Highly Capable Services at the Kindergarten and First Grade level are provided in the regular classroom at the neighborhood school. Classroom teachers meet students’ instructional needs in the classroom based on the student’s skill level and needs within the content areas being taught – English Language Arts, Math, etc. Services at the First Grade level are known as Holistic Highly Capable Services. The cornerstone of Holistic Highly Capable Services is “differentiated instruction.”
What is “Differentiated Instruction”?
Differentiated instruction is defined as a way of teaching in which teachers anticipate and respond to a variety of student needs in the classroom. To meet students’ needs, teachers may differentiate by modifying one or more of the following:
Content (what is being taught)
Process (how it is taught)
Product (how students demonstrate their learning)
In a differentiated classroom, the teacher is constantly doing quick, formative assessments to determine the on-going needs of students and where the instruction might be modified to ensure student learning is happening. The instruction that is developed as a response to assessment will look different depending on student need.
When possible, a classroom teacher may choose to group students who demonstrate advanced learner needs together for instructional purposes in a given content area. Differentiation can be structured in a variety of ways including:
How Can Differentiated Instruction Meet the Needs of Students Receiving Holistic Highly Capable Services?
For Holistic students, differentiated instruction is typically designed to accelerate and enrich the content taught (English Language Arts, Math, etc.). The classroom teacher pre-assesses students to determine their skill level and needs before they dive into teaching particular content areas.
This model allows the Holistic student to receive services while participating with other students within their neighborhood school community.
The concept of “Differentiated Instruction” allows for students to have their needs met, regardless of what their needs are. Children are different and often times their needs are different as well. So, students identified as Highly Capable who are participating in a general education classroom likely will have some modifications in the content, process, or product of their learning that could look different from what other students are doing.
First Grade teachers plan and facilitate lessons using Northshore’s First Grade curriculum. At any time, professional judgment can be used to access and/or construct lessons or materials to meet the needs of a diverse learning community that includes Holistic students.
In the spring of First Grade, Holistic Highly Capable students are re-assessed. The purpose of this assessment is to identify whether the student continues to qualify for Highly Capable services. If the student qualifies, their particular content area of advanced learning needs in Math, Reading, or Math and Reading will be identified. As a result of the content identification, a program model is determined and offered to the family.