The way we treat people falls under the belief that we accept families, friends, neighbors, teachers, employers, and all others into everyday life. The Whitko Community Schools Special Services Department assumes that every person is entitled to respect, dignity, equal rights under the law, and opportunities for fulfilling life within the community and its schools.
Programming provided by the Special Services Department includes Title 1, High Ability, Mental Health, Special Education, and the English Language Program.
HELPFUL INFORMATION & FORMS
The English Learner (EL) instructional program is designed to develop proficiency in the listening, speaking, reading, and writing of the English language. Student identification begins with the Home Language Survey (HLS). If the survey indicates a student might be language limited, the state of Indiana requires schools to check eligibility for language services. Student eligibility for the program is determined through the administration of an English language proficiency test. All instruction is provided in English and utilizes the W.I.D.A. Language Standards and an Individual Language Learner Plan (ILLP/ILP) for the cultivation of English language skills and the promotion of academic success in all grade level content areas.
Our program helps Limited English Proficient (LEP) students and supports Fluent English Proficient (FEP) students master Indiana State Standards and W.I.D.A. Standards through focusing on the language domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The program aims to develop competence in the English language and to build a foundation that enables students to be successful in all academic subjects. Therefore, the program functions as a language support program for regular classroom teachers and a language enrichment program for EL students.
- Attend school functions
- Encourage a child at home to achieve
- Provide a quiet place to study
- Show interest in schoolwork
- Read daily to elementary school children
- Be a life-long learner role-model
- Review school work at home
Teachers and assistants who are specifically trained and certified to teach in EL programs and classrooms to meet the special language needs of their students and classroom teachers share the responsibility of meeting EL students’ needs.
High Ability Mission Statement
Whitko recognizes that some students perform at or show the potential to perform at an outstanding level, when compared with other students of the same age or experience and that these students can come from all backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities.
Whitko is dedicated to identifying those students from all populations and providing high ability services in order to meet students’ individual needs; empowering students to create their futures.
Whitko Beliefs About High Ability Learners
- High ability achievement doesn’t happen by chance.
- Staff, students, and parents of Whitko Community Schools understand how giftedness impacts individuals in the intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social domains.
- High ability learners have unique academic & social-emotional needs; therefore these students have access to an education that’s challenging, engaging, and individualized.
- High ability learners are given opportunities to advance at their own pace, are provided authentic learning experiences, and have access to real audiences; beneficial to a future career.
- Educators have an important role and responsibility to high ability learners. Staff of Whitko Community Schools are flexible, provide proper attention to all learners, provide appropriate accommodations to high ability learners, use resources at a professional, knowledgeable level; giving appropriate attention, encouragement, acknowledgement, and rewards to high ability learners.
- All WCS educators involved with curriculum and instruction are responsible in advocating for high ability learners and design challenging learning experiences.
- It’s imperative for the good of all that Whitko Community Schools meet the needs of our high ability students. We highly value our community and want our students to return when they grow up to make our school community even better!
Students are identified as high ability or as having the potential for high ability in General Academic (BOTH Language arts and Mathematics) or Specific Academic (EITHER Language Arts or Mathematics) in early elementary grades.
The following assessments are used to identify Kindergarten and grade 2 students:
- Cognitive Abilities full-battery Test (CogAT) (Ability Measure)
- NWEA/Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) (Achievement Measure)
- Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) (Qualitative Measure)
Students will be reassessed in grades 5, and 8 using the following criteria:
- Otis-Lennon School Ability Test 8th edition (OLSAT 8) (Ability Measure)
- Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) (Achievement Measure)
- Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) (Qualitative Measure)
Multiple Pathways to Identification Policy
Whitko Community School uses a Multiple Pathway Model for identifying high ability students, as recommended by the Indiana Department of Education; and based on best practice. There is more than one way that students can be identified as high ability in our school district.
The pathways include a score in the 96%ile or higher on a norm-referenced measure of ability OR a score in the 95%ile or higher on a norm-referenced measure of achievement OR qualitative indicators of high ability for those whose scores on either the norm-referenced measure of achievement or ability just missed the cut score guidelines for identification.
