Advanced Learning Information
Advanced Learning Opportunity Plan @ Leschi Elementary School
District Advanced Learning Opportunities (ALO) Recommendations
With the shift to Common Core State Standards, Seattle’s District Advanced Learning Office now recommends that ALO and Highly Capable program schools emphasize providing students with the depth of knowledge they will need to be successful learners in the 21st Century. Research-based, district recommendations for Advanced Learners encourage teachers to go deeper into the common core standards and require student mastery of grade level concepts in order to successfully progress to concepts at higher grade levels. The District encourages:
- Differentiated Instruction where all students receive instruction at their ‘just right’ levels. At our school, our ‘Best of Both’ model in all classrooms is ideal for offering differentiated instruction for all students. More specific information about this is below.
- Teaching Deeper vs. Teaching Up a Grade Level As we look at designing instruction for Advanced Learners, the recommendation is to ‘go deeper’ into grade level standards. Below is more information about how ‘going deeper’ will look at our school.
Leschi’s Advanced Learning Opportunity Plan–Differentiated and Deep
Leschi Elementary’s ‘Best of Both’ curriculum in multiage classrooms is an ideal environment for meeting the needs of advanced learners within a mixed classroom environment where we celebrate the varied strengths and areas of growth of each student. Every student at Leschi has two classroom teachers each day: one teacher highly trained in Columbia University’s Readers and Writers Workshop and NSF Inquiry-based Science and the other teacher is highly trained in Montessori pedagogy and teaching math, language and phonics, geography and social studies. This model allows teachers and students to go deep into rigorous content-area learning and maximizes our school resources to provide outstanding learning opportunities for every Leschi student. We believe Leschi’s multi-age classes, differentiated instruction, flexible grouping, enrichment opportunities, and school-wide programs provide a rich academic school for all students.
Our model serves our highest performing students, regardless of whether or not a child is designated as ‘highly gifted’ or ‘gifted’ by the District’s testing process. Students work daily with classmates who are at similar just-right-learning levels in small work groups in all subject areas; students also have opportunities to develop and demonstrate mastery and leadership in mixed-level groups in multi-age classrooms.
Progress for students designated by the Advanced Learning Office is shown on the SPS report card as determined by each child’s teacher team. All Leschi classrooms have a range of learners with a range of strengths and areas for growth, including those who have been identified by the District as Advanced Learners. When making classroom placement decisions, advanced learning students are typically placed in classrooms where they will have classmates who are also advanced learners.
ALO Math Model
Montessori mathematics instruction is inherently differentiated for each student based on where he or she is right now and where they need to go next on the math pathway. All Leschi students learn via Montessori math curriculum supplemented with District math curriculum as determined by the classroom teacher. Our Montessori teachers are highly trained in accelerating students’ learning from where they now are to the highest possible level, not limited by typical grade-level curriculum. Students work as individuals, in pairs, and in small groups to both learn new skills and to demonstrate mastery by teaching others. Acceleration is typically at least one grade level above for students identified by the district Advanced Learning office. Our Montessori students who have gone off to middle school advanced math classes have done very well at the highest level of math offered. Strategies:
- Tiered Assignments: Advanced students receive their math instruction in varying levels of complexity and depth within the classroom. Additionally, homework assignments may be differentiated dependent on the student’s performance, as teacher resources allow.
- Flexible Groupings: Students are invited to math lesson groups depending upon individual strengths and areas for growth next steps.
ALO Reading Model
Leschi’s ALO Reading and Writing offers differentiated instruction at students’ ‘just-right’ level within the multiage classroom. Acceleration is typically at least one grade level above for students identified by district Advanced Learning Office. Teachers are highly trained in the flexible Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s Workshop curriculum created by Teachers College, Columbia University which allows students to read, write and communicate at their just-right level; they are not limited by grade-level curriculum. Strategies:
- Flexible Grouping: Students may receive reading instruction in literacy groupings that provide complex instruction and promote depth of understanding through the development of interpretive, predictive, and analytical skills.
- Independent Reading: Students are provided with level-based books they read to appropriately place them in groups of interest and advanced ability.
- Guided Reading Groups: Students are placed within guided reading groups by complexity and higher-level content reading.
- Shared read aloud: Creates a supportive learning environment for a range of readers to hear fluent reading as they develop higher level thinking skills.
ALO Writing Model
Writers Workshop is used in all classrooms, offering every student an open-ended opportunity to write at a level that challenges them in areas such as voice, word choice, sentence structure, and all basic principles of writing. Upper grade-level classes also engage in a writer-residency program through Writers in the Schools, a program of the Seattle Arts and Lectures Series, which brings professional authors to teach a series of lessons with students. Leschi offers differentiated writing instruction within the classroom. Acceleration is typically at least one grade level above for students identified by the District Advanced Learning Office. Every teacher is committed to providing a student-centered and engaging learning environment to ensure that every student is successful.
Transition to Middle School
Overall, our Leschi ALO students (HCC and/or Spectrum-identified) from past years have fared as well or better than their peers who went to separated-out advanced learning programs in elementary school. Of course each student’s experience is varied, but experience demonstrates that if your student is making learning progress at Leschi, they should expect to make the transition to middle school as well as their peers from other schools/programs.
Please contact Leschi’s school office at 252-2950.