STRETCH Program Evaluation
May 29, 2015
The Wayne County School District STRETCH (gifted) Program identified and served intellectually gifted students at each of the five elementary/middle schools in the district during the 2014-2015 school year. The district also offered accelerated and advanced placement courses at Wayne County High School. At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, each individual school conducted an annual evaluation process that involved students, parents, administrators, teachers, and/or community leaders. This evaluation revealed that the district met or exceeded all standards established for the gifted education program. Specific details and ratings earned by the district on each criterion are as follows:
Criterion I: Curriculum and Instruction
The district met all standards under this criterion, exceeding the minimum standard in two areas. Students at all schools were provided with the opportunity to analyze and appropriately apply components of the visual and performing arts. This earned the district an exemplary rating on Guiding Principle Six.
The district earned an above-standard rating on Guiding Principle One. The teachers at all schools allowed students to identify their learning styles and modified the curriculum and instruction to meet these styles. The teachers also analyzed student interest inventories to determine units of study for the classes.
The district met standard in all other guiding principles. The district does provide a differentiated curriculum that is in compliance with MDE policy and state law (Guiding Principle 2.2); the district does publicize options for high ability students and gives consideration to parental requests (Guiding Principle 3.2); the district has developed and implemented an IMP that includes a scope and sequence of process skills (Guiding Principle 4.2); and the district’s IMP contains a section on career and life skills (Guiding Principle 5.2).
Criterion II: Program Administration and Management
The district exceeded standards on four of the seven guiding principles. Mrs. Wells, the district’s gifted contact person, holds a master’s degree and is completing her 24th year as a gifted instructor at WMS. MDE has approved the program proposal for the Wayne County School District. This earns the district an Above Standard rating on Guiding Principle One. A second Above Standard rating was earned on Guiding Principle Three. The Wayne County Association for Gifted Children has been operating since 2005. The group holds two meetings each year.
The final two Above Standard ratings were obtained on Guiding Principle Five and Guiding Principle Seven. On-going communication between parents does exist and parents are offered regular opportunities to make recommendations on the program. The district employs teachers at each elementary/middle school and provides funding to support the operation of the program. The teachers share resources with regular education teachers as well as with each other.
The district met standard on Guiding Principle Two and Guiding Principle Four. Gifted students receive the mandated 240 minutes of instruction from a properly endorsed teacher in an approved program. Two schools are Above Standard in that the students receive the recommended 300 minutes of instruction. For Guiding Principle Four, evidence does exist of established correspondence with the MDE. The final Meets Standard was earned on Guiding Principle Six. Evidence does exist of communication between the gifted teacher and other instructional staff and administrative personnel.
Criterion III: Program Design
The district scored Above Standard on two of the five guiding principles and Meets Standard on the remaining three. The district scored Above Standard on Guiding Principle One in that students in grades five through eight are served in an approved program. The district produces a brochure publicizing the mission/philosophy of the program, the objectives and goals. This information is also shared on the District Policy Service and on Mrs. Wells’ teacher webpage.
The school met standard on Guiding Principle Two. The district does use state funds to satisfy the programming needs of the gifted students at the five elementary/middle schools. A Meets Minimum Standard was earned on Guiding Principle Four in that students meet together for a minimum of 240 minutes per week The final meets standard was earned on Guiding Principle Five. The local school district policies include provisions for the needs of gifted students.
Criterion IV: Program Evaluation
The district earned Exemplary ratings on all three guiding principles. All schools conducted an annual self evaluation based on the standards. The results were reported and used for improvement of the program. The data collected were analyzed and used to determine goals and objectives for the following year. In 2013, the MDE monitor visited the district and determined that the district program was meeting all standards and regulations. This earned the Exemplary rating on Guiding Principle One.
On Guiding Principle Two, the teachers solicited information on the program from a variety of stakeholders including students, parents, teachers, and building administrators. This evaluation occurs on an annual basis. Where possible, community representatives volunteered to assist with the evaluation process.
Guiding Principle Three calls for a written evaluation to be made available. It presents the evaluation in a clear and cohesive format to all stakeholders and is designed to encourage follow through. This report is made available on Mrs. Wells’ teacher web page.
