Advanced Academic Programs

Poplar Tree Elementary offers an Advanced Academics experience for all students. In addition to providing Level I, II, III programs, we have full-time Level IV program in grades 3-6. 

Our Advanced Academics Resource Teacher

September 2019

ADVANCED ACADEMIC PROGRAMS (AAP) ELEMENTARY CONTINUUM OF SERVICES

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) offers a continuum of advanced academic services for all students in Grades K-8. Learning experiences are designed to develop higher-level thinking through SeptemberNewsletterES%209.4.19.pdfenrichment, acceleration, and extension of the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs). Teachers, administrators, and Advanced Academic Resource Teachers (AARTs) work together to provide the following levels of services. A video showing each level of service in action, as well as information about middle and high school services, are available at https://www.fcps.edu/academics/elementary-school-academics-k-6/advanced-academics.

  • Critical and Creative Thinking Lessons, Grades K-6 (Level I)

Level I services are provided to all students in Kindergarten through Grade 6. Level I services includes teaching students to use critical and creative thinking skills to process content. It also includes periodic opportunities to use advanced academic curriculum throughout the year. Student responses to these lessons are used as part of the identification process for Levels II-IV. Parents may practice the nine strategies during family conversations and activities. Descriptions and videos of the nine critical and creative thinking strategies can be found at https://www.fcps.edu/academics/elementary-school-academics-k-6/advanced-academics/critical-and-creative-thinking.

Because Level I services are for all FCPS students, there is not a screening process. 

  • Differentiated Lessons in Areas of Academic Strength, Grades K-6 (Level II)

Level II services are available for students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 for students with strength in a specific subject area. The AART collaborates with classroom teachers to provide additional challenges using materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework for Levels II-IV to extend and enrich in the subject area strength. Screening for this level of service is ongoing throughout the school year. Multiple criteria are used to screen for this level of service and decisions are made at the local school level.

To have your student screened for Level II services, complete the AAP School-Based Referral Form available at https://www.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/forms/AAPSchoolBasedServicesReferralForm_0.pdf.

  • Part-Time Advanced Academic Programs, Grades 3-6 (Level III)

Level III services are available for students in Grades 3-6 who are eligible for part-time direct services from the AART. Students are identified by a screening committee at the local school.  The AART uses materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework for Levels II-IV in the four core subject areas through either a weekly pull-out class or weekly co-teaching model with the classroom teacher. Screening for this level of service is ongoing throughout the school year.  Multiple criteria are used to screen for this level of service and decisions are made at the local school level.

To have your student screened for Level III services, complete the AAP School-Based Referral Form available on the Forms page: https://www.fcps.edu/node/38893

  • Full-Time Advanced Academic Programs, Grades 3-8 (Level IV)

Level IV services are available for students in Grades 3-8 who are found eligible through a central selection process.  Eligible students use curriculum from the AAP Curriculum Framework for Levels II-IV in the four academic subject areas on a full-time basis.

Multiple criteria are reviewed to determine eligibility for all FCPS advanced academic services. The countywide central selection committee determines eligibility for full-time AAP Level IV placement.

Screening for Level IV services occurs during specific screening cycles: 

    • Fall screening is held for students who are new to FCPS and have been referred
    • Spring screening is held for any FCPS-enrolled student who has been referred

Due to the volume of files screened centrally for Level IV services, deadlines are strictly held. 

    • A referral form may be turned in from the first day of school until the published deadline. 
    • The referral deadline is October 10, 2019 for students who are new to FCPS and January 9, 2020 for students who are not new to FCPS this school year.
    • The referral form is available on the Forms page: https://www.fcps.edu/node/38893

Additional information about the holistic screening process and information used for screening can be found at https://www.fcps.edu/registration/advanced-academics-identification-and-placement/current-fcps-students

Middle and High School AAP

Additional information about middle and high school services may be found on the Advanced Academic Programs web page:

Elementary Parent Information Meeting

A parent information meeting will be held at Poplar Tree ES on Thursday, September 26 at 9:00 A.M. The AART will provide information about levels of service and examples at Poplar Tree ES, as well as explain and answer questions about the screening processes for part-time school-based and full-time Level IV services.

