Academics

Advanced Learning

LOYAL HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY Otto Logo

Advanced Learning at Loyal Heights

Loyal Heights is committed to providing a rich learning environment that creates high expectations for every child. We believe that each student should be given the opportunities and supports to be highly successful at their individual level. Staff holds high expectations for students as well as themselves by teaching in effective and engaging ways. We use data and progress monitoring to appropriately differentiate for each student.

This model serves our students in need of advanced learning services as well as meets the needs of all students. We provide this rigorous learning environment for all students by utilizing the following: differentiated instruction, flexible grouping, enrichment opportunities, and cross-grade partnerships.

Visit the Seattle Public Schools Advanced Learning page for additional information. 

Underlying Differentiation Principles

Teachers will differentiate instruction in all classrooms. At Loyal Heights, we deliver accelerated instruction for students that demonstrate mastery of grade level content for specific areas, and for students with official SPS AL designations as appropriate. All accelerated content occurs within the class or grade level cohort.

Based on works published by the ASCD (Tomlinson, et. Al.), these are the foundational principles for differentiating instruction:

•Differentiate by content “what you teach”: Differentiated content can be based on the variety of learning styles, interests (choice), learning contracts, targeted resources, acceleration, and curriculum compacting etc.

•Differentiate by process, or “how you teach it”: Differentiated processes can include multi-modal instruction, tiered curriculum, learning centers, learning contracts, journal prompts, choice of work partners etc.

•Differentiate by product “how you assess it”: Differentiated products: self-assessment and peer assessment strategies, project-based learning, tiered rubrics, interest-based assignments, etc.

•Differentiate by learning environment “where it takes place”: Differentiated learning environments include a focus on development of the classroom as a community of learners; strategies can include formative assessment practices, collaborative development of classroom procedures, class meetings, shared decision making, response journals, debates, “me” presentations etc.

Identifying Need for Advanced Learning

Students will be identified for AL services based on several qualifying factors. In general, advanced, or accelerated learning, will be based on subject and individual progress throughout the year, with students not being locked into the offerings. Additionally, all students may qualify for these offerings.

1)Under our schoolwide Multi-Tiered Systems and Supports (MTSS) process, we will provide screening in reading, writing, and math at various points in the year. Any student demonstrating mastery of current grade level standard, will qualify for advanced learning services. Our MTSS Core Team, consisting of our administration, counselor, academic specialist, and a Special Education rep, will review results with grade level teams at multiple points in the year.

2)Teachers will identify and indicate if students are receiving advanced learning during our once per 8 week grade level team MTSS meeting. Teachers may include additional progress monitoring in addition to whole school screeners.

3)Through the district AL identification process, Loyal Heights students designated as AL or HC will have access to advanced learning. While a student may have a particular designation, if a student is struggling in a particular area, they can also be identified as needing intervention.

Differentiation Strategies at Loyal Heights

The following is a list of differentiated learning opportunities available at Loyal Heights. Teachers, by grade level, will communicate specific information as to how this occurs in their class.

Literacy

Teachers identify reading levels of all students, which allows the following:

  • Independent reading: Students are provided with choice books they read to appropriately place them in groups of interest and advanced ability
  • Shared Reading and Book Clubs: Students will be paired or partnered with peers at similar reading levels. This creates a supportive learning environment for a range of readers to develop reading with higher level thinking skills.
  • Students will receive literacy instruction and assignments in varying levels of complexity and depth based on the current standard of study.
  • Students demonstrating mastery of a skill or standard will work at an accelerated pace to enable lesson extensions based on current standard of study.
  • Advanced readers will move to more challenging reading groups upon mastery.

Writing assignment rubrics identify more in-depth or advanced written response options that are graded by the teacher. Note: This includes ELA and Social Studies.

Project rubrics include more in depth-response options that are graded by the teacher. Note: This includes ELA and Social Studies.

Mathematics

  • Students move in and out of math groups depending upon individual strengths. This leveling will be flexible, occur within the classroom or grade level, and students will be grouped each trimester, or unit, based on current performance. Based on grade level, this may occur within a class or among classes.
  • Based on groupings, teachers offer individualized and deeper instruction to students within like ability levels, thus allowing students to go deeper into instruction with teacher and peers.
  • Students will receive their math instruction and assignments in varying levels of complexity and depth based on the current standard of study.
  • Students demonstrating mastery of a skill or standard will work at an accelerated pace to enable lesson extensions based on current standard of study.
  • Teachers will offer extension activities for all students to complete that will be graded/scored to provide feedback.

Additional Enrichment and Leadership Opportunities

  • Global reading challenge: This Seattle Public Library program occurs each year. 4th and 5th grade students join this event with students around the region.
  • Field trips that focus on learning targets
  • Science fair projects are scored with students receiving feedback
  • Leadership opportunities for students including Student Council, Library Helpers, Buddy Classrooms, and other programs based on the given school year