ACE/LEAP Program Design

Introduction

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD’s gifted and talented programs are designed to challenge the gifted learner who demonstrates the need for an augmented curriculum. Typically, gifted students differ from their age peers in three important ways. First, they absorb and transfer information at a faster rate and process it very efficiently. Second, they are often able to comprehend information with greater depth than their classmates, showing greater insight and understanding. Third, they often have an interest that is more typical of older children or even adults. These three learning differences are frequently enhanced by other complementary characteristics: independence, persistence, nonconformity, and motivation.

Program Description

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD demonstrates its commitment to educational excellence through the comprehensive programs developed for gifted and talented students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Having a child-centered education program as its primary goal, the Carrollton–Farmers Branch ISD offers a two-tiered multifaceted level program. These services are offered through the Academic Creative Education (ACE) program and the Leading Exceptional Academic Producers (LEAP) program. The structure of the district’s programs forms an inverted pyramid model beginning as a broad base design to discover and nurture the intellectual talents of the young child and gradually move into specific specialized course offerings. Classroom teachers who work with gifted students are required to receive at least 30 hours of training in gifted education.

Academic Creative Education (ACE)

In elementary, students are cluster grouped to receive instruction in three formats: 1) with other identified students 2) individually and 3) with other students possessing a range of abilities. The ACE cluster groups work with a curriculum designed to present learning experiences that add depth, complexity, and pacing commensurate with the abilities of the student. At the high school level, ACE students are offered a variety of identified gifted classes in grades 6-12. Such opportunities include IDS Language Arts and Social Studies courses in middle school, and Global and World Experience courses and Advanced Placement in high school. Students may also choose to apply to attend one of the five academies offered in the fields of Biomedical, Media Arts, and Technology, Math Engineering Technology & Science Academy (METSA), International Business, or Law and Criminal Justice.

Eligibility for Admission for ACE

Each school has a site-based gifted and talented Admission, Review, Exit (ARE) committee composed of teachers, counselors and/or administrators trained in gifted education who review data and make placement decisions based on the following:

  • selection of potentially gifted students who would function near the top of the district’s population when compared to their peers, and demonstrate educational need for the learning environment provided by the gifted and talented classes,
  • ability to function in an environment which requires self-motivation and independence.

Multiple criteria are used which include both quantitative and qualitative measures. The following are used to determine eligibility for the ACE program:

  • a district-approved aptitude test score received within the past two years
  • achievement test stanines of 8 or above
  • other available test data
  • observable characteristics of the gifted and talented student
  • classroom performance as evaluated by the ARE committee
  • student portfolio
  • parent inventory or student inventory
  • interview if needed

Leading Exceptional Academic Producers (LEAP)

In elementary, LEAP students in grades K-5 are served in all academic content areas at McCoy Elementary. LEAP students in grades 6-8 are served through their academic courses at Perry Middle School. At the high school level LEAP students are offered a variety of identified gifted classes in grades 9-12. Such opportunities include Pre-Advanced Placement classes, Global and World Experience, and Advanced Placement classes. Students may also choose to apply to attend one of the five academies offered in the fields of Biomedical Professions, Media Arts and Technology, Math Engineering Technology & Science Academy (METSA), International Business, or Law and Criminal Justice.

Referral: A student may be referred for gifted and talented services by teachers, parents, administrators, counselors, students and other members of the community who believe the student may qualify for gifted and talented services. Identification of students is conducted not to label students but to determine which students require program alterations because of their unique educational needs. *Referral forms may be obtained at the student’s campus through the principal or counselor’s office.

Eligibility for LEAP Admission

A central LEAP ARE (Admission, Review, and Exit) committee composed of teachers, counselors and/or administrators trained in gifted education review data and make placement decisions based on the following:

  • selection of potentially gifted students who would function in the top 1% of the district’s population when compared to their peers, with an educational need for the learning environment provided by classes for the exceptionally gifted,
  • ability to function in an environment which requires students to work above grade level compared to age-level peers, self-motivation, and independence.
  • two intelligence test scores in the highly gifted range on a district-approved aptitude test within the past two years
  • achievement test scores at or above the 95th percentile
  • ability to function in an environment which requires self-motivation and independence
  • classroom performance indicating highly gifted level
  • student portfolio
  • parent inventory or student inventory indicating highly gifted level
  • interview

New and Transfer Students

Students new to the district who are nominated for the gifted and talented program may be screened after a six-week waiting period. Students entering the district from another gifted program must meet the criteria established by the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. Those transferring from another gifted program may expedite the process by providing assessment information from their previous school.
Participation in any program or service offered for gifted and talented students is voluntary on the part of each student and requires written permission of their parent/s or legal guardian/s.

Furlough Procedure

In some extenuating circumstances, it may be determined by the campus Admission, Review and Exit Committee to be in the best interest of the student to remove him/her from the program temporarily by granting a “furlough” status for a specific period of time up to a year. The campus ARE committee will review the student’s placement status at the end of the furlough period, at which time the student should be returned to the gifted and talented program or formally exited. If the student exits, the exit procedure will be followed. Parent/s or guardian/s are notified of all procedures and signature is required.

Exit Procedure

Once a student is placed in the gifted and talented program, he/she will most likely continue in the program. If, however, it becomes evident that an error has been made in the placement of a student, the student is consistently non-productive, or exhibits behavioral problems inhibiting the learning of other students, it may be in the best interest of the student to exit him/her from the program. All methods of intervention must be utilized before the Admission, Review, Exit Committee determines and proceeds with formal exit. Parent/s or guardian/s are notified and involved in intervention strategies. The final exit decision should be based on educational, psychological and personal reasons with no single criterion as the determining factor for exiting the students. If formal exit is deemed appropriate by the ARE committee, parents are notified and signature is required.

Appeal Procedure

If a parent wishes to appeal the decision made by the ARE placement committee, a request may be submitted in writing by letter or email to the Executive Director of Advanced Academic Services, Dr. Kathryn Schaeffer, at schaefferk@cfbisd.edu or by calling 972-968-4368, 14 calendar days from the postmark on the envelope of the placement decision letter. Conditions for appeals:

  • A parent believes misinterpretation of data has occurred
  • An inappropriate application of the identification process is alleged
  • Parents have substantial evidence that, when added to the existing information, creates a compelling “preponderance of evidence” regarding the student’s need for program services

Inquiries related to the LEAP program should be directed to Advanced Academic Services at 972.968.4370 or 972.968.4373.