High Potential Education
Enhanced and enriched learning for each student.
Sauk Rapids-Rice School District staff, administration and school board members believe education should allow for the maximum development of each student. Some students require differentiated and challenging educational programs and/or services beyond those provided in the general school program. Options for those students, grades K-12, are provided within and outside the general classroom setting through activities that challenge, extend and enrich each student, while also supporting social and emotional development.
High potential students may possess gifts in the areas of general intellect, specific academic subjects, creativity, leadership and visual and performing arts. These students are diverse in their characteristics and backgrounds. Students in underserved populations require special consideration when being identified for the Sauk Rapids-Rice High Potential Program. They will require extra opportunities to develop their talents and foster overall achievement.
We recognize the need these students have to be challenged in academic and social settings while also being provided the opportunity to work with other gifted peers. Gifted students have social and emotional needs that are different than that of their grade level peers due to the asynchronous development and need to be supported.
Our staff who work with High Potential students receive ongoing professional development in research-based gifted and talent education. We make it a priority for our staff to grow and develop as our students do.
Sauk Rapids-Rice High Potential Services requires an ongoing financial commitment to ensure success and sustainability.
Sauk Rapids-Rice High Potential. Services will develop the unique abilities and increase achievement in students so they can be successful leaders and problem solvers in their future academic and professional pursuits.
Sauk Rapids-Rice High Potential Services will build skills that will offset developmental deficits.
Saul Rapids-Rice High Potential Services will provide equitable access to all students.
Sauk Rapids-Rice High Potential Services will provide education and support to families and the community in Gifted and Talented Education.
The purpose of this committee is to review and give feedback on current and future High Potential Services at Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools.
This committee will include voices representing the many stakeholders in gifted and talented education. These groups may include:
- Early childhood teachers
- K–2 teachers
- 3–5 teachers
- Teachers from Mississippi Heights Elementary School, Pleasantview Elementary and Rice Elementary
- 6–8 teachers
- 9–12 teachers
- School board member(s)
The Sauk Rapids-Rice High Potential Advisory Committee will meet multiple times a year at a time that is convenient for as many members as possible. Meetings may be in person at the District Curriculum Center or via a virtual platform such as Zoom.
For more information about the Sauk Rapids-Rice High Potential Advisory Committee please contact the District High Potential Specialist Irene Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for Parents, Emotional Support, and Further Education
Minnesota Department of Education: Gifted Education
Hoagies' Gifted Education Page
This resource is full of articles, books and links to help and support parents, teachers and gifted children alike.
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)
SENG is a nonprofit organization that empowers families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented (MCGT)
The Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented (MCGT) is a state-wide non-profit support and advocacy organization of parents, educators and other professionals who live or work with gifted children and are interested in their education and well-being.
Minnesota Educators of the Gifted and Talented (MEGT)
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
NAGC supports and engages in research and development, staff development, advocacy, communication and collaboration with other organizations and agencies who strive to improve the quality of education for all students. NAGC also provides resources for parents.
Levels of Service
The Sauk Rapids-Rice High Potential Program follows a Levels of Service Model.
- Level 1: Services for ALL students
- Level 2: Enrichment Opportunities for MANY students
- Level 3: Services for SOME students
- Level 4: Individualized services for a FEW students
Level 1: Services for ALL students
The classroom teacher challenges students with the regular classroom and needs are met through individualized instruction using flexible grouping, differentiated instruction, challenging academic content and skill development, as well as extra classroom opportunities, such as field trips, guest speakers, etc.
Parents and teachers who are needing assistance with differentiation within their classroom are encouraged to reach out to the district high potential specialist.
Level 2: Enrichment Opportunities for MANY students
This level of service is often determined by teacher referral, and/or student or parent choice and includes enrichment opportunities within and outside of the school day. These opportunities may include:
Continental Math League
Battle of the Books
YAYA Writing Conference
Science ROCKS Conference
Project EARTH Conference
Level 3: Services for SOME students
This level is designed to meet the need for extra challenge and enhanced learning. Students with these needs are eligible based on multiple criteria. These services include the Cirrus Program in grades 2–5, advanced math courses at the middle school level, as well as advanced placement and/or honors courses at the high school.
