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410 Central Ave. N.
New Prague, MN 56071

phone: 952-758-1700
fax: 952-758-1799

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Elementary Services

New Prague Area School District elected to participate in the Total School Cluster Group study through Purdue University in conjunction with a district-wide differentiation initiative to better meet the needs of all of our students. The clustering model specifically services Gifted and High Performing students by placing them in a heterogeneous (mixed ability) class with a teacher specially trained in differentiation. A variety of assessments are used to determine a child’s class placement for the school year. Our district uses the MCA, FAST, common formative assessments, Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment, and teacher observation when placing students in their appropriate cluster.  This model allows the Gifted and High Performing students to be with both age and ability peers throughout the school day and is intended to meet their unique needs.  Gifted and High Performing middle and high school students have many opportunities to enroll in higher level classes designed to meet their needs.

A variety of assessments is used to determine a child’s class placement for the school year. Our district uses the MCA, FAST, common formative assessments, Fountas and Pinnell, and teacher observation when placing students in their appropriate cluster.

Total School Cluster Grouping District

 

Total School Cluster Grouping (TSCG)

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Will my child know his/her category?

Answer: No. The category is used for placement purposes only.

 

Will I be told my child's placement category?

Answer: No. The category is used for placement purposes only. You will be informed of your child's progress according to all measures as previously used.

 

Will the category be in my child’s permanent record?

Answer: No.  The data will be collected for Purdue University’s Research purposes, but not be included in student permanent files. The categories are also fluid meaning that a student isn’t “stuck” in one category forever but may move from one to another throughout his/her years in the program.

 

How will teachers decide the category?

Answer: The teachers will first consider a student holistically without data based on the student population in our school.  They will consider all aspects including their critical thinking skills within reading and math, but also overall.  The second step will be to review the assessment data.  The data will be used to include a student within a category, not exclude them from one.  For example, if a teacher initially decides to place a student in the “Above Average” category, but the assessment data shows “Average” achievement, the student will stay at the “Above Average” category.  Another example is if the teacher initially placed a student in the “Average” category, but the assessments show “Above Average” the student would be moved to the “Above Average” category.

 

Will the receiving teacher know my child’s category?

Answer: Yes.  This will enable the receiving teacher to understand why a student may be in a particular category, when the test scores indicate that.  The receiving teacher will receive all the information regarding academic assessments as in years’ past.  The category is for current classroom placement purposes only and will be reevaluated at the end of the current year.  It is not a definitive permanent label or an indicator or expectations.  Category identification occurs yearly.

 

How will the classes be arranged?

Answer: Your child’s current grade level teachers will create the class lists with support from specialists, Special Education and administration. The high-achieving students will be clustered in one or two rooms along with students from two other categories as one of the objectives is to decrease the span of academic achievement within classrooms.  The other classes will have students identified as above average along with students from other categories, again trying to limit the span of academic achievement.

 

Does this program just benefit G/T kids?

Answer: No.  The goals of the TSCG program are:

  • Help all students improve their academic achievement and educational self-efficacy
  • Help teachers more effectively and efficiently meet the diverse needs of their students
  • Weave gifted education and talent development “know-how” into the fabric of all educational practices in the school
  • Provide full-time services to high-achieving and high-ability elementary students
  • Improve representation of traditionally underserved students identified over time as above average and high-achieving

 

Will sibling/teacher requests be honored?

Answer: No, in order to best meet the goals of the TSCG program at New Prague Area Schools, sibling and teacher requests will no longer be used to place students in classes.

Clustering Gifted Learners 

 

For more information contact:

Kate Kienow, Talent Development Facilitator
kkienow@isd721.org
952-758-1748