Assessment Procedure Outline
Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) Form 6:
- Administered to Kindergarten, Grade 2, and Students who move-in to our district in Grade 1
- Kindergarten students take the CogAT during the second semester of school, in January
- Grade 2 takes the CogAT in the late fall of the school year
- The test is in a booklet form and administered by the classroom teacher
- High ability building reps collect all booklets
- The high ability coordinator sends booklets for scoring
- A pool of eligible students is selected from test results
Otis-Lennon School Ability Test 8th Edition (OLSAT) testing cycle:
- Administered to Grades 5 and 8 as well as students who move-in to the district in Grades 3, 4, 6, or 7
- This is an online assessment, administered by classroom teachers
- A pool of eligible students is selected from online test results
Scales for Identification of Gifted Students (SIGS):
- Completed by grade level teachers for the pool of eligible students identified by the OLSAT test in Grades 5 and 8; and for eligible Kindergarten and Grade 2 students as shown by the CogAT
- This is a rating scale scored in a booklet form
- Only areas of math and/or language arts are scored
- Collected by building representatives and given to district coordinator
- This is a qualitative measure used for decision-making in identifying students who have scores on either the norm-referenced measure of ability or achievement fall just below the cut score
Measure of Academic Progress (MAP)
- Administered to all students grades Kindergarten through Grade 8
- Spring scores for the school year are used for high ability identification
- Reading and mathematics scores are utilized in identification for Kindergarten and Grade 2
- Reading, Mathematics, and Language scores are utilized in identification for Grades 5 and 8
As recommended by the Indiana Department of Education, Whitko Community School Corporation utilizes a Multiple Pathways to Identification system to select high ability students.
These pathways include an outstanding score on a norm-referenced measure of ability (96th percentile or higher) OR an outstanding score (95th percentile or higher) on a norm-referenced measure of achievement OR qualitative indicators of high ability for those whose scores on either the norm-referenced measure of achievement or ability just missed the cut score guidelines for identification.
Performance-based assessments that evaluate the performance of students involved in complex learning opportunities through the use of instruments, such as the following:
- Standardized achievement tests
- MAP/NWEA test data
Potential-based assessments that evaluate the potential performance of high ability students through the use of instruments, such as the following:
- Standardized aptitude tests
- Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
- Otis-Lenon Aptitude Test (OLSAT)
Other forms of assessment that include using procedures designed to reduce any assessment biases that may be inherent in other assessment methods used to evaluate the services needed for high ability students.
Utilizing the formal assessments listed above, the Whitko Assessment Program includes provisions for the following:
- Identification Process Kindergarten through Grade 12
- Data Collection
- Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS rating scales)
- Nomination by teachers, parents, student, and peers
- Appeals Policy
- Exit Policy
- Appeal Procedure
- Transfer Student Policy
- Parent Notification
Whitko Community Schools has a High Ability Identification Committee at the district-level, not a building-based level. The identification committee is comprised of the district superintendent, district special education director, and district high ability coordinator. This committee meets at the end of every school year to review, analyze data from aptitude and achievement tests, and for selection of high ability students.
- All test data (aptitude, achievement, and qualitative) are collected and placed on a spreadsheet.
- This is a blind selection process of total anonymity. Student’s names are NOT included when the committee reviews the data and determines who’s selected as high ability.
- Students are identified as high ability in General Intellectual or Specific Academic (Language Arts or Mathematics).
Parents/guardians will be notified if their child is eligible for the high ability program late spring/early summer, after the identification committee has met and determined students who qualify. Parents/Guardians will have the option to consent to or refuse their child’s placement. Parents/Guardians may also file an appeal with the District Coordinator for placement in the program if their child was not identified.
The High Ability District Coordinator, in conjunction with the respective High Ability Building Representatives, will collect and compile the data from nomination forms, assessment scores, rating scales, and any other relevant data. The data will be shared with the district Identification Committee.
The High Ability District Coordinator and High Ability Building Representatives will have access to a high ability electronic database, housing data from each of the Whitko buildings. Data on individual students will be kept, each year, to see a picture of the identified student’s achievement while at Whitko Community Schools.
Test scores and differentiation data will be placed in the district’s Pivot recording system for documentation of individual student’s curriculum and achievement.
A student may be nominated for the high ability program by parent/guardian, teacher, peer, the student, or any other person familiar with the student’s abilities, potential or performance. Nomination forms are available in the office of each school, by contacting the High Ability District Coordinator, or at the link below.
Nomination forms should be completed and returned to the High Ability District Coordinator. Once a student has been nominated, the High Ability District Coordinator will gather from existing assessments, parent/guardian, teacher, portfolio, and determine if further testing is needed.
The data will be taken to the district-level Identification Committee to determine if the student should be identified as high ability and what services the student should receive.
In the event that an identified student from Whitko Community Schools transfers out of the district, the school will send documentation of the screening/identification, with the other records of the student, to the receiving district upon request.
