Center Grove looks at ways to identify high-ability students

School seeks parents’ help

If your elementary-aged child in the Center Grove school district is considered high-ability in just math or English, the school district now has more ways to identify and teach them.

The school district is rolling out additional ways to identify high-ability elementary school children, with students having six paths they can take to get a high-ability designation, which would get them an invite to an extended learning program in the school district or clustered in classes with other students who excel at the same subjects they do.

School officials met with gifted-education specialists at Ball State to help overhaul their elementary high-ability program. The overhaul has included additional ways high-ability students can be identified and using the program has resulted in more students being given the designation of high-ability, said Jack Parker, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.

School officials gave a presentation to about 50 parents Wednesday that outlined the changes in how their students could be identified as high-ability. Parents were also asked to identify traits of a high-ability student in an online quiz, and educators outlined the traits that are considered high-ability. A second program in early May will go over how all students, including high-ability students, will be taught, Parker said.

“We are working to meet the needs of all students,” he said.

Officials worked with a committee of parents, teachers and administrators to consider the recommendations and to implement a program that changed how high-ability students were identified.

The biggest changes are that a student who is particularly gifted in math or English and language arts can now be given a high-ability designation for that subject alone. And with more ways to evaluate a child for high-ability, more students will be identified, Parker said.

For example, a student who scores at the 96th percentile or above on a reasoning and cognitive test is automatically designated as high-ability in those subjects. If they score in the 80th percentile on the tests, educators will then use additional test scores, educator observations and parent assessments to help them designate if the child is high-ability.

A score in the 94th or 95th percentile in either or both subjects would trigger educator and parents observations that could them lead to a high-ability designation overall or in a particular subject.

In all, students have six paths that could lead them to a high-ability designation, said Marcy Szostak, Center Grove’s assistant director of elementary curriculum.

Parents should be getting notified in late May or early June if their child is designated as high-ability, A second program on May 2 will lay out new ways that the students will be taught, said Parker.

Children who are designated high-ability in just one subject, such as math or English, will be clustered in the same class where they will be given special attention during that subject, accelerated lessons or in some cases, a different curriculum from their peers, Parker said.

Students who are considered high-ability in all subjects would be invited to participate in the district’s extended learning program that is designated for high-ability students.

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.