Elementary Advanced Learning Programs

Our District employs a full-time advanced learning (AL) specialist at every elementary school. The Advanced Learning Coordinator leads the Wings and Independent Investigations programs in addition to team-teaching and serving as a resource for regular classroom teachers.

Advanced Learning offers the following programs and services to elementary students and teachers.

Advanced Learning Enrichment Programs

Wings (1-5)

Wings is designed to provide differentiated experiences for intellectually gifted students in grades 1-5. Small groups of identified students meet once a week. The interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on creative and critical thinking and 21st century skills. Wings also provides a safe environment where students feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas.

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Target Population

Intellectually Gifted. Gifted students with IQ nearly two standards above the norm.

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Program Goal

Engage, challenge and connect gifted learners. Provide multidisciplinary enrichment to ensure higher-order thinking development. Support unique social and emotional need through meaningful work with intellectual peers.

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Program Structure

Pull-out. Small Group pull out for 60 minutes, once per week.

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Identification

Standardized assessment data; teacher and parent input. Weighted metric combines multiple data points - CogAT, WISC-V, KBIT2 or other reasoning aptitude assessment (130+ or 98%I) NWEA or MCA achievement scores; teacher and parent rating scales.

Investigations

Minnetonka also offers academic enrichment services to any student with specific talents and/or interests. Advanced Learning paraprofessionals, under the supervision of AL staff, run this portion of the programming. Students participate in Independent Investigations, an enrichment program designed to provide opportunities for students to investigate a special area of interest. Students develop a project and share their findings.

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Target Population

Academically advanced and/or intellectually gifted. K-3 students with advanced reading and writing skills. Driven to learn; curious.

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Program Goal

Stretch skills of advanced readers/writers K-3. Provide advanced readers/writers the opportunity to investigate a topic of personal interest. Apply language skills for the real-world purpose of teaching others.

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Program Structure

Pull-out and classroom-based. One time per week; 45-60 minutes for 8 weeks - led by trained paraprofessional. Once research skills are learned, classroom teachers extend content-area learning through investigation process.

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Identification

Classroom teacher recommendation. Classroom performance is primary indicator; standardized assessments may play a role.

Enrichment programming

Enrichment programming is available to all teachers and students. Critical and creative thinking skills may be taught by the Advanced Learning Coordinator in the mainstream classroom, and enrichment materials may be supplied to classroom teachers for further use with students.

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Target Population

Academically Advanced. Significantly advanced in math and/or reading in grades 1-5.

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Program Goal

Provide additional challenge for significantly advanced students. Classroom differentiation alone may not ensure growth for students with extreme levels of achievement.

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Program Structure

Pull-out. 30-4 minutes per week - led by licensed teacher.

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Identification

Standardized assessment data. Math - Historical NWEA data in 98-99 percentile. Reading - Historical NWEA data in 98-99 percentile and/or advanced reading level as measured by leveled passages.

Accelerated math

Beginning in fourth grade, students who demonstrate high performance in math (based on NWEA Tests) may join an accelerated math class, which completes the fourth, fifth and sixth grade math curriculum during fourth and fifth grade.

Accelerated reading

Advanced reading opportunities are also available to students who demonstrate high performance in reading (based on NWEA Tests). Students may participate in Literature Circles including Jr. Great Books and The Classics. Literature circles provide individualized reading support and opportunities for students to read above their grade level and discuss projects. This is provided as part of Level 3 services.

World language

We offer a language immersion option beginning in kindergarten at each neighborhood elementary school. Four schools offer Spanish and two schools offer Chinese. In an Immersion classroom, teachers provide all instruction in the target language; direct instruction in English begins in third grade. If learning a second language during elementary school is an important value for your family, consider enrollment in language immersion. For more information, visit our Immersion page.

Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities include Continental Math League, Young Scientists, Destination ImagiNation and Imagination Fair. For a complete list of extracurricular activities, visit our Activities page.

Navigator program

The Navigator Program is for exceptionally gifted students in grades 2-5. It serves a small, very unique group of learners with IQs of 145 and above. These students demonstrate high levels of:

  • Focus in interest areas (long attention span for age)
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Intensity
  • Big-picture thinking
     
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Target Population

Intellectually gifted. Highly gifted students with IQ nearly three standard deviations above the norm.

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Program Goal

Ensure optimal growth for the highly gifted child. A specialized curriculum and highly trained teachers support the intellectual, academic, social and emotional development of uniquely able learners.

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Program Structure

Full-day classroom setting. Instructional design is learner-driven and personalized. Small group instruction, projects, inquiry and collaborative learning strategies challenge and engage.

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Identification

Standardized assessment data and performance data. WISC-V Full Scale IQ (FSIQ) or General Abilities Index (GAI) of 140 or above; strong performance in Navigator Simulation and other supporting data as needed.

Identification for services

Advanced Learning students are identified for service in grades 1-6 through an ongoing, multi-dimensional screening process, including teacher observation, parent input, student input, classroom performance, and standardized test information. To qualify for Wings, students typically have NWEA achievement scores at or above the 95th percentile and must also score at or above the 98th percentile on an age-normative cognitive abilities (IQ) test. Parents/guardians who have questions or concerns about their child and services should contact their child's classroom teacher, school Advanced Learning Coordinator or contact Diane Rundquist, Director of Advanced Learner Programs at 952-401-5100.

Contact

Diane Rundquist
Director of Advanced Learning
diane.rundquist@minnetonkaschools.org
952-401-5100


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