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High Ability Program


The Duneland School Corporation is committed to identifying K-12th grade students for high ability (formerly known as gifted and talented) and providing them with educational opportunities to ensure they reach their highest level of academic achievement in core curricular and enrichment content. Duneland School Corporation recognizes that high ability students are found in all racial, ethnic, and economic subgroups.

District Definition of High Ability Student

The Indiana Department of Education requires school districts to identify high ability students, K-12, and provide them with the appropriately differentiated curriculum and instruction.  Per IC 20-10.1-5.1-2, the state defines high ability (gifted) students as “one who performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one domain when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment; and is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests.”

Duneland School Corporation identifies students as high ability in one of the following areas:  Math Only, Language Only or General Intellectual (both Language and Math). Once in Middle School students are also identified in Science.

High Ability Program Goals:

  • Implement an unbiased identification process based upon specific criteria using reliable and valid qualitative and quantitative testing measures to identify students in reading, math or both.
    • Administer Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)  to all students
    • Administer Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT) to all students in kindergarten, 2nd, 4th and 6th  grade 
    • Administer inView (CSI) to all 4th and 6th graders
    • Use Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) to gather input from teachers
  • Create a variety of program options that offer advanced content and differentiated instruction specifically designed to help students identified as high achievers maximize student growth.
    • Refer to the NAGC Curriculum rubric to develop a curriculum for high ability students
    • Refer to the state standards to support the high ability curriculum
  • Offer professional development opportunities for educators, so they can learn to recognize the characteristics of giftedness and how to meet the unique needs of high ability students.
    • Provide educators the opportunity to attend the Indiana Association for Gifted Conference in Indianapolis
    • Present and attend sessions at the  Duneland Learning Academy (internal professional development created by Duneland Educators for Duneland Educators
    • Circulate information about professional development opportunities available to all educators 
    • Share research-based articles, videos, webinars and literature focusing on the characteristics of high ability students
  • Provide families with information about high ability programs offered through the school corporation, universities, and other entities Inform families (guardians, parents, etc.) about high ability programs and provide resources about parenting a high ability child.
  • Provide differentiated support, services, and affective curriculum at each grade level K-12
  • MTSS -Utilizing Branching Minds tool (K-8) and Salesforce/Naviance (9-12) to monitor a variety of aspects pertaining to a student (academic, social, behavior, college/career, etc.)

    • Weekly Social Emotional Lessons

      • Second Step (K-8)

      • Advisory (9-12)

    • DESSA survey (K-12)

  • Interventions  geared toward specific need based on the results of the DESSA survey, PLC collaborative, student assistance team, academic & behavior data meetings

  • School Counselors are onsite in every building.

  • Establish a broad-based committee that includes stakeholders from a multitude of areas (parents, administrators, community members, teachers, specialist, and students).
    • Meet annually to review the aspects of the high ability program including identification and curriculum.
    • Modify the identification plan and the curriculum, when appropriate.
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of the high ability program.

Please click on the appropriate school level link on the left side of this webpage for more specific information about the identification process and program options for grades K-12. We have also included a FAQ page in addition to other information in the hopes of answering any questions you may have about the High Ability Program.


High Ability Contacts


Holly Koedyker, High Ability Licensed Teacher, Liberty Elementary

LIS or WIS Building Administrator and Counseling Department

Middle School

Mike Hamacher, Chesterton Middle School Principal

CMS Counseling Department

High School

CHS Counseling Department
Christy Jarka, Director of Grants, Assessments & Special Programs