, to explore AVID as an elective option. AVID can provide valuable supports for gifted students in the areas of academic skill-building, positive self-image, dealing with stress created by new environments and high secondary expectations, as well as providing a safe space where students feel at home in addition to their GT classes. Both AVID and Secondary GT have as their main goal the creation of a rigorous learning environment where students are empowered to meet their full potential. If you have any questions about the AVID referral process, contact your junior high campus’ counseling office or the campus AVID coordinator. If you have questions about how AVID can complement your child’s gifted education, please contact our Advanced Academics Specialist, Clint Rodriguez at 469.593.0784.

College and Career Readiness Office