The Cirrus Program brings students together in small grade level groups. Cirrus Groups meet for a total of 60–90 minutes per week. This high potential program is provided at Mississippi Heights Elementary and Pleasantview Elementary for second through fifth-graders. Groups focus on critical and creative thinking skills, the emotional needs of gifted learners, higher level problem solving skills and STEAM education.
Students at Rice Elementary participate in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB) and are afforded challenge opportunities within this framework.
Identification for participating in the Cirrus Program is determined in September/October of each school year. The identification team uses the Identification Matrix in determining placement into our Level 3 program or if other services should be provided.
Currently, the Cognitive Abilities Test is administered in the fall to all Sauk Rapids Rice fourth-graders and is one piece of data used within the Identification Matrix. More information about the CogAT can be found below under "Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) Information"
Level 4: Individualized services for a FEW students
These services are for those whose academic needs are significantly different from their peers and need individualized instruction through things like: early entrance to kindergarten, single subject acceleration, grade level acceleration and individualized learning plans.
Early Entrance to Kindergarten
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is my child eligible for early entrance? In the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District, early entrance to kindergarten can be considered if a child will be five-years-old on or before October 31 of their entry year. Students who have birthdays after October 31 are not eligible.
What skills should my child have in order to be considered for early entrance? Early entrance is considered the earliest form of acceleration and students will need to be able to handle the increased academic and social emotional demands put on them in Kindergarten. The expectations for early entrance are set high to ensure that students are able to be successful. Please read through the characteristics below in order to decide if your child is ready for early entrance to kindergarten.
- Regulates emotions and behavior
- Works cooperatively with other students
- Shows motivation to learn and go to school
- Can maintain focus when completing a task
- Likes books and being read to
- Asks and answers questions in order to seek help, get information or clarify information
- Recognizes upper and lower case letters and sounds
- Holds scissors correctly
- Cuts straight and curved lines with some skill
- Holds pencil, crayon and markers correctly
- Knows numbers 0–10 in any order
- Counts to 20 or higher
- Adds and subtracts with manipulatives
- Knows basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, etc.)
- Names colors
How do I apply for early entrance? To apply for early entrance, please download the SRR Early Entrance to Kindergarten Application and complete as directed. Application materials are due by March 15.
The application includes questions for the parent/guardian to complete and a questionnaire for the child’s preschool teacher to complete.
What process does the district use to determine early entrance? After receiving your application, the early entrance coordinator will call to schedule the early entrance screening. This will be a 20–30 minute appointment in which the early entrance coordinator and a kindergarten teacher interact with the student in a school setting and administer an assessment of his/her academic and social emotional skills.
A team consisting of the early entrance coordinator, kindergarten teacher, school principal and the director of teaching and learning will analyze and discuss the information gathered from the application and the screening and determine if early entrance would be beneficial for the student.
Parents will be contacted by the early entrance coordinator to discuss the decisions of the team and if necessary, give information on enrollment. Parents have the right to appeal any decision made by the team by submitting a written request to the director of teaching and learning.
If my child is identified for early entrance to kindergarten, is the decision final? No. As with all types of acceleration, there will be a trial period in order to monitor how the student is doing academically, socially and emotionally. At the end of the first six weeks of school, the early entrance coordinator will meet with the kindergarten teacher and determine if early entrance will become permanent. Parents/guardians will be contacted regarding this final decision.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Irene Wilcox at 320-258-1272.
What is acceleration?
The purpose of acceleration is to place a student in an appropriate setting where the pace and demands of instruction fit learner capabilities. Instructional practices such as differentiating, compacting, telescoping and other interventions can meet the needs of many high potential students. However, if a student’s academic needs are still not being met through these practices, student acceleration may be required. The types of acceleration that may be be considered include:
PK–Grade 8 Options:
Early Entrance to Kindergarten
Grade Level Acceleration
Grades 9–12 Options:
Post Secondary Enrollment Options
Acceleration will be considered on an individual basis and can be initiated by a parent/guardian or school staff. The process should be initiated no later than April 15 for the following fall grade or subject acceleration.
