November 17, 2014

Applying for the Discovery Program, Part 2: Current Teacher Ratings

This post is part of a three-part series on how to apply for the Elementary Discovery Program:

How To Work With Your School

Your current teacher has a unique and valuable insight into your student's current ability as a learner and his/her potential for success within the Elementary Discovery Program. We highly recommend requesting a meeting with your teacher and GT Coordinator to learn about all the available services for gifted and advanced learners at your neighborhood school. Most schools can support students who display giftedness in a single area. Typically, students in the Discovery Program display giftedness in more than one passion area and at or above grade level performance in all other areas.

Here are some helpful questions to ask when you meet:

1) How is my student doing in school? At your meeting, ask your teacher for their professional opinion of your student's progress in reading, writing, and math. Is your student working above grade level in more than one area? How are your student's learning needs currently being addressed by your teacher? How can you help support your student from home?

2) What data do we have for our student?  Review any assessments that your teacher has used with your student, such as the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) and the STAR Assessments in Early Literacy and Math. What are the learning goals for your student this year? How close is your student to meeting those goals so far? Ask for a copy of these assessments to include in your application.

3) What is the best learning environment for my student? Part of your teacher's role is to create a classroom that motivates and challenges students to learn. How well does your student interact with others in the class? Does your student display good habits? How does your student prefer to learn?

4) Is the Discovery Program a good fit? - Based on what you have discussed about your student, what services or curriculum modifications can compare to what is available from the Discovery Program? Would your teacher highly recommend your student to the Discovery Program and why or why not?

Your teacher has firsthand knowledge of how well your student is doing both academically and socially in the classroom and can greatly support your application. However, if your teacher does not provide a strong rating, don't despair - this will not automatically disqualify your student's Discovery Program application. The application review committee looks at the full body of evidence for your student, so make sure to provide clear examples and additional data to help support your application.

Next time: Applying for the Discovery Program, Part 3: Parent Rating

More Questions?

Have more questions about the Discovery Program and other programs and services for gifted and advanced students? Register for the fall "Gifted and Talented 101" seminar on October 19, 2016 with Natasha Straayer, DCSD Personalized Learning and get your questions answered.

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