Whole Grade Acceleration
Whole grade acceleration is the practice of assigning a student to a higher grade level than is typical, given the student’s age, for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities in all subject areas. Grade acceleration may be done at the beginning of the school year.
Applications are only accepted between March 1 and May 15 of each school year.
The district has established a collaborative process for evaluation. This process ensures that families are a part of our team, as well as students when appropriate. Teachers, families, students or administrators can request that a student be single-subject or whole grade-level accelerated. District 97 staff and school administrators are responsible for evaluating referrals. Applications are only accepted between March 1 and May 15 of each school year.
To start the application process, families and/or students must submit a (home) school-specific pre-application form (below). The acceleration process is outlined here.
Beye Elementary School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Brooks Middle School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Hatch Elementary School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Holmes Elementary School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Irving Elementary School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Julian Middle School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Lincoln Elementary School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Longfellow Elementary School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Mann Elementary School: SY23 Pre-Application Form
Once a request is made, the referred student’s principal or designee will convene the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Team to review a variety of data sources representative of the student’s academic performance. Continuing this year: One of the data sources reviewed MUST be the results of the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) in English Language Arts and Mathematics for students who are grade eligible to take the assessment. The IAR is a measure of the mastery of grade level standards and is required for the MTSS team to determine eligibility for whole grade acceleration. Additional information about the IAR can be found here.
The MTSS team shall evaluate all students who are referred for possible acceleration and whose family or legal guardian(s) have granted permission to evaluate the student for possible accelerated placement. The team will analyze multiple criteria from a body of evidence, resulting in a profile of strengths, needs and interests of the child. Test scores alone will not determine acceleration.
The MTSS team may be comprised of, but not limited to, the following:
- A principal or assistant principal from the student’s school;
- A current teacher of the referred student for whom acceleration is being considered;
- A teacher at the grade level to which the student may be accelerated;
- A school social worker and/or school psychologist if requested by the school MTSS Lead and/or building administrator;
- An enrichment specialist;
- A family or legal guardian of the referred student or a representative designated by a family or legal guardian;
- The student, if age appropriate and with family/guardian permission.
The school’s MTSS Team will conduct a fair and thorough evaluation of the student using a researched assessment tool, such as the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS), and a variety of data sources, including but not limited to:
- An assessment of the mastery of grade level standards (IAR PARTICIPATION IS REQUIRED)
- Out-of-level achievement test(s) and/or content area aptitude assessment(s);
- Measurement of ability, measured by an intelligence (IQ) assessment
- Consideration of the impact single subject/whole grade acceleration may have on future coursework and long-term academic planning;
- Consideration of the student’s maturity and own thoughts on possible accelerated placement.
All criteria must be considered in making the determination for acceleration; test scores alone do not meet the standards of a determination. A student may score at the 90th percentile or above on aptitude and achievement tests but not have data that supports school readiness. Every child with a score above 90th percentile may not benefit from single-subject or whole-grade acceleration.
Acceleration decisions will be a consensus process. If the team cannot reach consensus, the district's chief academic and accountability officer shall make the final decision in accordance with the district's single-subject or whole-grade program plan. The decision as to whether a student qualifies for single-subject acceleration or whole-grade acceleration is at the sole discretion of the district.
Once a decision has been made, a letter will be sent to the child's family indicating recognition and support of the child's placement.