About the Rogers Park Highly Gifted Program
The Anchorage School District supports the unique needs of highly gifted students by offering the Highly Gifted (HG) Program at Rogers Park Elementary School. Approximately 210 kindergarten through sixth grade students, nearly 40% of the school’s total population, share classrooms with their academic peers. To qualify, students must score in the 99th percentile for cognitive ability, the 98th percentile for achievement in math and reading, and in the 99th percentile on an IQ assessment.
The neighborhood elementary school IGNITE teacher administers ability and achievement tests to students during certain testing periods. Once a student qualifies for both ability and achievement, a school psychologist will administer an IQ test. Parents may get more information about the HG Program from the Liaison for the HG Program, Traci Caves at 742-4818 or by visiting the program web page at http://rogerspark.asdk12.org/hg/
HG program staff are trained in gifted education, enabling them to address a variety of gifted-related issues including perfectionism and underachievement. Our program is grounded in challenge, student engagement, differentiated learning and the social and emotional needs of highly gifted learners. We provide an environment where students consistently interact with their age mates who are also intellectual peers. Learning is developmentally appropriate, while offering acceleration tailored to the particular needs of a given classroom of students. Enriched activities and opportunities to extend beyond standard grade level skills and concepts are routine.
Our staff addresses the Social Emotional Learning Standards and the unique needs of gifted students by working with whole classes, small groups, and individuals. Literature and team-building initiatives are used to address topics such as building social skills, dealing with bullies, working cooperatively, being a dependable friend, and developing Habits of Mind.
Our Language Arts program centers on the reading/writing workshop model. The goal of the workshop model is to explicitly teach students strategies to become more skillful at comprehending and writing text at a high level. In math, students are grouped by ability and work through the Go Math curriculum at an accelerated pace. Algebra and Geometry classes are also offered as needed to advanced math students. Science kits, experiments, and science fair projects allow students the opportunity to be scientists rather than just read about science. Social studies projects and simulations offer both student involvement and enrichment. Other projects such as Mini-Society, National History Day or Create a Culture, provide opportunities for student choice and creativity. HG students also participate in health, P.E., music, and art classes. All Rogers Park students work on skills and projects using available technology.
Rogers Park HG Program is committed to developing a growth mindset school environment - a place where all students believe that with effort and perseverance, they can develop their intelligence and succeed. Dr. Carol Dweck, an educational researcher at Stanford University, has developed two belief systems about intelligence (fixed and growth), which have incredible implications for the success of individuals in all aspects of their lives.
Habits of Mind
The critical attribute of intelligent humans is to not only have information, but also know how to act on it. Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallik describe sixteen Habits of Mind that help people develop thinking skills and react appropriately in different situations. These habits are:
- Thinking interdependently
- Managing impulsivity
- Gathering data through all senses
- Listening with understanding and empathy
- Applying past knowledge to new situations
- Thinking flexibly
- Responding with wonderment and awe
- Thinking about thinking (meta-cognition
- Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
- Striving for accuracy
- Finding humor
- Questioning and posing problems
- Taking responsible risks
- Creating, imagining, innovating
- Remaining open to continuous learning
The HG program has adopted the instruction and use of these sixteen Habits of Mind with its students. When these habits are used, the results produced are more powerful and of higher quality than if these intellectual resources are not drawn upon. These provide a common vocabulary and an emphasis on habits that use the full spectrum of intellectual capabilities.
During students’ third grade school years, they will work with their classroom teacher to develop work that shares evidence of growth in selected Habits of Mind. Parents are invited to celebrate this growth at the end of the year and will have the opportunity to meet with the program liaison to discuss student progress.
Every year HG families will be contacted by the HG liaison regarding continuation of services in the HG program. Parents will have the option of meeting with the liaison and their child to update student progress. Students in our program receive a quarterly report card and hold conferences with classroom teachers along with other students.
HG Sixth Grade Rite of Passage Experiences
Rite of Passage Experiences (ROPE) is a required opportunity for HG students to use the skills, knowledge and Habits of Mind acquired during their time in the HG program. The focus of ROPES is on independent learning and connecting academics to real life experiences. The program goal is for students to demonstrate they can apply the Habits of Mind independently as self-directed learners ready for their middle school years.
A ROPE requires students to individually design and complete an in-depth project that involves a responsible risk and a personal challenge. This might be an investigation into an academic area, a potential career path, a form of art or craft, or a skill to be developed. The project is then narrowed to a specific topic that can be completed in one school year. After it has been discussed and approved by sixth grade teachers and parents, a display of posters gives the students opportunity to celebrate and publicly announce their commitment to each project. Students receive assistance in the selection of their coach or guide with whom they meet throughout the year, generally outside the school day.
In the spring, upon completion of their ROPE, students write reflective essays about themselves. In addition, they design a presentation of their learning that shares the journey of their project including successes, difficulties and problem solving strategies. Sixth graders then practice their presentation with a fifth grade audience who will provide feedback about each presentation. Additionally, ROPES coaches provide written evaluation of students.
During an individual appointment in May, each ROPES candidate presents the results of his/her project to a panel of three trained community members. Panelists first read a studentʼs essay and coach evaluation and then listen to the studentʼs presentation. The panelists work to foster a “grand conversation” with the student and provide them with detailed feedback.
Essential elements for success of ROPE are:
- The school staff, parents and community members serve as coaches for the students as they develop and complete projects.
- ROPE and Habits of Mind are an integral part of the HG instructional program.
- There is a high degree of parent, community, and business support.
- Scaffolding and safety nets assure student success.
Whole School Learning
Twice annually, Exploration courses offer Rogers Park students the opportunity to choose a high interest class taught by teachers, parents and community volunteers. Kitchen chemistry, American Sign Language, chess, downhill skiing, and computer projects are among those classes that are frequently offered. As well, teachers across the school team-teach within or across grade levels to perform plays, organize penny carnivals or put together exhibits of student work.
We provide opportunities for a broadened level of responsibility as students move up through the grades. Social responsibility is encouraged and expected as students take on community outreach projects including food and book drives, making sandwiches for local soup kitchens, knitting caps or blankets and raising money for organizations like Heifer International.
Need More Information?
If you have any questions related to the HG program, please feel free to contact Traci Caves at (907) 742-4818. More detailed information is available on our program web site at http://rogerspark.asdk12.org/hg/hgcurriculum