Initiative would target Florida's high-achieving students
Most Florida schools have programs available to challenge students who excel but aren't labeled gifted. The problem, according to state House speaker pro tem John Legg, is that the schools often don't have set plans to put students into those programs, nor do they fully explain the opportunities to parents.
Legg wants to change the equation. Legislation he is pushing would require school districts to inlcude clear, detailed acceleration paths in their pupil progression plans. They would also have a "parent trigger," with which a parent could initiate entry into programs rather than waiting to be contacted by the schools.
If parents take that initiative, though, other participation requirements such as an agreement on maintaining grades would come into play.
So far no bill exists. Legg said he's working to have the concept introduced through the House Education Committee as a committee bill. Until then, he is circulating a summary sheet of the Academic Challenge and Enhancement Program. Read on for the details.
Academic Challenge and Enhancement Program
November 2, 2011
Establish Academic Challenge and Enhancement (ACE) Program
Purpose: to provide access to acceleration options and more rigorous coursework to eligible students in K-8.
Eligibility: determined by each school district using, at minimum, student performance on statewide assessments or FAIR (Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading); student’s grade point average and attendance record; and recommendations from a core subject teacher and a guidance counselor, if one is employed by the school.
Available ACE Program Options: whole grade, mid-year, and single subject promotion; virtual instruction in higher grade level subjects; challenging STEM coursework; enrichment programs; homogeneous grouping or advanced academic courses; combined classroom or grade clustering; self paced instruction, curriculum compacting, advanced content instruction, or telescoping curriculum; magnet schools; Credit Acceleration Program (CAP); and other options established by a district or principal.
Minimum Options: whole grade, mid-year, and single subject promotion; virtual instruction in higher grade level subjects; enrichment programs; and must allow principals the flexibility necessary to provide alternative acceleration options.
Parent Initiated: a performance contract must be signed by student, parent, and principal before participating in an ACE Program option. Performance contracts must require compliance with minimum attendance and student conduct requirements established by the district and participation in extracurricular activities, educational outings, and other activities related to the ACE Program option chosen.
Principal Initiated: student’s parent must be notified before the student participates in the ACE Program. A performance contract is not required but may be used at the principal’s discretion.
Revise Student Progression Plan Requirements
- List ACE Program options available, including the minimum options listed above.
- State student eligibility requirements for each ACE Program option available.
- Establish a parent trigger.
- Authorize all students, not just secondary students, to participate in the Credit Acceleration Program, which is only available for courses with a must pass End-Of-Course assessment, e.g., Algebra I, Geometry, and Biology I.
- Clarify that an elementary school student that takes a middle or high school level course must receive a grade of A-F for that course, as currently required for students in middle and high school.
- Expand parental notification requirements to include the ACE Program, the Credit Acceleration Program, and accelerated high school graduation options.