Advanced Academics

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Welcome to Advanced Academics (Gifted Services) at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School!

Arlington Public Schools is dedicated to maximizing the strengths and potential of all students so they may become self-confident, well-rounded, responsible and productive citizens. Many Advanced Academic students need opportunities to think abstractly, work at various rates and levels of complexity, and pursue tasks independently. In addition, students eligible for Advanced Academic services need opportunities to learn with others of like abilities, as well as opportunities to develop social relationships with others of all abilities.

Identification Process

Each year, the total population of our school is screened by school staff to create a pool of eligible highly able candidates based on students’ participation and performance in various academic and arts activities. Screening is formal: We review all test scores following standardized testing, and scholastic academic performance. Screening is also informal: We note students’ competitions, awards, honors, and participation in school events.

Referrals for Advanced Academic Services

Students may be referred for services by their classroom teacher, school personnel, parents/guardians, community leaders, and self or other students until April 1 for the current school year. A referral form must be filled out and given to the Resource Teacher for the Gifted. You may also complete this form online at this LINK. The Referral Form is also available in SpanishBengaliAmharicMongolian, and Arabic. Referrals may be submitted before April 1 annually. A referral form may be completed by the following sources:

  • classroom teacher or other staff member
  • parent/guardian
  • community member
  • student

Please note: any student who is in the automatic screening pool due to ability test scores, like the NNAT or CogAT, does not need a referral form. Students may be referred once during the academic school year. Typically this happens in the winter/spring unless student is new to APS. During this once a year referral process, a holistic case study approach is used to examine data from multiple areas of strength to determine eligibility in the following areas –

Areas of Advanced Academic Services Identification

  • Specific Academic Aptitude:
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Social Studies
  • Visual or Performing Arts:
    • Visual Arts
    • Music

Eligibility Criteria

  • Standardized Testing Information
  • Teacher Checklist on Observations of Academic Behaviors
  • Grades/Academic Performance
  • Student Products
  • Parent Information

Definition of a Gifted Student from the Virginia Plan:

  • “These students possess talents and abilities that differ from those of their peers to such a degree that differentiated educational programs should be provided to nurture their growth and development.”
  • “The identification of these students is based on the premise that they need and can benefit from specifically planned educational services different from those provided by the general educational experience.”

An Appeals Process is available to families following the eligibility process. Appeal begins at the school level with the principal. Second level of appeals is a county-wide Advanced Academic Services Administrative Appeals Committee.

Delivery of Services

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Advanced Academic students need opportunities to think abstractly, work at various rates and levels of complexity, and pursue tasks independently. In addition, students eligible for Advanced Academic services need opportunities to learn with others of like abilities, as well as opportunities to develop socio-emotionally. APS Advanced Academic Services are implemented through school-based and countywide activities, which comply with School Board and State objectives. These school-based services are delivered in the following ways:

  • APS Advanced Academic Services collaborative resource model, in which the classroom teacher works with the Advanced Academics Coach (AAC) to develop and present appropriately differentiated learning experiences for Advanced Academic students within the general education classroom.
  • In the general education classroom setting, identified students are cluster-grouped (minimum of 10) and through a variety of flexible groupings based on ongoing data.
  • Identified students work with teachers who are specifically trained in instructional needs of and curriculum written for gifted students.
  • Specific curricula which are differentiated or extended from concepts in the general education curriculum, and when appropriate, through opportunities for acceleration and extension.

The Advanced Academic Cluster Model

The Advanced Academic Cluster Model provides services to identified students by allowing the AAC to “push in” to the classroom and collaborate with teachers through CLTs and individual planning sessions. Using this model, Advanced Academic identified students are placed in Advanced Academic Cluster classrooms with intellectual peers. The classroom teacher, with the support of the AAC, is the primary provider for Advanced Academic Services.

Advantages of this model include…

  • Students have intellectual peers necessary for academic and social development all day
  • Students have more access to gifted curriculum and/or strategies in their classroom
  • Non-identified students who also need challenges will have the opportunity to try out advanced curriculum or strategies
  • AAC’s can monitor students that should be assessed for eligibility for gifted services

AAC Roles and Responsibilities

  •  Collaborate and co-plan with teachers
  • Extend and deepen student learning through higher level discussion, rich content, and high expectations
  • Provide supplemental resources
  • Model lessons, co-instruct, or facilitate lessons
  • Coaching best practices instructional strategies (i.e. APS’ K-12 Critical Thinking Strategies)
  • Facilitate book clubs and extension projects
  • Promote differentiation practices throughout the school
  • Manage gifted and talented screening process and evaluation
  • Facilitate professional development for teachers

For more information about Arlington Public Schools’ full plan for Gifted Services, please review:  For frequently asked questions, please review:  If you have school-specific questions, or if you would like to learn more about differentiation, growth mindset practices, and gifted services in our building, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at _________.

Classroom Teacher’s Role and Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with the AAC to provide differentiated curriculum, extension opportunities, and supplemental curriculum resources
  • Plan units and lessons to meet the learning needs of students eligible for Advanced Academic services
  • Coordinate instructional needs of all learners in the classroom
  • Keep open communication with AAC on students that may need to be screened for gifted services
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Douglas Clarke