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Services for Families


The ALPS Office maintains responsive partnerships with families to address the academic, social, and emotional needs of students formally identified as advanced learners and consult with school site administrators to develop supplemental services to further students’ critical thinking, creativity, and perseverance.


Advanced learner identification process

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Advanced Learner Identification Criteria

The ALPS office is responsible for having an identification process in place that is representative of ALL of our NVUSD students.  Our goal is to provide resources to school sites to meet the needs of all advanced learners during the school day. 

To accomplish this, we have developed identification criteria based upon second language acquisition research, input from the English Learner Services department and from teachers. 

Multi Measures data points are reviewed that include scores from Reading Inventory, Math Inventory, District Writing Assessment and California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) in addition to CogAT scores. 

>  Advanced Learner Identification Criteria

Are all advanced learners "gifted"?

Advanced learners are students who benefit from instruction that challenges and extends learning beyond the core curriculum. These include students often perform very well on assessments and are often considered “high achievers.” Typically, classroom instructional approaches that include differentiation, depth and complexity, and choice/independent learning sufficiently challenge these students. 

Gifted learners, on the other hand, are those who exhibit characteristics markedly different from their peers. They may have comprehension and cognitive skills two or more years ahead of their age and need material that is much more complex than what is offered at their grade level. 

Not all advanced learners are “gifted,” but all students deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. The purpose of identifying advanced learners is to ensure that students who would benefit from increased challenge and/or supplemental services receive opportunity to  enhance their motivation and engagement, as well as academic, social, or emotional learning.  

Defining Giftedness

Any student who exhibits the need for extra challenge (or support) in school may benefit from a Student Success Team (SST) meeting. 

The SST is an intervention process that brings together parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and students if appropriate, to identify strengths and needs and discuss recommendations and strategies to support and challenge students in class.

To schedule an SST Meeting, contact your child’s classroom teacher or site ALPS Lead and let them know you would like to schedule an SST. They will notify the SST coordinator (or principal). 

The ALPS Office is a resource for teachers, SST coordinators and principals to discuss student needs, parent concerns, and/or teacher perspectives. A representative of the ALPS Office may be available to attend an SST meeting upon request.

In our experience, fewer than 10% of students who retake the CogAT score differently. For that reason, we do not tend to support retesting a student. Further, our office supports a "service follows need" model, so all students who need more challenge are entitled to classroom level support (e.g., acceleration, clustering, differentiation, depth & complexity, independent work, etc.).

On occasion, we get requests for a student to be retested for ALPS. When this happens, we follow a protocol to a.) identify the reason for the retest request; b.) examine past scores on the CogAT to look for errors or discrepancies; c.) consider the students academic needs. 

The ALPS office regularly evaluates our identification process to ensure equitable application across the district and proportional identification of diverse populations. To request that your child be retested, please complete the Parent Referral Form.

If students score at or above a certain level on the CogAT, we utilize additional assessments (such as the Reading Inventory or Math Inventory, and the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) for ELA or Math) to identify students.

Identification criteria for English Language Learners (ELLs) is based on second language acquisition research, input from the English Learner Services department and from teachers. 

Yes! Some students are exceptional in some learning areas, but challenged in others. These students have a unique profiles, such as: 

  • Students who are gifted in language, but struggle with focusing, self control issues, and defiance.

  • Students with specific learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, or visual or auditory processing difficulties) who excel at art or music. 

  • Limited English Proficient Students who are enrolled in READ 180 or System 44 to help support their acquisition of English, but may be highly advanced in math.

Students with “uneven” development in two areas are sometimes referred to as “twice exceptional” (2e).