Ability Testing

In the fall, the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) is administered to all FCPS first grade students and the CogAT- Custom Form is administered to all FCPS second grade students. During the fall testing cycle, the NNAT and/or Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) may be administered to students in Grades 3-6 who do not have an ability test score. 

Parents or guardians may exercise a one-time retest option during the fall testing cycle. Please email the school testing coordinator, Holly Walker, no later than September 26 to request a one-time retest for either the NNAT or CogAT. 

Please do not wait for test scores before submitting a referral for your student in Grades 2-7 as there will be no referrals for Level IV screening accepted past the January 9, 2020 deadline. If you are waiting for test scores and would like your student screened for Level IV, please submit the referral by the published deadline (even if you have not received the test scores for your student). 

LEVEL IV ADVANCED ACADEMIC SERVICES

Level IV Services:  An Intellectually stimulating Environment

The AAP Level IV services for students in grades 3 through 8 offers identified students a highly challenging instructional program that follows the FCPS Program of Studies. Differentiation in the depth, breadth, and pace of instruction is designed to meet the needs of advanced learners with a strong emphasis on critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making. Students participate with the entire student body in school-based activities such as student government, physical education, band and strings, chorus, and other electives.

Curriculum Goals in the Level IV Program

  • To provide for mastery and enrichment of the FCPS Program of Studies in all curriculum areas, at the pace, depth, and complexity appropriate for advanced learners
  • To develop an understanding of systems of knowledge, themes, issues, and problems
  • To develop thinking skills that foster independent, self-directed learning
  • To develop self-understanding
  • To develop leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How can parents contribute to their child’s success?

Create a safe, positive, nurturing atmosphere:

  • Be attentive to your child’s comments and observations
  • Create an environment that promotes self-expression and inquiry
  • Emphasize goal-setting, effort, and progress rather than perfection
  • Nurture a growth mindset that views mistakes as opportunities to discover and learn
  • Model positive ways to address setbacks and solve problems
  • Instill ways to help your child understand and regulate emotional reactions
  • Encourage tolerance, empathy, understanding, and recognition of different points of view

How is the Level IV program different from the school-based Level II and Level III services?

  • Level II and III services are part-time services provided through collaboration with the advanced academic resource teacher at the local school.  Students are identified for Level II and III services by local school screening committees.  Level II and III services are available at every FCPS elementary school. 
  • Level IV services are full-time and provide a high level of challenge in the four core subject areas of mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science. Math is accelerated by one grade level.  Eligibility for Level IV services is determined by a central selection committee.  There are 28 elementary centers and 54 schools offer local level IV services.

How are teachers selected for the Level IV program?

  • Level IV teachers are selected by the school principal. Level IV teachers are required to receive either a state endorsement in gifted education or the FCPS Advanced Academic endorsement within five years of accepting a Level IV teaching assignment.  Teachers also receive ongoing professional development in the AAP curriculum framework.

What if my child is eligible for Level IV services but chooses not to receive them?

  • Students found eligible for Level IV services may defer eligibility by noting so on the parent/guardian permission form.  Students may reactivate their eligibility status at a later date by submitting the Reactivation Form (posted on the FCPS website) to the Advanced Academic Programs Office according to guidelines.
  • Students who defer eligibility may participate in the Level III school-based services at the local school. Please contact the Advanced Academic Resource Teacher at your local school to learn about school-based services.

What advanced academic services are available for students in middle school?

  • Honors classes in the four core subjects are open to all middle school students who seek academic rigor. In addition, thirteen middle schools offer the Level IV center program for identified students. Eight middle schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program (MYP), an inclusive program for students in grades 6 through 10.  Math 7 Honors is open to all seventh grade students. Algebra I Honors is available to students who qualify through multiple assessments. 
  • Honors and Level IV center classes provide challenging learning experiences designed to meet the unique learning profile of a broad range of advanced learners. The difference is that students in the Level IV center program have been identified through a central screening and selection process. Center eligible students, who decide not to attend the Level IV center, may select one or more Honors courses in areas of academic strength or interest.

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