Odyssey (Gifted) Program
The Dassel-Cokato school philosophy states in part, "every youth enrolled should have the program appropriate to his/her needs that results in success for the student."
In order to address that part of the school philosophy, a program must be developed to meet the needs of the gifted/talented students. Students, the community, administrators and teachers must be involved in the planning of curriculum and instruction.
- The Dassel-Cokato school shall support the gifted/talented program through financial and other support measures.
- The Dassel-Cokato school shall identify students using a measure of ability and achievement, teacher rating and parent information.
- The Dassel-Cokato school shall develop curriculum and instruction appropriate to the needs of the identified gifted/talented students.
- The Dassel-Cokato school shall provide in-service for staff in the area of gifted/talented education and instruction.
- The Dassel-Cokato school shall evaluate the total program generally, and student progress specifically to aid the improvement of the overall program.
Gifted and talented students, identified by professional, qualified persons, are those who are by virtue of outstanding abilities capable of high performance. They require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contributions to self and society. Children capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement and/or potential ability in any of the following areas, singly or in combinations:
- General intellectual ability
- Special academic aptitude
- Creative or productive thinking
- Leadership ability
- Visual and performing arts
- Psychomotor skills
The main purpose of the screening process is to determine which students should be assessed to determine their eligibility for the Odyssey program. In general terms we want to make sure no students are missed. To determine which students are tested we look at all existing test scores, ask teachers for recommendations, and encourage parents to also recommend their own children.
Middle School Program
In middle school, we continue the "pull-out program" in grades five and six. Identified students are pulled out of the mainstream classes one morning a week for special instruction. The curriculum for the pull-out program is written during the summer by the Odyssey teachers. We attempt to have 90% or more of the activities be at application level or higher on Bloom's taxonomy.
It is our belief that at some point in the educational process a pull-out program is no longer quite as effective as it was in previous years. The main reason for this is the fact that as children progress through the grades, the course content becomes more difficult. Therefore, it becomes increasingly more difficult for students to be pulled from class.
In the seventh and eighth grades, we take an individualized approach to Odyssey students' learning. The Middle School by nature of its own philosophy is very conducive to the enrichment and acceleration needed for Odyssey students. Special contest are held in several curriculum areas, individualized writing and reading projects are conducted, exploratory classes are provided as well as many other enrichment opportunities.
In addition to that, we also provide the opportunity for each student to have an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). This optional ILP which is developed by the student, a teacher, the student's parents, and the Odyssey coordinator is made to reflect the student's individual needs and interests. It may be a plan where the student can have some of their course work differentiated to provide more challenging activities. It may also be an extension to the media center where research can be done on a certain topic. After developing the plan the teacher meets periodically with the student to check on progress and to provide counseling s needed.