These are my notes from Cathy Seward’s presentation about the Advanced Placement Incentive Program in Oklahoma on April 6, 2011, in Oklahoma City. Cathy shared this as part of the First Year Superintendents’ Conference sponsored by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Cathy works for the Oklahoma SDE. Notes from Sara Smith’s presentation about gifted education requirements are also included later in the post. MY THOUGHTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Oklahoma legislature made a line item with incentives several years ago for AP offerings

OK pays fee subsidies for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch
– also offer fee subsidies for students who take multiple exams: They receive $25 off EACH exam they take

We offer AP Training through College Board
– most AP consultants are current classroom teachers

Schools get $100 for every score of 3, 4 or 5 on an AP test as an incentive too
– that money comes back into your district for chemistry supplies, maps and globes, new calculators, etc.
– money comes to your school, not a tech center (because tech centers are other state agencies, the money has to be paid to a school district)

We have 4 types of AP grants
– we want to start programs across the state
– FIRST GRANT IS $5000 for materials and equipment
– second grant for materials and equipment can be obtained after several yars
– are vertical team grants: 6th through 12th grade for $25,000
— that money is to bring consultants in, to pay stipends to teachers for overtime, to get training, etc.
– AP Training grant: can come to have your entire faculty come for training (middle schools eligible)

AP Testing In Progress sign, Neuqua Valley High, Chicago, IL.JPGphoto © 2008 Cory Doctorow | more info (via: Wylio)
Benefits of AP programs
– AP teachers teach kids how to survive in a notes and lecture environment
– teachers help kids learn strategies

With majors we have a big push for STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Kids more likely to complete college level work if they complete it in high school

AP or concurrent enrollment is a big question
– AP is a national curriculum, we are teaching the same curriculum they are in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Denver, etc.
– Colleges see that and know it’s an AP course taught by an AP teacher, it meets the same level of

I’m not against concurrent enrollment, I think we can live together

Leadership development for your teachers is great
– provides funding and time for teachers and students to become leaders
– some students can have double majors because of the AP credits they earn in high school

MY COMMENT: COMING ON THE HEELS OF MY PRESENTATION ABOUT DIGITAL LEADERSHIP, IT’S INTERESTING TO THINK HOW THIS DISCUSSION AND PUSH FOR AP MODEL COURSES JUXTAPOSES AGAINST PROJECT BASED LEARNING

I work in gifted education: AP is one program you can use to serve your gifted students
– however, not all AP students are technically qualified as “gifted students”
– AP is for ANY and ALL students willing to enroll

more complex, nightly assignments

Look at PSAT scores
– there are indicators you can use to identify students who might want to enroll in AP

We know statewide, we don’t even begin to tap the number of kids who have the potential to do well in AP

We will give you seed money to get started
– you need to offer pre-AP courses

You already have honors classes, it’s not a big shift to change those to AP courses
– you want to change the expectation, you are GOING to take that AP class and AP test

The state pays for your teachers to get trained, sometimes that does involve a sub

Your same ethnicity and ELL percentages in your school should be represented in your AP participants

You need to educate principals, teachers, and parents about why they should want their kids in AP classes
– you need to educate kids too

As soon as I heard AP students are more likely to graduate in 4 years, I got on the AP bandwagon
– there are not many parents who want to pay for that extra year in college (the ‘victory lap’)

What’s good for the best is good for the rest
– a rising tide raises all ships

Benefits for your school (here’s your advocacy ammo)
– provides a challenging academic environment for motivated students
– rewarding PD for teachers (by current practitioners)
– demonstrates schools commitment to high standards
– enhances academic reputation of your school district
– adds points to your API

If you have at least 1 student who scores above a certain level on a test you get more points according to a formula

Students CAN take tests without being enrolled as a formal student in an AP test
– remember the College Board will take your money anytime

I have a listserv to share information, send me an email and I’ll get you on it

From a participant: Remember teachers can do vertical teaming when teaching AP courses

Pre-engineering and bio-medical academies are now included at several tech centers, those include several AP class offerings (Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, etc)
– kids in those classes don’t have to ask, “Why am I learning this?” It’s hands on and contextual
– remember as long as the student registers for the test for YOUR school, you’ll get the API points not the tech center

