Extended Learning Program supports students with high abilities

The mission of the Marshalltown Community School District is to develop learners who have the knowledge, skills, and positive mindset to successfully pursue a meaningful future through personalized learning experiences, so have you ever wondered how our schools support children with high abilities beyond our talented teachers providing differentiated instruction in their classrooms? 

Marshalltown Community School District supplements what our classroom teachers provide through our Extended Learning Program, also known as XLP.

Marshalltown’s Extended Learning Program is comprised of a team of teachers who have completed additional coursework and supervised teaching experiences to become certified in gifted education.  As a team, these teachers work at all levels to ensure that gifted students are receiving educational opportunities that are engaging and also challenging.

Gifted and talented students can be found in every classroom around the district. Gifted students are different than most students because of their learning style, depth and complexity of understanding, and the pace that they learn. Gifted and talented students make up approximately 7 percent of our district’s total student population. 

Students who receive additional support from an Extended Learning Program teacher are identified for gifted education services through a process. The process consists of reviewing educational records, such as the Iowa Assessments, reviewing their performance in classes, and then screening them through one of the district’s assessment tools. For some of our gifted learners, the support they receive is provided through an XLP teacher meeting with their classroom teachers and cooperatively planning lessons. 

For our most accelerated learners, they receive specialized education from our Extended Learning Program certified teachers through enrichment activities. The enrichment activities are “needs driven” but may include specialized group studies, independent study, mentorship, advanced classes and service learning.

If you have questions about the Marshalltown Community School District’s Extended Learning Program, please feel free to contact me at mcretsinger@marshalltown.k12.ia.us or call 641-754-1000.

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Matt Cretsinger is Director of Special Services with the Marshalltown Community School District