A Standards-Aligned Curriculum for Gifted Learners within the Cluster Model of Gifted Education:
Durango District 9-R provides a vertically aligned curriculum for gifted learners within the Cluster Model of Gifted Education to ensure academic achievement not only for gifted learners, but also for ALL learners. Students’ proficiency on pretests helps educators plan their instruction to provide compacted curriculum and advanced learning opportunities in Durango Schools in a multi-tiered system of support for students of all ages. Progress monitoring and adjustments through formative assessments and flexible grouping models ensure students receive appropriate opportunities for challenge, growth, and acceleration based on need.
Multi-Tiered System of Support for Gifted Learners:
Gifted teachers at each building support gifted learners’ academic and social-emotional needs in a multi-tiered system of support. Gifted teachers use a team model with general education teachers, interventionists, and counselors. Elementary teachers focus their time on a variety of strategies, including cluster grouping, inclusion, and pull-out models. As students become more advanced and their data support content needs, 9-R transitions to advanced courses and acceleration offerings. Durango uses the Iowa Acceleration Scale to guide acceleration decisions.
High-Impact Services Aligned with Student Need:
Durango uses qualitative and quantitative data to inform programming decisions for students’ unique needs. Students’ areas of identification, their current passions, their cultural identities, their cultural context, and their current performance abilities help educators work with all stakeholders to modify programs for their individual needs. Gifted teachers monitor progress with input from all stakeholders to ensure current programming is effective and modify programs as needed.
Services for Reluctant Learners:
Durango provides annual training for all gifted teachers in engaging reluctant learners and utilizes a team dynamic for gifted learners in a multi-tiered system of support when they struggle. A multidisciplinary team may consist of the school counselor, the principal, the classroom teacher, family members, the gifted teacher, the school nurse, the gifted coordinator, the Title VI coordinator, the director of student special services, and/or the coordinator of English language development. At any given time these support staff are needed when gifted learners struggle. Durango Schools supports ALL reluctant learners, including reluctant learners who are gifted.
Social-Emotional Learning for Gifted Students:
Durango provides annual training for all gifted teachers in the social-emotional needs of gifted learners and utilizes a curriculum called Second Step. The curriculum directly supports the unique needs of ALL learners, including gifted learners who are culturally and linguistically diverse, who are experiencing poverty, and who have experienced trauma. All stakeholders (including students) are evaluating the efficacy of each instructional unit for revisions and changes over the summer for this curriculum adoption.
College and Career Readiness:
Gifted learners at both high schools in Durango District 9-R participate in a rigorous college and career readiness program through the guidance offices in Durango Schools. The school guidance counselors are also the gifted specialists for Durango Schools, ensuring that all gifted learners have outstanding support in secondary education with a wide variety of college and career opportunities throughout their educational career in the district.
Durango District 9-R regularly reviews students’ performance data in a multi-tiered system of support to find talented students and develop their talents regardless of formal identification. Students who score at the 80th percentile on qualifying assessments automatically are automatically referred for talent pool services where they receive support for talent development based on their unique needs. All stakeholders can refer students for identification and for services through the talent pool at any time during the year when they see a need. No student is denied services based on the outcome or score on a single assessment. All students are provided with opportunities to build a body of evidence when referred for identification and need-based services through a multi-tiered system of support in Durango’s talent development program.