High Ability Centers InformationMichigan City Area Schools currently offers "High Ability" centers at Joy, Knapp, and Springfield Elementary Schools. These buildings host multi-age classrooms for high-ability students in grades 4, 5, and 6. (Students in grades 1-3 are served through specialized small group instruction at all elementary buildings.)
Middle school and high school students are selected to participate in content/theme specific high ability coursework. Students have the opportunity for project-based learning, accelerated coursework and may receive credits for the next level (high school or college). Click on links below for specific course offerings.Barker Middle School
Michigan City High School students are offered an array of Honors, Advance Placement and Dual Credit courses
Frequently Asked Questions
MCAS High Ability Centers
Where are the High Ability Centers located?Joy, Knapp, and Springfield Elementary Schools host the High Ability Centers. Students who do not currently attend these schools are transported to one of the HA Centers.What are the High Ability Center classrooms like?These classrooms look much like other classrooms. The major difference is that students from grades 4 to 6 work together with one teacher. Students learn the academic standards approved by the Indiana State Board of Education for their grade level as well as receive enrichment to broaden and deepen understanding. Instruction is based on thematic units of study that encompass multiple content standards. Students are encouraged to work independently as well as in groups on tasks and projects designed to stretch their thinking and enhance their creativity and collaboration skills. Classrooms offer advanced technology options to enable students to work at their own pace and explore resources available through the Internet. Students develop a Personal Learning Plan and set goals for learning based on their unique interests and abilities.Who teaches in the HA classrooms?The teachers are highly qualified, either pursuing or holding a talented and gifted or high ability endorsement, with specialized training in working with high ability students and with a passion for personalizing and challenging students to their maximum potential.Why is MCAS doing this?MCAS wants to meet the unique learning needs of all of our students, including those with high ability.What does "high ability" actually mean?The state of Indiana defines a student with high abilities as one who:
1. performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one domain when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment; and:
2. is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests (IC 20-36-1-3).What are some signs that my child might be a high ability learner?The following web sites are suggested for further information on the topic of high ability learners:How are students be selected for this program?Talent Pool Identification:Using local norms, any student scoring at or above the 8th stanine will then take the Full CogAt-7 Assessment. This will determine high ability in one or more of the required domains.
- Language Arts
- General Intellectual
Additional Identification Measures:
- HA-Language Arts
- HA-General Intellectual
Alternate Pathways:Students who score below the 8th stanine on the CogAt screener, but show high achievement on ISTEP+, mClass, Acuity, etc., may be considered through the additional identification measures listed above.When does testing take place and how long does it take?The test is administered each Spring, typically in late March or early April.
- A completed SIGS form (Scales for Identifying Gifted Students) from the child's teacher.
- Students with SIGS scores above 115 are considered for placement.
- Achievement data (High ISTEP+, mClass, Acuity, ECA, or PSAT scores)
- Teacher observations, student work samples, etc.
What if I don’t want my child tested?
Contact your child’s school and request that your child be excused from the screening test for high ability education.What if my child does not currently attend a MCAS public school? Can he/she be placed in a HA classroom?MCAS will hold “open testing” for non-public or charter students each Spring. If interested, please call and make an appointment: 873-2000 ext. 8316. Appointments can will last approximately 45 minutes. Parents will need to bring achievement test data with them to be copied, such as ISTEP+, Acuity, NWEA, Iowa Test of Basic Skills or other norm-referenced achievement tests. Parents will be asked to complete an application and rating scale.
When will I know if my child has been classified as high ability?
Parents of selected students will be notified by letter in late April.
What if not enough children are high ability learners at a particular school? Will the standards be lowered at some schools?
The identification is a district-wide process and will be the same for all schools.
What if I applied to one of the magnet schools? Will my child still be eligible for a High Ability Center?
Yes. The decisions for the HA center and the magnet schools are entirely separate.
Why are you starting this program in fourth grade? Why not include younger students?
Identification for younger students is not as reliable. Tests are as likely to under-represent as to over-identify at younger ages.What services does MCAS provide for HA students in middle and high school?
Currently high ability students at the middle schools are eligible to take Pre-Algebra as 7th graders and Algebra I as 8th graders. They are also tracked into special classes for English/Humanities. High performing students at the high school have many options available to them including: a variety of AP courses, Dual Credit Courses (for high school and college credit), and Academic Honors classes in Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. These students take part in the MCHS "Honors College" program and receive weighted grades.Have a question that is not addressed here? Send it to Cathy Bildhauser, MCAS Director of Curriculum - firstname.lastname@example.org