What is ACE?
The ACE Program (Academic and Creative Enrichment) offers identified gifted students services not ordinarily provided by the general education program. This enrichment program is different in content, process, product, and learning environment. Using broad based themes, many disciplines are integrated into the area of study. Students are encouraged to develop independent study skills and develop higher level thinking skills. ACE students are motivated to develop products that use new techniques or expand existing ideas. Gifted students are supported by a trained and experienced staff that lead the student into understanding themselves and others. The focus is to develop a positive attitude toward facing challenges and acquiring knowledge.
Who Are the Gifted?
The current definition of giftedness, according to the Department of Education of Alabama, states: Intellectually gifted children and youth are those who perform at or have demonstrated the potential to perform at high levels in academic or creative endeavors when compared with others of their age, experience or environment. Gifted students may be found within any race, ethnicity, gender, economic class, or nationality. In addition, some students with disabilities may be gifted.
What is the Referral Process?
In order to be identified as a gifted student in the Madison County School System, the elementary student may be referred for consideration to the program by teachers, administrators, counselors, or parents. Initially, a series of screening products are gathered. These products include parental input, creative student products, standardized test results, and classroom teacher checklists. If the student meets or exceeds screening criteria, an aptitude test may be given. An eligibility team reviews the data collected and then the parents are notified of the results.
What are the Program Offerings for Gifted Students?
Consultative services are available for children in grades K-2. Students in 3rd-5th grades attend a pull-out program in a resource classroom for 2-3 hours one day a week. Units of study are of high interest and include those of the student’s choosing. Higher order thinking skills, inductive and deductive reasoning, research skills, creativity, and creative problem solving are introduced in the gifted classroom.
Second Grade Screening
Madison County conducts a child find activity in which every second grader is observed to determine if he/she needs to be referred for screening. The ACE teachers go into the classrooms and provide a series of products used to evaluate students. These products consist of draw starts, problem solving, patterns, analogies, and writing samples. This evaluation process begins in the month of August and continues through January. When the evaluation process is complete, the students who fall in the top 2% will be screened and formally tested. Grades are not used when determining who will be formally screened. A notification form will be sent to parents providing “Permission to Screen.” If parents of 2nd graders do not receive this notification, then the process has ended and their child will not receive any additional testing.