The need for a pullout elementary ACE program in District 181 would be eliminated with the implementation of higher-level curriculum in every general education classroom, according to a presentation by the district’s Advanced Learning Task Force Monday night.
The task force’s proposal, presented during the board of education's meeting at Elm School, plotted out ways to increase math and English language arts standards for all grade levels while emphasizing ACE components such as higher-level thinking skills, hands-on activities, increased research and increased rigor in all elementary classrooms, as well as at the district's middle schools.
READ: Exclusive Middle School ACE Program Phased Out Under D181 Proposal
By doing so, the district will provide an elementary ACE experience to advanced learners every day while keeping them in their general education classrooms, task force member and Monroe School differentiation specialist Penny Davey said.
“This is ... not a one-day-a-week solution,” Davey said, referring to the old ACE pullout program that bussed advanced learners to Monroe each Wednesday, “but working towards a 100-percent-of-the-time solution.”
This school year, the one-day-per-week pullout program for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade ACE students was reduced to a half-day-per-week program for fourth- and fifth-graders who had previously been placed into the exclusive ACE program.
This year’s third-graders were not a part of the pullout ACE program, and there will be no pullout component for any elementary students next year.
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Current fourth-grade ACE students, who were identified for the exclusive pullout program as third-graders, will receive individual learning plans this spring for their fifth-grade year in 2013-14 that will be managed by the differentiation specialists (formerly known as gifted specialists) at each District 181 elementary school.
“The differentiation specialists will work with the fifth-grade teachers to implement that plan,” Davey said.
Hinsdale Middle School differentiation specialist Danielle Scacco said the proposal aims to address the opinion of gifted consultant Tonya Moon that District 181’s pullout ACE program provided advanced learners a part-time solution to a full-time need.
“We really tried to keep in mind, how can we offer a full-time solution to a full-time need?” Scacco said.
While focused on serving many advanced learners through an increasingly rigorous and differentiated general education setting, the Advanced Learning Task Force addressed those students who, even with the rising standards, will be “far beyond” the district’s advanced learning expectations.
“We recognize that there are students that go beyond advanced learning goals,” Scacco said. “We will be using individual problem solving process to create service plans.”
Those plans would include services such as compacting curriculum, one-on-one support, and subject or grade-level acceleration.
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There are plenty of ways to keep up on local news:
- Exclusive Middle School ACE Program Phased Out Under D181 Proposal
- Former D181 Admin on Transition Year: 'Our Children Deserve Better Than This'
- D181 Philosophy Statement Posted for Public Review
- D181 Board Member Does Not Make Motion to Eliminate ACE Program
- D181 Board OKs Elementary ACE Transition Plan
- D181 Changes Course on ACE Program Transition Plan