Advanced & Challenge Academics
The Department of Teaching and Learning oversees Language Arts and Math advanced academic services for students in grades 3 through 8. Advanced Academic services include both Challenge and Advanced classes.
- The Advanced Academic Team does not subscribe to the outdated notion of giftedness. Rather, the team identifies students who NEED a different curriculum. With all the data, we answer the primary question: “Does this student NEED a different curriculum above and beyond the core curriculum including classroom differentiation?”
- The overarching goal is to match instruction with the students’ current levels of mastery in language arts and math.
- All students are screened every year, and in order to be culturally responsive, the team reviews the screening and identification process to assure it's equitable. Follow up procedures are in place to gather additional data when needed.
- Identification of students for Challenge and Advanced classes is accomplished using a team approach so no decisions are made in isolation.
May 2020 Update:
Due to recent events with COVID-19 and the “shelter in place” ruling by the Governor, the Woodland Advanced Academic Team has had many discussions about the identification process which is being greatly impacted. In our discussions, our team is dedicated to the following guiding principles:
- Answer the critical question for identification: “Does this student NEED a different curriculum above and beyond the core curriculum including classroom differentiation?”
- Follow an equitable process of identification using available evidence.
- Maintain program integrity and high expectations for all students in the program.
- Continue to have “on ramps” (student entrance into the program) and “off ramps” (student exit from the program) during the school year.
- Ensure that performance during remote learning will not prevent students from entering the advanced/challenge program: “do no harm”.
- Utilize 2-Step Identification Process to identify students (1) in the spring using available evidence with modifications to the matrices and, (2) in the fall when more evidence becomes available to place students.
- Continue using a team approach to identify students for advanced and challenge classes.
Overall, our goal is to closely adhere to previously established identification tools and processes as much as possible. This is the most equitable way to ensure we select the right students who will be successful in the program and will benefit from a different curriculum. We fully acknowledge that we have missing data such as Spring MAP Reading and Math, math performance assessments and current CogAT Ability scores. We are still collecting recommendations and feedback from staff and specialists to help make decisions. If we don’t have enough evidence that a student needs a different curriculum, he/she will not be placed in the advanced or challenge program. Please understand that this is not the end of the road. Once we return to face to face instruction, we will continue to collect evidence and make decisions. We know this is difficult, and we appreciate your patience and understanding of the teams of teachers who are dedicated to helping meet students’ academic needs.
This progression shows the pathway for regular, challenge and advanced math classes for Warren HS and Grayslake HS.