Accelerated Learning Program for Students (ALPS)

Definition of Accelerated Learners

Accelerated learners are students who demonstrate high ability, motivation, and creativity. These students display the interaction of the three interlocking clusters of traits that is the necessary ingredient for original and productive student accomplishment (adapted from Renzulli and Reis, The Three Ring Conception of Giftedness).

Program Goals

The program will provide a wide variety of interdisciplinary and integrated educational opportunities and services to students exhibiting the interaction of the three clusters of high ability, motivation, and creativity. Individual schools in alignment with the district plan will determine the type and extent of these services. The goals of these opportunities and services are:

  • To support instruction in the district schools through the development of topical thematic units and the analysis of a wide variety of literary genres related to grade level concepts
  • To engage in advanced process skills such as reading, writing, thinking, speaking, math problem-solving, and executing research to create a variety of high quality products reflecting the multiple intelligences of students
  • To develop competence in the social studies disciplines of history, geography, sociology, archaeology, and philosophy through the use of process skills
  • To stimulate the exploration of science knowledge and to nurture the use of the scientific method as a lifelong learning skill
  • To foster the acquisition and appropriate and frequent use of complex vocabulary in written and oral expression
  • To demonstrate competence in writing for a variety of authentic purposes
  • To provide information and support that encourages the pursuit and development of individual interests and talents outside of the academic setting

Learn more about student identification and the clusters.

ALPS units are designed to be higher-level enrichments units.

ALPS Program FAQ

What is the goal of the Accelerated Learning Program for Students (ALPS) program?

The goal of ALPS is to provide a wide variety of interdisciplinary and integrated educational opportunities and services to accelerated learners (students who demonstrate high ability, motivation, and creativity).

How are students identified for ALPS?

In grades 2-5, a district-wide matrix for ALPS identification which assigns weighted point values for each child's cognitive ability and achievement, as well as teacher recommendations. Students who qualify for ALPS will demonstrate a cognitive ability score of 120 or higher (one standard deviation above the norm on the CogAt test administered to all students in spring of 1st grade and fall of 5th grade) and score in the top 80% of local achievement tests. This demonstrates a need for differentiation beyond that of the normal grade level curriculum.

When are students identified for ALPS?

Beginning of second grade, students are identified for ALPS placement throughout the school year. In the fall, 2nd grade students and students new to the district may be tested for ALPS after NWEA MAP Reading results are reviewed. In the spring, ALPS teachers will consider teacher recommendations, as well as recent test scores, to identify students for participation in ALPS for the following school year.

What is the process of ALPS identification?

ALPS teachers will complete a review of a recommended student’s previous testing scores, such as CogAt, NWEA MAP Reading, SAGES, and other assessments. If the student’s scores suggest they may qualify for ALPS, further testing, such as the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, a cognitive abilities test, and additional achievement tests may be administered. Teachers will be asked to complete a recommendation questionnaire, which will be added to their file as a reference for placement. If a student completes the testing and qualifies for ALPS, the student will join the ALPS class in the fall semester.

If a student doesn’t qualify, will they have a chance to qualify later?

Yes, if a student doesn’t qualify at one time that does not mean they will never participate in ALPS. ALPS teachers continually look at scores of all students, in order to ensure that all students receive the services for which they demonstrate need.

Once a student qualifies for ALPS, will they participate every year?

Most likely, once a student qualifies for ALPS, they will remain in the program through fifth grade. If a teacher is concerned about his/her participation in ALPS, or if the teacher feels it is affecting the student’s ability to keep up with classroom work, it is recommended that the classroom teacher discuss any concerns/issues with the ALPS teacher and the student’s parents. It may be appropriate to give the student a break from ALPS or reassess his/her participation if he/she cannot keep up with the classroom work.

How are schedules for ALPS created?

ALPS scheduling is coordinated by the ALPS teacher, with the best interests of the student in mind. Schedules are based on a common time that students from each grade can meet together for the allotted time each week, as well as first grade P.E.T.S. schedules. Every effort will be made to accommodate a grade level’s requested time, but it is not always possible. Per district policy, students MAY NOT miss the following classes: specials, direct reading instruction (this does not include language arts or independent reading work), and math instruction.

Classroom teachers are requested to remember their ALPS students’ best interests by refraining from scheduling classroom activities during ALPS time that cannot be duplicated at home by the ALPS students. Please consult the ALPS teacher with any questions you have.

How often do students attend ALPS?

In an effort to align ALPS across the district, new contact times for ALPS have been set at both schools. ALPS students in 2nd grade will attend ALPS three times a week for 40 minute periods (a total of 120 minutes). ALPS students in 3-5 will attend ALPS four times a week for 40 minute periods (a total of 160 minutes per week).

What is the attendance policy for ALPS?

Students are expected to attend every ALPS class that occurs when they are in attendance in school. If there is a school-wide event (such as parties or testing) or a classroom field trip, ALPS may be canceled or specific students may miss class that day. In other situations, ALPS students must attend class, unless their classroom teacher has made a specific arrangement with the ALPS teacher before class time.

Are ALPS students required to make up work they missed while at ALPS?

Classroom teachers strive to accommodate ALPS participation by establishing reasonable policies regarding homeroom work missed while students are at ALPS class. Teachers are requested to note that their students are completing additional work in the ALPS classroom while they are out of class, so it may be appropriate / necessary to perform pre-assessments, compact the curriculum, or create an alternative assignment, rather than requiring students to complete work that may not be necessary, especially if the student already displays knowledge of the content missed.

What is the core curriculum for the ALPS Program?

ALPS units are designed to be higher-level enrichments units.

Is there a math ALPS class?

No. The ALPS teachers have a math enrichment class once a week for 1st grade students and once a week for 2nd grade students who are excelling beyond the basic math concepts currently being taught in their homerooms. The math enrichment groups may be flexible throughout the year. Math enrichment is offered in 1st and 2nd grades only as math ability grouping begins in 3rd grade.