Welcome to the Covington County School District Page! Our gifted program for the county is called Alpha (Advanced Learning Program for Higher Aptitudes). This program realizes that students with exceptional abilities need differentiated curricula that aligns well with their potential while maximizing that potential. This program, Alpha, provides these students with a time in the school week to interact with their intellectual peers in an environment that is flexible, rich in experiences, and creativity.
Possible Characteristics of Gifted Children
The mission of ALPHA (Advanced Learning Program for Higher Aptitudes) is to provide a qualitatively differentiated curriculum to enable gifted students to reach their potential in the areas of thinking skills, creativity, information literacy, communication skills, affective skills, and success skills.
Goals and Objectives for Alpha- Covington County Gifted Studies Program
Alpha’s overall purpose/goal is to provide intellectually gifted children in grades 2-6 as defined by the Mississippi Department of Education, with educational experiences that meet their specific needs.
To provide a differentiated curriculum that is based on student learning styles and interests
Students will complete a learning style inventory. This information will be used to create curriculum plans and specify teaching methods.
Students will complete an interest inventory. This information will be utilized to help make decisions regarding plans for curriculum.
2. To develop creativity and thinking skills
Based on individual ability, the students will develop their skills in creativity.
Based on individual ability, the students will demonstrate the use of thinking skills.
3. To enhance self-awareness
Students will identify their own strengths and weaknesses.
Students will develop recognition of their individual talents and exhibit them.
4. To develop an awareness of the social-emotional needs
Students will understand the importance of self-esteem.
Students will develop an understanding of how to communicate their needs and develop an understanding of coping strategies.
5. To develop skills in order to become future leaders
Students will identify the necessary characteristics of leaders.
Based on their individual abilities, students will demonstrate leadership skills.
6. To develop lifelong learners
Students will enroll in advanced classes as these options become available.
Students will develop a desire for a college education as they develop an understanding of a variety of career choices.
Mississippi Gifted Regulations and Outcomes
The Covington County Gifted Program is guided by the following two documents:
Regulations for the Gifted Education Programs in Mississippi
Mississippi’s Gifted Education Act mandates that every public school district within the state will provide gifted programs in grades two through six for intellectually gifted children. These students are those who have been found to have an exceptional level of intelligence as documented through the identification process.
For more detailed information regarding the regulations go to www.mdek12.org/OAE/OEER/ALGP
Suggested Outcomes for Intellectually Gifted Education Programs
This document is the basis of all Mississippi gifted programs. It identifies outcomes for all students in grades two through six who are in the gifted program. These outcomes include: communication, creativity, group dynamics, thinking skills, research and self directed learning. The overall goal is metacognition. This is the ability to understand the thinking process and how to use it more effectively.
For more detailed information regarding the outcomes go to www.mdek12.org/OAE/OEER/ALGP
Mass Screening Referral Process
This process in the Covington County School District is administered yearly to all first grade students in the spring. The district uses a normed group measure of intelligence in the Mass Screening Referral Process. The district personnel shall collect more data required to satisfy the mass screening process.
There are two types of gifted referral processes:
*Type One-Mass Screening- Students who score at or above the 90th percentile on the normed group measure of intelligence shall move forward in the process. More data will be compiled. Students who score between 85th and 89th percentile but lower than 90th shall be subjected to an Emerging Potential for Gifted Referral Checklist. If students meet the criteria on this checklist, they shall move forward in the referral process.
*Type Two-Individual Referral-
A student may be referred by a parent, teacher, counselor, administrator, peer, self, or anyone else having reason to believe that the student might be intellectually gifted. The person initiating the referral shall sign the referral form. Once the referral form has been initiated, signed, and dated, only the LSC or parents can stop the identification process. Once the Local Survey Committee has determined that a student has satisfied minimal referral criteria in order to move forward to the assessment stage, district personnel shall review and compile all data available on the student. At this point the parent will be sent a packet of information explaining the referral process and parent permission to test must be gained. This will be documented on the GPPDS. The parent must sign permission to test before any individual testing can be administered. Other data will be compiled and student packets are sent to the LSC. The LSC determines if student proceeds to the final assessment stage. The assessment stage includes an individual test of intelligence, which shall be administered by a licensed examiner. The district psychometrist reviews all the information sent from the LSC. The final assessment instrument is conducted using the most appropriate instrument for the individual student. A student must score at or above the 92nd percentile composite/full scale or 92nd percentile on approved subtest (as per publisher) in order to satisfy eligibility criteria. Once the Assessment Report is finalized, the LSC shall meet to review all data and determine if eligibility criteria have or have not been satisfied. The LSC shall rule that the student is or is not eligible for the intellectually gifted program. The parents shall be notified in writing of each student tested for the the Intellectually Gifted program about the assessment results. After the student has been ruled eligible for the intellectually gifted program, parents must sign consent for placement form in order for their child to receive the gifted services.
Out- of -district and out- of -state gifted eligibilities:
Students moving from another school district in Mississippi who have been ruled intellectually gifted can be placed in the Covington County School district Gifted Program with the parent signing a consent form.
Each state has a set of unique criteria for placement in a gifted program. Hence, a student moving to Mississippi with a gifted eligibility from another state must satisfy Mississippi eligibility criteria before being considered for placement in the gifted program. The eligibility ruling from another state may be used to initiate the referral process in Mississippi. There is no temporary placement in the gifted program while the student goes through the eligibility process with the local district.
Student Progress In Alpha
Gifted education students will be required to show progress in the program. Information about progress will be sent through progress reports/alpha report cards. Parents will be notified of any issues and time will be allotted for the student to rectify problems. If progress is not made, the student may be removed from the program. At the end of each school year, each Alpha student is assessed based on their success in the program. Students who show growth based on the outcomes specified by MDE are recommended to continue in the Alpha program.
Alpha Hearing/Appeals Procedure
*Any parent who is not in agreement with the school- based committee decision to remove a student from the gifted program will present their concerns, orally or in writing to the principal of the school.
* The principal and parent will attempt to resolve the matter informally.
*If the parents are not satisfied with the action taken by the principal, the parents shall, within five (5) school days after the meeting with the principal, submit their concerns in writing to the Covington County School District Director of Special Services.
*The Director of Special Services will schedule a meeting of the District Student Assistance Team within five (5) school days or a timeframe agreed upon by the parents.
*The district Student Assistance Team will render a written decision based on information shared during the meeting.
District Student Assistance Team Members may include, but are not limited to:
Special Education Teachers
General Education Teacher
School District Administrators
School Based Administrators