Criterion V: Social Emotional Guidance and Counseling
The district scored Above Standard on Guiding Principle Four. All teachers provide a curriculum that addresses the affective needs of gifted students. This curriculum follows a well-defined scope and sequence.
The district met standard on the remaining four guiding principles. The gifted teachers provide specific activities that address the social-emotional needs of gifted students and provide guidance when necessary (Guiding Principle 1.2). The teachers provide career guidance specific to the needs and interests of gifted students (Guiding Principle 2.2). The teachers provide guidance counseling to address the needs of at-risk students (Guiding Principle 3.2). The district schools also attempt to identify and serve underachieving students who are potentially gifted (Guiding Principle 5.2).
Criterion VI: Professional Development
The district exceeded the Meets Minimum Standard on four of the five guiding principles.
The district rated Exemplary on Guiding Principle Four in that the district provided two training sessions that involved the development, implementation and modification of differentiated curriculum. Above Standard ratings were earned on Guiding Principle Two, Guiding Principle Three, and Guiding Principle Five. The district allowed all instructors to attend the Mississippi Association of Gifted Children convention and allowed instructors to attend other out-of-district meetings (Guiding Principle Two). The district maintains a reference library and a checkout process is in place and publicized to allow ready access (Guiding Principle Three). All teachers are endorsed in gifted education and attended district and out-of-district training (Guiding Principle Five).
The district Meets Minimum Standard on Guiding Principle One. The district holds monthly professional development meetings for the gifted instructors.
Principle VII: Student Identification and AGuiding ssessment
The district earned Exemplary ratings on five of the ten guiding principles, Above Standard on three, and Meets Standard on two.
The first exemplary rating was earned on Guiding Principle One. The Gifted Education Program brochure provides written information on how to refer and identify students. It is available to all interested parties (Meets Standard). Staff development is held on the characteristics of gifted (Above Standard). This information is shared with parents and the community at large (Exemplary).
On Guiding Principle Three, the district earns an Exemplary rating. Referrals are accepted form multiple sources (Meets Standard), written procedures are in place for accepting referrals from multiple sources (Above Standard), and the school board has adopted a policy for accepting referrals from multiple sources (Exemplary).
The third Exemplary rating was earned on Guiding Principle Five. The student identification process includes multiple assessment measures that include both subjective and objective measures (Meets Standard). Information is gathered from multiple sources and used to allow flexibility in selecting the most appropriate instrument (Above Standard). The assessment and placement process is done in a time manner (Exemplary).
An Exemplary rating was also earned on Guiding Principle Nine. The assessment instruments selected make provisions for students with limited English proficiency, etc. (Meets Standard). The district provides training for personnel in the use of appropriate instruments (Above Standard). The selection of instrument is based on a comprehensive student profile for each student (Exemplary).
The final Exemplary rating was earned on Guiding Principle Ten. The district provides professional development for all personnel involved in the assessment and identification process (Meets Standard). The district’s licensed psychometrist completed an MDE training session (Above Standard). This training occurs on an ongoing basis as Eulon Britton, the district’s psychometrist, attends this training annually (Exemplary).
An Above Standard rating was earned on Guiding Principle Four. Parents are provided information on the characteristics of giftedness (Meets Standard). The district also maintains a reference library with materials specifically related to giftedness (Above Standard).
The second Above Standard rating was earned on Guiding Principle Seven. Written procedures are in place for student identification, notification of results, student reassessment, and student exiting the program (Meets Standard). The district also provides parents with information regarding all phases of the referral and assessment process and results (Above Standard).
The final Above Standard rating was earned on Guiding Principle Eight. The district has written procedures and guidelines in place for parent appeals (Meets Standard). These guidelines are publicly available and implemented on a consistent basis (Above Standard).
The district met standard on Guiding Principle Two in that all students comprise the initial screening pool and mass screening occurs in first grade. The district met standard on Guiding Principle Six in that the assessment instruments are reliable and valid.
Based on these findings, the Wayne County School District is meeting and/or exceeding the minimal standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education. School personnel will build on the existing foundation to continue to provide exceptional educational services to the county’s intellectually gifted students.
(Documentation to support these findings is maintained in Fay Wells’ Room (217) at Waynesboro Middle School.)