Nov. 18 Dept. of Teaching and Learning Update: Services for English Learners, Special Education and Gifted Students

Dear APS Parent or Guardian,

The Department of Teaching and Learning is pleased to share the following updates regarding delivery of services to special education, Gifted and English Learners as we remain in distance learning.

Special Education Level 1
On Nov. 4, we welcomed approximately 230 students with disabilities to 33 different school buildings for in-person learning support. This is an important step forward in our Return-to-School Plan.

The Office of Special Education and the Parent Resource Center (PRC) are pleased to celebrate Family Engagement in Education Month. The PRC continues to provide information and support to families to encourage family engagement in special education through video and phone consultations, weekly parent communications, collaboration with the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee and Arlington SEPTA, and a variety of learning opportunities. The PRC is co-sponsoring Project Core Parent Series sessions on Monday evenings with Assistive Technology and Low-Incidence/Autism Specialists, and has continued to host Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) training sessions for families in collaboration with the CPI team. The PRC hosted a regional PRC meeting earlier this month. Later this month, the PRC will co-host the following session:

Understanding Transition Services: Employment Connections
Wed, Nov. 18 from 7-9 p.m.

APS Transition Services, PRC and Program for Employment Preparedness (PEP) are sponsoring the second in a monthly series of transition workshops. This month’s session will feature opportunities for families to learn about employment supports from a host of community and agency partners. Presenters will include ServiceSource, Melwood, Didlake and many others.

English Learners (EL)
In the last message, we shared what instruction looks like for English learners as they acquire English and learn new content (ie: language arts, science, etc.). These two components are taught in tandem and therefore students can practice their nearly acquired English and use it to talk, write and read about the new content.

Below, is an example of learning mathematics and the language of mathematics. This was from an English Learner teacher, teaching elementary math. The teacher explained what place value is and about tens and ones.

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Once the students learned about the place values and had some time to practice using their new math, the teacher had them use a sentence frame to talk about the mathematics. This is an example of language and content in tandem.

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In the example below, from a middle school English learner class, the students were learning US history and using their new vocabulary and grammar. This example shows, again, the teaching of the content and the language in tandem. This also shows the use of academic language, which is language that students need in each content area. The examples, overwhelm and retreat, are words that are not commonly used, but are important to understand for this history lesson.

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Gifted Services
Engagement is a top priority to all of us in APS and in Gifted Services, we focus much of our work around our APS Critical and Creative Thinking Framework. Another top priority is sharing ways families can use critical and creative thinking strategies to extend learning after lessons end and offer opportunities for the whole family to experience tasks that are engaging, enjoyable, and perhaps even a source of inspiration. Because of these goals and the innovation of RTGs, the CCT Family Edition was born.

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Take a look at the introductory PowerPoint with notes to learn the thinking behind this idea and how it was structured. Then select one of the Choice Boards to do as a family. They can all be found on the Gifted Services website in the Resources section. The icons below each represent a CCT strategy and can help you select a new one to try or do another activity each week around the same strategy.

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The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) hosted a virtual 67th Annual Convention Re-imagined! this past week. As a school district, we were able to secure a site license for interested families who would like to learn about research in gifted education, strategies and ideas to support families working collaboratively with teachers and administrators. There are several sessions from which to choose in the Parent, Family and Community and we’ve listed a few below:

  • Developing Resilience in Gifted Students
  • Social Emotional Learning in Early Childhood: Practical Strategies for Families & Educators
  • Parents’ Recognition, Expectation, and Differentiation for Young Gifted Learners
  • Navigating the World as a Gifted Student of Color
  • Engaging the Parents of Gifted Hispanic/Latino and ELL Students
  • Six Life-Changing Strategies for Raising Gifted Children with ADHD
  • Empowering, Engaging and Sustaining Successful Grassroots Advocacy

These sessions will be available to us until May 2021. To access these and even more sessions of interest, please see Steps to Register.


Gifted Services in Action @APSGifted: 

Spotlight on Schools 

Long Branch Elementary School

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Jamestown Elementary

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Gunston Middle School 

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Jefferson Middle School

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W-L High School

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Wakefield High School  

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