When a student identified by another district transfers into Whitko Community Schools, the student’s records will be reviewed by the District Identification Committee and a determination will be made whether or not placement in the High Ability Program is appropriate for the student.
At the time of registration for a new student, a parent/guardian will be asked to complete the New Student Request for High Ability Screening Form available in the respective school office indicating if the student has received high ability services perviously or if the parent/guardian or student requests the student be screened for high ability services. The form is forwarded to the District High Ability Coordinator to determine what data is needed and conducts the appropriate screening of the student for high ability services. Screening may include the administration of potential based assessments, performance based assessments, high ability behavior rating scales, interview, anecdotal records, and/or portfolio items.
After the screening is complete, the District Identification Committee will meet and determine if high ability services are appropriate for the student. The parent/guardian will be notified of the committee’s decision and will be advised of their options regarding the appeal process if the student was not selected for the program.
At any time a parent/guardian, teacher, counselor, or the student may request that a student be furloughed from the high ability program.
The District Identification Committee consisting of Whitko Community Schools Superintendent, Whitko Community Schools Special Education Direction and Whitko Community Schools High Ability District Coordinator, and any other individual acting in the best interest of the child will meet and consider the furlough request. If it is determined that it is in the best interest of the student to be temporarily removed from the high ability program, furlough options will be considered.
The purpose of such a furlough is to provide the student an opportunity to attain performance goals established by the team. A student may be furloughed for a period of time deemed appropriate by the committee. At the end of the furlough period, the student’s progress shall be reassessed and a determination will be made as to the educational setting that will be most appropriate for the student at that particular time. The committee may decide that the student may re-enter the program, may be exited from the program, or may be placed on another furlough.
If the committee determines the students should re-enter the program and the parents object, the parent must sign a waiver indicating they are removing their child from Whitko’s High Ability Program and that they understand their child will not receive the services of an identified High Ability student.
Inclusion is a philosophy that has as its central tenet “all children belong.” Whitko Community Schools practices this inclusion philosophy in an effort to provide a better educational environment for students with disabilities. Along with promoting this philosophy, Whitko Community Schools developed a belief statement, “All Children Can Learn in the Mainstream of School and Community: Diversity is Valued and Celebrated.” Inclusion is the process of acknowledging people with disabilities as people first.
Inclusion involves the careful assessment of the needs of each student and the application of measures that will meet those needs. Properly implemented through teamwork, collaboration, co-planning, and co-teaching, inclusive practices benefit all students. Some of the many gains made through inclusive practices are in the areas of social interaction, language development, appropriate behaviors, self-esteem, and academic performance.
Inclusion means that students with disabilities are educated in supported, heterogeneous, age-appropriate, natural, student-centered classrooms, schools and community environments for the purpose of preparing them for their adult lives in a diverse and integrated society.
There are varying degrees of inclusive practices. Whitko Community Schools practices “responsible inclusion.” Responsible inclusion means that a student will be placed in the regular educational environment if the student can be successful with or without supplemental aids and services, the student will benefit academically and/or socially, and the student’s presence does not have an adverse effect on the rest of the class. Through inclusive practices, we develop patience, acceptance, helpfulness, diversity, and compassion.
What is Title I?
Title 1 is the largest federally funded education program in the United States. Authorized by Congress, it provides supplemental funds to school districts to assist eligible public and private schools with the highest student concentration of poverty to meet school educational goals.
How do we use Title I funds in WCS?
The purpose of Title I in Whitko Community Schools is to assist schools in improving student achievement, staff development and parental involvement. Whitko Community Schools receiving Title I funds include Pierceton Elementary School as a School wide Program and South Whitley Elementary School as a Targeted Assistance program. Schools utilize Title I funds to enhance the regular district instructional program. Our Title I schools use these supplemental funds to:
- add highly qualified staff
- support parent and community involvement efforts
- improve staff development
- purchase additional instructional materials and supplies
- add technology and needed equipment
Title I Historical Time Line
1965: Title I is the largest program of federal funding in education, signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson. President Johnson recognized the extremely difficult problem that children throughout the country were having with their reading, and mathematics. In an effort to help them catch up, extra attention, materials and teachers were provided by the Elementary Secondary Education act, Title I (ESEA).
1981: President Ronald Reagan formed the Education Consolidation Improvement Act, Chapter I Basic (ECIA).
1988: ECIA, Chapter I Basic program became the Hawkins-Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Act of 1988.
1994: Congress passed a series of educational legislation, submitted by President Bill Clinton, strengthening the parent-school community partnerships.