Grade Level or Subject Acceleration Procedure
Step 1: Acceleration Request
A parent/guardian, a teacher or other staff member can initiate the process of grade level acceleration. An Acceleration Request Form can be filled out returned to the District High Potential Specialist, Irene Wilcox at 320-258-1733 or email@example.com. Assistance with materials and language translation is available upon request. Please contact Jenny Bushman, Director of Teaching and Learning, at 320-253-4703 for more information.
Step 2: Initial Screening
After receiving the Acceleration Request Form and any other supplemental materials, the High Potential specialist and building Principal will meet to review the request and create an Acceleration Team including the district gifted specialist, building principal or assistant principal, classroom teacher, and any others deemed needed. The district gifted specialist will compile data for the team to analyze and decide whether the acceleration process should continue. The following data sources may be considered in this decision:
Teacher feedback on both academic and social/emotional skills
At least two documented strategies used to meet the student’s academic needs in current classroom/subject
Classroom/subject achievement including summative assessments and/or grades.
Student Work Samples
Achievement Test Scores:
aMath and/or aReading Tests
Math and/or Reading MAP Tests
Fontas and Pinnell Levels (K-5th Grade)
For grade level acceleration, both math and reading scores must be at least at the spring target in the grade level in which the student is proposed to be accelerated into
For subject acceleration, the score within the specific subject must be at least at the spring target in the grade level subject area in which the student is proposed to be accelerated into
Based on this evidence, the Acceleration Team will make a decision of whether or not to continue the acceleration process. This information will then be recorded on the Initial Screening for Acceleration Form and communicated back to the parent(s)/guardian(s). If the acceleration process does not continue, a plan for growth and success for the student in the current grade level will be developed as necessary.
Step 3: Additional Data Collection
If the acceleration team determines that the process should continue, the team will decide what data will be required to make further recommendations. The following data sources may be considered:
Cognitive Ability Test
Iowa Acceleration Scale
Student Observation and/or Interview
An individual District approved cognitive abilities assessment, such as the most current version of the CogAT or Cognitive Abilities Test. Please contact Jenny Bushman, Director of Teaching and Learning, at 320-253-4703 for more information. To meet intellectual requirements for acceleration, a child’s assessment must indicate an intellectual ability score of 127 in at least one of the three CogAT batteries. Students who have an ability score lower than 127, but are within the 95% confidence interval to the target score of 127 may also be considered. Other criteria should be met at a high standard.
The Iowa Acceleration Scale may be administered by the district gifted specialist. A grand total score of 46-59 (Good candidate for whole grade acceleration) or 60-80 (Excellent candidate for grade level acceleration) must be achieved and will be reviewed by the acceleration team.
An observation and interview may be conducted by the school psychologist, social worker or designee . Evidence of social and emotional maturity is needed in order to be recommended for acceleration. This can be documented in the Observation/Interview Form. The Social Skills Rating System may also be administered and analyzed. The student must also have a desire to accelerate without pressure from parent(s)/guardian(s). Students may also be placed in an older classroom and observed.
Step 4: Recommendations
The Acceleration Team will meet to discuss the additional data collected and make their recommendations on the Acceleration Team Recommendation Form. The building Principal will have the final decision to accelerate the student based on the Acceleration Team’s recommendation and this final decision will be communicated back to the parent(s)/guardian(s).
If the final decision is in favor of accelerating the student, an Accelerated Learning Plan will be developed that considers schedules and transitions. The acceleration will have a 6 weeks trial period in which the student will be monitored by at least two members of the Acceleration Committee. If continuation is not recommended, this will be communicated by the end of the 6 weeks. During this time, the parent(s)/guardian(s) may also request, in writing, the discontinuation of the acceleration without any repercussions. The accelerated placement of the student will become permanent at the end of the transition period. Once the plan becomes permanent it will be entered into the student’s permanent record.
If the final decision is not in favor of accelerating the student, recommendations for the current grade level will be developed as necessary. The classroom teacher and/or district gifted specialist will also monitor student progress. A written appeal may be addressed to the Sauk Rapids Rice Superintendent of Schools. Copies of the information gathered and forms pertaining to this Acceleration Procedure will be available upon request.
The Sauk Rapids Rice School District is committed to excellence in academic achievement for all of our students. We look forward to the opportunity to meet the educational needs of your child. Should you have any questions regarding this procedure, please do not hesitate to contact the District High Potential Specialist, Irene Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org or your School Principal.