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Alternate Placement

Alternate Placement Procedures

How District 65 Accelerates Learning

District 65 is committed to providing opportunities to accelerate the learning of all students.  This commitment advances the District’s goal of providing educational programs with opportunities for each student to develop to their maximum potential.

A presentation regarding the key elements of acceleration was given on Friday, February 6, 2024. You can view the 1-hour video recording from that evening below as well as the slide deck from that evening. The essential contents of the presentation are also outlined below on this webpage.

Acceleration Night February 6, 2024

Opportunities for acceleration of learning are typically provided through grade-level curriculum and instruction, primarily through the use of materials and methods that create differentiated learning opportunities. This includes not only differentiated instructional materials and techniques, but also additional times set in the school day for further acceleration, such as Acceleration Blocks and WIN ("What I Need") Time.

The middle school math program accelerates learning for all students further by running an accelerated pathway that covers four years of learning in three years. This is done by including High School Algebra standards into its curriculum.  All middle school students in District 65 are automatically placed into this accelerated pathway. To learn more about this pathway, go to the "Pathways" tab on the Middle School Math Structures page.

Additional Math-Specific Acceleration

Additional acceleration in mathematics is available to middle school students who are ready and willing to advance to High School Geometry before entering high school. Doing so would allow a student to take Advanced Algebra 2 Honors as a freshman at ETHS. Families interested in their students taking High School Geometry prior to high school should visit the Middle School Math Structures page to learn more about their options.

If you are seeking to learn about additional math-specific acceleration, please visit  the "Further Advancement" tab on the Middle School Math Structures page.

Process for Evaluation of Grade Skipping (Alternate Placement)

For about 1% of D65 students, acceleration of learning may require alternate placement, which includes grade skipping, whether for all subjects or for a single subject only. Being evaluated for any form of alternate placement, including grade skipping, requires a thorough process. The processes are outlined below.

Our alternate placement procedures comply with the Illinois Public Act 100-0421, District 65 allows for various forms of alternate placement, such as:

  • “Early entrance to kindergarten”: the admission of a student to kindergarten who will not yet be five years old by September 1 of that school year.
  • “Early entrance to first grade”: the admission of a student to first grade who will not yet be six years old by September 1 of that school year and who has not completed kindergarten. Students who are younger than six upon starting first grade but who were admitted early to kindergarten do not need to be reevaluated prior to admission to first grade.
  • “Individual subject grade skipping”: the practice of assigning a student to a higher grade level course in a specific subject than is typical given the student’s age for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities.
  • “Whole grade skipping”: the practice of assigning a student to a higher grade level than is typical given the student’s age on a full-time basis, for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities.

Grade skipping is considered in cases where:

  • a student is considered to be without peers in typical grade-level placement and
  • methods of grade-level acceleration have been found to be inadequate.

Minimum Requirements / Likelihood of Alternate Placement

Students scoring below the 95th percentile are not eligible for grade skipping.  This is due to the fact that scores below the 95th are not unusually strong when compared to the next grade level. A 4th grader scoring at the 95th percentile, for example, would only be in the 74th percentile when compared to D65 5th graders.

While some students have qualified for alternate placement in the past with MAP scores of 95 to 98, most typically students who skip a grade have scored at the 99th percentile on MAP three times in a row.

An IAR score of Level 4 or higher in the related subject(s) is also required to be considered for alternate placement.

If you are interested in knowing whether grade skipping is a likely outcome for your student, you typically can use their MAP score as an indication.  This table shows historical trends based on MAP scores.


Likelihood of Alternate Placement (Grade Skipping)

MAP SCORES

LIKELIHOOD OF SKIPPING A GRADE

Each of the last three MAP scores are at the 99th percentile

About 25%

The average of the last three MAP scores is 95-98

Less than 20%

The average of the last three MAP scores is 94 or below

Less than 0.05%

Historically, alternate placement is rare, accounting for about 1% of students.  

Steps for Evaluation of Grade Skipping

Evaluation for grade skipping follows four steps. From beginning to end, the process can take three to five months. If you think your child’s academic needs are not met through grade level instruction, we encourage you to start the process earlier than later.

Details of the four steps can be found below.

STEP 1: Engage with Your Child's Educator(s)
If you suspect that your child’s learning is not being adequately accelerated via grade level instruction, begin first by speaking with both your child’s educator and your school administration. 

It is important that you work with your child’s educator to ensure that you make your thoughts or concerns known and work with them as early as possible to address your concerns through grade-level instruction. It is important that you also contact school administrators directly, particularly if you anticipate seeking alternate placement, so that they are aware of your thoughts and concerns.

Often, learning needs can be met through strong collaboration between the family and the classroom educator, along with the support of additional educators with expertise in differentiation.

STEP 2 - Submit  Request
If you find – after coordinating with both the educator and administrator – that further investigation should be done to determine how best to  accelerate your child’s learning, please submit a request for consideration of additional acceleration. Consideration for additional acceleration includes, but is not limited to, possible consideration of skipping a single subject (eg, math) or possibly all subjects (aka, “whole grade skipping”).

To submit a request, fill out the D65 Request for Additional Acceleration.

Submission of this form initiates the process for consideration of additional methods of acceleration, which may include grade skipping, but may also result in other methods of acceleration at grade level, depending on the individual circumstances.