Norman Experience @ GT 02photo © 2009 Hector Alejandro | more info (via: Wylio)
Now hearing from Sara Smith, director of gifted education for the Oklahoma SDE
– sara_smith [at] sde.state.ok.us
– what does the law say about gifted education, what do you need to do to be in compliance with state gifted education law

2 ways to identify gifted students
– category 1: top 3% on any nationally standardized test of intellectual ability (an IQ test, it has nothing to do with achievement, state tests: tests verbal, quantitative, etc)
– category 2: multiple criteria
— law is very specific about the areas that are identified, but it does NOT specify HOW you determine this (it’s a local decision: can use parent or teacher referrals, achievement test scores, etc.)
— creative thinking, leadership, visual and performaing arts, and specific academic ability
— you need to have the category 2 criteria specifically defined

MY THOUGHT: IT WOULD BE GREAT TO HAVE A WEBSITE WHERE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS SHARE THEIR DIFFERENT CRITERIA USED FOR CATEGORY 2 QUALIFICATION. I WONDER IF THIS EXISTS NOW? IF NOT, I WONDER WHO WILL BUILD AND NURTURE IT?

Funding
– your district receives funding for every student who qualifies AND you are serving
– you have to be serving that student to receive funding (that’s a benefit to the school district)
– you can use gifted money to purchase assessment materials to get more students qualified

Never think you can NOT serve kids in your district who are qualified, category 1 and 2 qualified students

Local advisory committee
– law says the district superintendent must CALL the first meeting (not say supt has to attend)
– by Sept 15th board members must be appointed
– members are appointed by local school district and must be representative of the local community (ethnicity composition of the committee should match your community)

All your district contacts know about the Annual Report on Gifted and Talented Education, but make sure your financial secretary knows too

GT monies are received through state aid formula
– it’s not a line item amount like AP
– every penny you spend on GT must be coded to OCAS program code 251 (this permits required tracking)

GT Child Count Report due by Oct 15th each year
– that info is used to analyze students identified and being served, who is your district contact (if a legislator calls, this provides that info)

Program Auditing is laid out in law
– 25 random schools are audited each year
– looking for documentation about how students are IDed and served, documentation of tests (what you have to keep on file)

Reasons district might be audited
– large discrepancies of identified students can be a red flag
– I always call first on situations like this
– category 1 should be about 3% of your school populations
– last year we had some schools in 20%, 30% and 40% of total student populations identified by category 1 (there is no way that is happening, this is a red flag)
– unusual budget reports can also be red flags for an audit

Gifted Educational Plan
– all districts have plans on file
– that plan includes how students are identified and served
– what are staff members doing
– what are the roles of different educators / staff members
– lays out you WILL train your teachers

THIS MAKES ME THINK I SHOULD OFFER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ABOUT SCRATCH SOFTWARE EXPLICITLY AS GT TRAINING. OF COURSE SCRATCH SHOULD BE OFFERED ALL STUDENTS, NOT JUST GT STUDENTS, BUT THIS MIGHT BE ONE WAY TO ENCOURAGE USE OF SCRATCH AND PROMOTE GREATER AWARENESS / ADOPTION IN OKLAHOMA. SCRATCH HAS BEEN MY #1 FAVORITE THING TO TEACH PRESERVICE EDUCATION STUDENTS THE PAST TWO SEMESTERS.

How are you serving GT students throughout the day, not just in pullouts
– do you have differentiated curriculum that is shaking up your regular curriculum
– your teachers should NOT be ‘teaching right down the middle’ – this leaves out your low and high kids
– take advantage of Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI)

THIS MAKES ME THINK WE HAVE GOT TO PROVIDE FUNDED PROJECT BASED LEARNING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN OKLAHOMA, LIKE WE HAVE FOR AP NOW. HOPEFULLY WE CAN DO THIS AS COMMON CORE STANDARDS ARE ADOPTED.

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One Response to Advanced Placement Incentive Programs and Gifted Education Requirements in Oklahoma

  1. Eharden says:

    With the continued focus on AP classes during a time of budget tightening…can we really continue to ask taxpayers to pay for kids to take college classes? Seems the tax money should be spent on enhancing the curriculum, materials, and programs that meet the requirements of a good high school education. Kids can go to college when the time is right…and it can be payed for in traditional ways, without dipping into the tax revenue reserved for K-12 education.

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