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High Ability Program

Southeast Dubois County School Corporation High Ability Program Handbook

Updated: Fall 2021

Mission Statement for High Ability Program

This school corporation recognizes that some students perform at, or show the potential to perform at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in the core academic areas of language arts and mathematics. These students are found in all socio-economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, and this school corporation recognizes the need to identify such students through systematic, on-going procedures. The high ability program provides a supportive learning climate that will enrich learning so students can maximize academic potential and develop emotionally and socially in order to be contributing members of society.

(as stated by the Indiana Department of Education)


Definition of High Ability Student

A student with high ability is one who: performs at, or shows potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one domain when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment;

and is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests.

(as defined by the Indiana Department of Education)


Services for High Ability Students

Elementary (Kindergarten-4th grade)

Differentiation for identified students will take place within the classroom.  The student's classroom teacher will provide differentiated educational experiences to challenge your child in the assigned curricular area.  The goal is to incorporate many activities into their daily classroom lessons.  Our corporation high ability instructor will be available to our identified students and their classroom teachers to help plan and implement the differentiated instruction.  It is our intent to extend and enrich the curriculum through units of study, games, and activities to incorporate higher levels of thinking.    


Intermediate (5th-6th grade)      

Identified students meet for roughly 70 minutes per week in language arts and/or 70 minutes in math. Language Arts groups take advantage of the activities provided by the State. Literature groups, poetry, and grammar are also a few of the curriculum topics studied. Students take part in higher level questioning, critical thinking, and challenging comprehension strategies.

Identified students take part in a variety of challenging mathematical activities and skills in addition to their regular grade level math class.  The focus is to be exposed to standards normally taught in the upcoming grade level. Students learn a variety of math skills and lessons including algebra, geometry, critical thinking, and problem solving. Students use higher level thinking strategies to complete mathematical activities and lessons.


Junior High (7th-8th grade)

Students who are high ability in English Language Arts are placed into Advanced Reading.  Students are identified as high ability in math in 6th grade and begin completing 7th grade math standards.  Seventh grade students enroll in Pre-Algebra while mastering additional 7th grade math standards.  Eighth grade students take Algebra I for high school credit.  This Algebra I class is included in their high school GPA.


High School (9th-12th grade)

Students who are identified as having high ability are encouraged to take honors courses and Advanced Placement and dual credit courses.  Forest Park offers 24 dual credit courses and three Advanced Placement courses.  Students are also encouraged to take additional dual credit options through shared programs.  


Students who participated in high ability math in junior high will take Algebra II as freshmen, Geometry as sophomores, and Pre-Calculus as juniors.  Students will then have an opportunity to take AP Calculus their senior year. 


Forest Park offers Advanced English for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who are identified as high ability. 


Multifaceted ID Plan Components

Elementary (Kindergarten-4th grade)

Students in kindergarten and second grade are identified through CogAT testing, PIVOT data, classroom performance and teacher recommendation.

Kindergarten CogAT tests are administered in November, and students are placed in the beginning of the second semester.  Second grade students are tested in March and are placed in the fall of their third grade year.


Intermediate (5th-6th grade)

Students are identified at the beginning of sixth grade based on the CogAT,  ILearn data, NWEA data, classroom performance and teacher recommendation. Sixth grade teachers revisit the CogAT data, use fifth grade ISTEP+ scores, classroom performance and teacher recommendation.


Junior High (7th-8th grade)

All students are given the CogAT during November of their 7th grade school year. These results, along with ISTEP+ scores, STAR Reader results, and teacher recommendation are used to re-identify high ability students before eighth grade.


High School (9th-12th grade)

Students who have been identified in junior high will keep their High Ability designation and receive advanced programming in high school.



Appeals Procedure

An appeal process is in place in the event the identification team does not place a child in services and a teacher, parent, or other person close to the child challenges this decision. The following steps clarify the appeal process:

  1. The petitioner contacts the building-level high ability coordinator who provides an appeal request form. (In the event a petitioner first contacts the building administrator, the administrator will forward the petition to the high ability coordinator.)

  2. Appeal request form is completed and delivered to building-level high ability coordinator.

  3. Coordinator reviews student profile and may request alternative assessments which include:

    1. Approved classroom work samples

    2. Retaking the CogAT (at the expense of the petitioner)

  4. Identification team (Corporation Coordinator, Building-level Coordinator, Principal, and Classroom Teacher) reconvenes to consider new data. This meeting may include an interview with the student and/or petitioners.

  5. Building-level coordinator reports results to petitioner.



Exit Procedure

If a student, parent, or teacher believes a high ability placement for services is no longer appropriate, he or she may:

  1. Arrange a conference with the parties involved, including the parent and the teacher providing services. This conference may be a telephone conference, or an email/letter to the parent.

  2. Parent, student, and teacher examine issues of concern and discuss interventions that may be implemented.

  3. Participants agree on a probationary period (4-5 weeks) to implement interventions.

  4. At the end of the probationary period, the parent, student, and teacher meet to review progress and determine whether or not the student should exit services.

  5. If an exit is deemed appropriate, the parent signs permission to “de-flag” student for high ability placement and services.

  6. Parent permission for exit and documentation of meetings/interventions are sent to the high ability coordinator.

  7. High ability coordinator removes high ability flag for student in database.



New Student Policy

In the event a student moves into the Southeast Dubois Corporation and is identified as high ability by the classroom teacher, he or she will consult the building-level coordinator and gather data, such as ability testing data from the new student’s previous school.  The identification team (Corporation Coordinator, Building-level Coordinator, Principal, and Classroom Teacher) will determine eligibility based on testing data and classroom performance.  When a determination is in question, the team may recommend an individual CogAT test.