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.

Minnetonka Advanced Learning Programs offers service to elementary students and teachers.

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.


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.

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.

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

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.


Diane Rundquist
Director of Advanced Learning

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