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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my child is new and he or she is already qualified elsewhere as a High Ability student?

New students are considered at the time of enrollment pending information from their previous school, teacher observations, and data collected. Students must meet local criteria for program placement. Identification for program services at a prior school does not automatically qualify the student for services at Duneland School Corporation. If there is not enough information, new students start out in regular classes and adjustments are made as necessary.

What is the definition of a High Ability student?
The Indiana Code defines a student with high abilities as one whom:
  1. 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:
  2. is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests (IC 20-36-1-3). (INDOE)
How are high ability students identified in Duneland?
  • Potential-based (aptitude) Measures and Performance-based (achievement) measures are used.
  • All students are systematically evaluated in kindergarten and second grade
  • All students take NWEA and end of the year scores are examined for appropriate placement for the following school year
  • Students are identified for general intellectual, math, and/or language arts

Who Decides? When Does Identification Take Place?  (refer to the school level narrative for a detailed explanation)

  • An identification cadre rather than a single person makes placement decisions based upon the data. The identification committee may include teachers licensed in high ability, principals, general education teachers, school counselors, and the Director of High Ability
  • Kindergarten students are officially identified using CogAT prior to the fourth grading period. After the end of the year NWEA benchmark assessment, additional kindergarten students may be identified for 1st grade.  
  • 2nd-4th grade elementary students are considered during the March-May timeframe.  Families are notified before the start of the next school year. Typically families are  notified in May- June of placement for the following school year.
  • Intermediate students are considered in June.  Families are typically notified in August.
  • Middle school students are considered in the Spring or when identification data becomes available.  Families are typically notified when placement decisions are made.

When can parents/guardians nominate their child for High Ability placement?

Because all students are considered for high ability using data from NWEA on a yearly basis in grades K-8, nominations are not necessary.

When may families submit an appeal?

Parents/Guardians of a child who requests reevaluation of their child’s eligibility must submit in writing an appeal form stating the reasons they believe their child should receive high ability services.  Appeal forms are available on the Duneland School Corporation Website.

K-4 Appeals: Appeals will be considered from the first day of school until September 30th. No further appeals will be considered after September 30th.

5-6 Appeals: Appeals will be considered from August 1st-September 30th.  No further appeals will be considered after September 30th.

Middle School: Appeals are accepted by the Friday before the first day of school. The High Ability Cadre typically meets on the Monday or Tuesday prior to school starting. After review by the High Ability Cadre, the guidance department will inform the parent/guardian of its decision.

High School: Appeals are accepted  by the Friday before the first day of school. The High Ability Cadre typically meets on the Monday or Tuesday prior to school starting. After review by the High Ability Cadre, the guidance department will inform the parent/guardian of its decision.

What happens if my child does not qualify for the High Ability Program?

In considering data about children’s achievement, we recognize that in Duneland School Corporation there are many students who may score in the 95th percentile range and above in math and or reading on classroom work, but who are not identified as high ability. These students are certainly high achievers and may even earn straight A’s on their report, but do not meet Duneland School Corporation’s criteria for high ability identification. All of the students will receive the appropriate level of challenge whether they are identified as high ability or not.

Since there are many high achieving students, the curriculum and instructional strategies are designed to meet their needs. The teachers differentiate to provide instructional experiences to meet student needs within each classroom. High achieving students may receive enrichment throughout the school day and during the small group instruction block.  Each student shall be instructed in small groups within his or her classroom at the appropriate instructional level. This decision is made at the building level to consider the best fit for each student.

What are the characteristics of a high ability (gifted) child?

Kingore Categories of Gifted Characteristics  

  • Advanced Language – uses words that seem advanced for the age-level expectations; explains how unrelated things are similar; uses words for time concepts (clock and calendar) accurately; uses similes, metaphors, or analogies; asks questions about words.
  • Analytical Thinking – demonstrates complex or abstract thinking; analyzes household or school tasks; notices surprising depth of details about surroundings; takes apart and reassembles things or ideas with skill; expresses relationships between past and present experiences; makes up songs, stories, or riddles about experiences; organizes collections of things uniquely; likes to plan or arrange things
  • Meaning Motivation – is philosophical; asks surprisingly intellectual questions; is curious; experiments; demonstrates an unexpected depth of knowledge in one or more areas; exhibits intense task commitment and energy when pursuing interests; remembers; is independent.  
  • Perspective – explains another’s point of view; shows dimension, angle, perspective in art, writing, math solutions, or problem solving; creates complex shapes, patterns, or graphics; applies left and right without prompting; adds interesting details to enhance products.
  • Sense of Humor – says or does something indicating an unexpected, sophisticated humor; catches an adult’s subtle sense of humor; understands and uses puns and riddles; “plays” with language; develops humorous ideas to an extreme.  
  • Sensitivity – cares deeply; intense concern for human issues; tries to take action to help someone in need; expresses feelings through words or art; explains other's feelings; displays strong sense of fairness; expresses high expectations of self and others; seems to overreact at times.  
  • Accelerated Learning – learns new things quickly with minimum practice; uses multiple characteristics when discussing items; reads passages at an advanced, fluent reading level for the age-level expectations; explains the meaning of what has been read; demonstrates an unexpected mastery of math or science concepts; uses a dictionary, encyclopedia, map, atlas, or computer to gain advanced information, creates products which seem advanced for the age-level expectations.

What are some negatively perceived characteristics sometimes associated with a gifted child?

  • Self-critical; impatient with failures
  • Critical of others or of the teacher
  • Overreacts
  • Domineers
  • Gets angry or cries if things go wrong
  • Hands in messy work
  • Is more concerned with concept than the details
  • Refuses to accept authority
  • Refuses to do rote homework
  • Bored with routine tasks
  • Makes jokes or puns at inappropriate times
  • Disagrees vocally with others or with the teacher about ideas and values
  • Is nonconforming/stubborn
  • Is reluctant to move on to another topic  

What’s the difference between a high-achieving child and a high ability, or gifted child?

“Identification of gifted students is clouded when concerned adults misinterpret high achievement as giftedness. High-achieving students are noticed for their on-time, neat, well-developed, and correct learning products. Adults comment on these students’ consistent high grades and note how well they acclimate to class procedures and discussions. Some adults assume these students are gifted because their school-appropriate behaviors and products surface above the typical responses of grade-level students. Educators with expertise in gifted education are frustrated trying to help other educators and parents understand that while high achievers are valuable participants whose high-level modeling is welcomed in classes, they learn differently from gifted learners. In situations in which they are respected and encouraged, gifted students’ thinking is more complex with abstract inferences and more diverse perceptions than is typical of high achievers. Articulating those differences to educators and parents can be difficult.”    (from High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker, Bertie Kingore, Ph.D.)

What should I do if I disagree with the decision of the committee if my child did not qualify for the High Ability Program?

Teachers and parents may submit an appeal letter with pertinent criteria that should be considered to the building principal.  Please see the Appeal Process page for more information.