July 1, 1995: After reauthorization, the program is now Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
December, 2001: President Bush signed into law the “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB).
The Title I law requires the meaningful involvement of parents in school level planning, development and design of initiatives to improve student achievement supported by Title I funds.
Parent involvement is crucial to the success of the students. Please take some time to review the final draft of the Parent Involvement Policy and let us know if you have any questions or additions.
Supplemental Educational Services (SES)
Whitko School provides SES (Supplemental Educational Services) for students in Pierceton Elementary School that qualify for such services. The location of tutorial services depends on the provider. Some provide services as described at home. Most are providing services in school typically meeting in the commons area of Pierceton Elementary School. One will either provide services at Pierceton or at their Warsaw facility.
SES Provider Names and Descriptions
Abacus In-Home Tutoring, Inc. – Services provided in home or at Pierceton Elementary School
Brain Hurricane – Services provided at Pierceton Elementary School
Northern Indiana Educational Services Center – Services provided at Pierceton Elementary School
SES National – Services provided at Pierceton Elementary School
Summit Learning Services Inc. – Services provided at Pierceton Elementary School
Sylvan Learning Center: Warsaw, IN – Services provided at Pierceton Elementary School or their Warsaw facility
SES Participation Process
- Parents of eligible students receive a letter indicating their student’s eligibility. The letter indicates the nature of eligibility and includes an enrollment form and SES provider information.
- Parents are given a deadline for each round of recruitment.
- Pierceton Elementary School is designated as being in Improvement status which means students can transfer to South Whitley Elementary School based on the program called Choice.
School Choice Options Provided by the No Child Left Behind Act
If a student is attending a school within the Corporation that has failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in increasing student academic achievement, such student shall be allowed to attend another school within the corporation that made AYP, provided there is a school in the Corporation that offers instruction at the student’s grade level and such school has not been identified as being in the process of school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring and has not been identified as persistently dangerous.
Not later than the first day of school of the school year following the school year in which the school has been identified as failing to make AYP and in need of school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring by the State Board of Education, the Board will provide students and parents with the opportunity to transfer to another school within the Corporation beginning with the start of the next school year. Priority will be given to the lowest achieving children from low income families within the Corporation.
If the student elects transfer to another school within the Corporation, such transfer will be in effect until the student’s original school is no longer identified as being in the process of school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring and has made AYP for two (2) consecutive years. Additionally, although the transfer is temporary in nature, a student will be permitted to remain at the receiving school until s/he has completed the highest grade offered at the school.
If transfer within the Corporation is not possible (i.e., all the schools at a grade level are in school improvement or there is only one (1) school in the Corporation at the student’s grade level), the Board will provide students and parents with the opportunity to receive Supplemental Educational Services (SES). SES will be provided outside the regular school day and may include such services as tutoring, remediation, and other educational interventions designed to increase student academic achievement.
When parents request that their child attend a school other than the one in their attendance area, they will be asked to sign the Student Transfer Agreement Form 5120 F1 which contains a statement of agreement that the child may have to be transferred back to his/her attendance area school if class size, teacher-student ratio, or other specified criteria are no longer feasible to maintain. If the transfer is approved, the principal shall complete Form 5120 F2, Transfer Notification, and send it to the parents.
In accordance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Section 1111 (h)(6) PARENTS’ RIGHT TO KNOW, this is a notification from Whitko Schools that you have the right to request and receive information in a timely manner regarding the professional qualifications of your student’s classroom teachers.
This information shall include the following:
- If the teacher has met state qualification and licensing criteria for the grade level and subject areas taught;
- If the teacher is teaching under emergency or temporary status in which Indiana qualifications and licensing criteria are waved;
- The teachers’ baccalaureate degree major, graduate certification, and field of discipline; and
- Whether the student is provided services by paraprofessionals, and if so their qualifications.
If at any time your student has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher that is not highly qualified, you will be notified by the school of this information.
As part of the Title I program, students, parents and teachers sign an agreement together to make sure everyone is well informed, on the same page, and ready to work together! Both Pierceton Elementary and South Whitley Elementary are Title I schools. Here is an example of that agreement:
THE BLUE TEAM
Through their instruction at Whitko Career Academy, students on the Blue Team are able to pursue their interests while learning employable skills to prepare to enter the work force. Blue Team members participate in courses including Construction, Intro to Manufacturing, and Culinary Arts. The Blue Team not only gains valuable job skills at the career academy, they are also building their own independence and self-reliance.