WRITTEN EDUCATION PLANS
Introduction - Lea Pearson, President
Here is what the law says: The Ohio code 3301 5115
Instruction shall be based on the individual's needs and be guided by a written education plan. The district shall provide parents with periodic reports regarding the effectiveness of service provided regarding the child's WEP. The WEP must match service based on areas of identification.
The state mandates that we identify (ID) gifted and talented students.
They tell us what tests to use and what the different categories mean.
They provide funding in order for us to ID -
BUT they do not mandate that we serve the students.
The state requires us to report information on who is identified and served. This includes what kind of service: such as cluster groups, resource room, self-contained classroom
We cannot report to the state that a student is served unless there is a WEP for that student (this is the state's way of making sure that gifted students get served)
We have approximately 12,000 students identified as Gifted and Talented in Columbus schools. We are trying to identify and serve as many as we can. We know we are not catching them all, but we are serving more and more every year.
Kinds of services:
Cluster Grouping - one of the kinds of service. What is it? It is a way of serving it enables us to serve more kids more efficiently. We began using it since 2001 and now have cluster grouping at elementary and middle school levels. We hope one day to spread to high schools.
Let us say you have 6 gifted students in the 3rd grade, and instead of spreading them out to 3 classrooms, you put them all in one classroom. It gives them an opportunity to work together, and makes better use of the specialist's time - otherwise he or she would have to confer with three teachers about those 6 students. It is more efficient if we cluster them in one classroom - more effective for the consultant but also better for the children because they need to be with each other. Often when students move on to middle school they find out it is not popular to be gifted and talented. Clustering them helps reinforce that it is ok to be smart.
To keep the cluster model thriving, it is seen as a staff development model: we train the teacher to meet the needs of the gifted students in the classroom. The teacher has the responsibility to differentiate, or adjust the curriculum, for the children in the classroom.
Another kind of service is pullout: a specialist would take those 6 gifted students and work with them in special problem-solving lessons.
We are also trying to create a better transition between middle and high school through a pilot program known as Vertical Team Training. Teachers from 3 high schools and 4 middle schools are participating in all-day sessions to plan a continuum of service for kids 6-10th grade. We want to continue challenging kids, not have them repeat things they have already learned. A next logical step from this might be to send the 8th graders into the high school in the clusters that already exist.
What is a WEP?
It is a communication tool that drives the services for identified students and helps student, teacher, and parent select goals that are attainable by the student.
It can be reviewed and revised as necessary.
It is a living, working document, not just a form for the staff to complete and file.
It is in some ways similar to the Individual Education Plan (IEP), which is a more complex plan for special education students required by the federal government.
How do we use the WEP with parents?
At parent teacher conferences in November and in February. the specialist is at your school and available to discuss the WEP with you and your child - you both should have input into it.
Who should know about the WEP plans and hopes and goals?
Principal, Teachers, Gifted Intervention Specialists, you and your child.
They kids have already seen their WEPs. We try to narrow it down and ask them, “ which goal do you think you should work on at this time?”
Such as: getting homework done, developing organizing skills
The student and specialist work on that goal for the first half of the year, then evaluate how successful they were, and set new goals for the second half of the year.
The WEP gives us a place to evaluate whether the goals were met and also how effective the services provided were.
The first part of the WEP shows test scores that indicate in what area the student is identified, listed on a label in the upper left hand corner. There may be several years of testing data on that label.
The plan lists the codes for the state data system - EMIS. These codes indicate what services are being provided. Codes are mainly for the state information system, but service is not limited by that. we try to fill it out as fairly as we can.
In the WEP section on skills a student is asked to select at least one goal from each section:
There is a place to evaluate in November, February, and May - where are they now and where do we want them to be by the end of the year?
QUESTIONS FROM PARENTS
Who does the WEP?
It is a collaborative effort between the GS and the teacher. The Specialist decides which gifted service the child is receiving.
Why don't all gifted students have WEP's?
By law, each specialist can prepare only 60 WEPS. With 12,000 gifted students and a staff of about 50, Columbus would have 400 WEPS per specialist. So, if a specialist is responsible for more than 60 students, the classroom teacher can prepare the WEP.
What is subject acceleration?
Student moves up a grade level or 2 in reading or math or whatever subject. Usually means going to a different classroom. Sometimes the teacher is willing to accommodate that student with extra information, and the student can stay in the same classroom.
How do they determine what grade level student can do?
It is all done at the building level - the teacher and principal decide.
Grade acceleration is when the student moves up a whole grade, and is decided within the G&T office.
What are Academic Options? These are special activities for when a student is talented in a specific area :geography, spelling, math, chess, etc.) Not every option is offered in every school. They are usually during the school day - you can ask if they can go to another school to do an activity that is not in their school?
Why isn't the WEP sent home to parents?
It would not be sent home because it requires a lot of explanation.
How do the evaluations take place? - the classroom teacher, Gifted Specialist, and student will discuss it unless parent calls and asks to be part of it. They can also come to the parent-teacher conference. The difficulty in reaching all parents is that some specialists are serving 4 and 5 schools, and they can not get to every school conference in Nov. and Feb. If you can't make the conference day, please call the gifted specialist and make an appointment to meet.
Are the classroom teachers looking at the WEPs?
Our goal is to work with the classroom teachers and model the gifted strategies so the classroom teacher can follow through with those strategies.
Should we expect the classroom teacher to have this available? Or do we have to request it prior to the conference?
Classroom teachers should have it, but you should request in advance that they go over it with you. If the Gifted Specialist (GS) sits in on the conference the GS will have it. At those meetings you can change or add things to it.
DIFFERENTIATION STRATEGIES (Handout) - you can share these with the teacher and ask: does my student have opportunities to do any of these - can he or she work with other students? Specialist and teacher communicate about these strategies together.
You should be receiving a quarterly newsletter from your gifted specialist.
Call the gifted office if you are not.
Summary of WEP research and best practices.
Ask for parent input on communication
Parent Comments -
Choosing CPS schools and classes: How to make sure our kids are getting the classes they need Panel suggestions