Requests may be entered at any time, but the total process for review can take three to five months.  As such, requests received after March 1st will not be reviewed until the following fall.

This table shows the timeline you can expect.

Requests for additional acceleration accepted
(initiates process)

School Based Process

(12 weeks)

Final Determination

(6 weeks)

Requests are accepted from first day of school until the end of the first week of March.

Requests submitted after the first week of March will be reviewed in the fall of the following school year.

To initiate this process, requests must be made using the D65 Request for Additional Acceleration form (link found above).

Within two weeks, school communicates the plan for additional grade-level acceleration

Within another eight weeks, school communicates results of plan

Within another two weeks, school submits final recommendation to the district Acceleration Committee

District Acceleration Committee will provide a final notice to the family within 6 weeks of receiving the school's recommendation.

STEP 3A - School Review

Once a request for further acceleration is submitted via the google form, the school will initiate an MTSS problem-solving process that will include a review of the classroom setting and a socio-emotion evaluation.  This process will establish a plan for acceleration within the classroom and result in an identification of next steps.

Families can expect communication from the school when the plan is first created, and again at the end of the plan’s execution.This step in total takes approximately eight weeks. See the table in Step 2 for details. 

STEP 3B - Additional Assessment (used as part of School Review)

An assessment of aptitude (CogAT), of behavioral and emotional strengths and weaknesses (BESS),  and of grade level achievement will be administered. The assessment for grade level achievement varies depending on the subject(s); typically the i-Ready Diagnostic is used.

To qualify for grade skipping, students must be at the 98th percentile in aptitude. They must also be in at least the 80th percentile in academic achievement, when compared to their would-be peers. A third grader, for example, would need to score at or above the 80th percentile in academic achievement when tested as a 4th grader in order to be placed into Math 5 the following year.

These results are shared with parents and with schools. The information is used as part of the school's MTSS process.

Step 4 - School Report

At the conclusion of the school’s MTSS process, the school will share its findings both with the family and with the Acceleration Committee.  Findings are based on an array of information:

  • Achievement/Knowledge (eg, MAP,  i-Ready Diagnostic, and/or Curricular Assessments)
  • Aptitude (eg, CogAT)
  • Emotional Well Being (eg, observation reports and BESS)
  • Setting (eg, instructional routines and classroom make-up)

Step 5 - Final Determination

The Acceleration Committee reviews school reports once a month.

If grade skipping is recommended by the school’s review, then the Acceleration Committee will review this process and send a final determination to the family. Determinations are for placement in the following school year. 

A school’s recommendation for grade skipping does not necessarily result in the grade skipping. The Acceleration Committee has final say on grade skipping decisions across the district.

See the table in Step 2 for details on timing of review and communication.

Appeal Process for Grade Skipping

Final decisions may be appealed should a family find any error or otherwise believe that the process has not been justly followed. Appeals should be in the form of an email to alternateplacement@district65.net.

Families have five working days to appeal any decision. Appeals are reviewed by the Acceleration Committee. The committee has one month to review and respond to any appeal. After the review of an appeal, all decisions are final, as are any decisions that are not appealed within five days.

Process for Evaluation of Early Start (Kindergarten / 1st Grade)

The Early Start procedures for students enrolled in Pre-K and kindergarten are outlined below.

STEP 1: Alternate Placement Request
Parent/Guardian completes the Student Early Start Request Form.  Completing this form initiates the process for assessment.

Please note the expected thresholds outlined in Step 3 (in bold). We recommend only completing the form if you believe your child may meet these thresholds.

STEP 2: Parent/Guardian Arranges Assessment
Once the form is complete, a district 65 representative will contact you to arrange for testing. Please note that forms are not  reviewed until May 2024.  Additionally, forms are no longer reviewed after August 1st, 2024.

STEP 3: Student Testing
On the test date, student will be assessed in literacy and math in a 1:1 setting. 

You can expect the assessment to look at a basic set of foundation skills using the FastBridge assessment. 

For an early start to Kindergarten, students must place at the 80th percentile or higher compared to would-be peers. An example of skills assessed for early entrance to Kindergarten are:

  • Letter Names  - can name all lower and upper case letters
  • Letter Sounds - can identify and produce sounds for all letters
  • Word Segmenting - can identify and produce sounds for each letter within words
  • Sight Words - can read sight words
  • Decodable Words - can sound out words
  • Sentence Reading - can read simple sentences
  • Number - identifies all numbers through 30
  • Number Sequence - can put numbers in order
  • Decomposing - can fluently make ten in different ways

For an early start to 1st Grade, students must either have successfully completed an accredited Kindergarten program  or be assessed by D65 and found to place at the 80th percentile or higher compared to would-be peers. If assessed for an early start to 1st grade, students would need to meet all Kindergarten skills plus additional skills such as the following:

  • Sounding out Nonsense Words 
  • Reading Passages
  • Comprehension of Reading
  • Can write out a sentence that is said aloud to them
  • Understand Place Value 
  • Solve simple story problems involving basic addition and subtraction

STEP 4: Parent/Guardian Notification
Parent/guardian is notified if student meets the thresholds for Early Start to K/1.  A Determination Letter is sent to the family and Registration.

For additional questions related to alternate placement, please email alternateplacement@district65.net.