ADVANCED LEARNER PROGRAM
Advanced Learner Program (ALP) at Holy Family Grade School
Holy Family Grade School’s Advanced Learner Program (ALP) recognizes that all students, including advanced learners, come to school to learn and be challenged. The program uses a three-pronged approach:
- In-Class Differentiation. This is the most important part of our ALP. It ensures that everyday instruction in our classrooms, whether distance learning or in-person, is being tailored to address the needs of our high-ability learners. Homeroom teachers are free to employ a variety of methods, e.g., asking special “challenge questions” during lessons, providing the opportunity to pre-test at the start of a chapter or unit (in order to be excused from homework for material that has already been mastered) and offering extension activities that deepen current knowledge or skills. Participation here is fluid (offered to all), not tied to a rigid percentage of the total class.
- Move-Up Math (MUM). At the discretion of the homeroom teacher, some students who are capable of attending math class at the next grade level up will be offered the opportunity to do so. MUM gives those students exposure to more advanced math, without the pressure of being assessed or graded, but with the possibility of participating in its class work. Participation is sometimes subject to what schedules will allow.
- Special Projects. The last part of our ALP, one that is still being developed as of this writing, envisions weekly meetings for a select group of advanced learners to be challenged with age-appropriate hands-on projects, probably with a coding or engineering orientation. Special Projects meetings will be either after school or carved out school-wide at a designated time. A hallmark of these activities will be a minimum of direction by the supervising adult, giving participants maximum freedom in how to solve real-life science or engineering problems.
Besides high academic achievement (as measured by grades and STAR test results), participation in the school’s ALP, especially in MUM and Special Projects, will depend significantly on perceived student interest, positive attitude, maturity and good conduct.