Typical classrooms may be frustrating for gifted students, as they are often held to their own “lowest common denominator”. For example, a student with poor handwriting may find the school unwilling to provide them additional challenge for the their above-grade-level math abilities, instead being told to focus on handwriting.
In contrast, Helios accommodates individual learning goals in each field of study through the use of ILPs (Individual Learning Plans). Each child has an ILP developed from information gleaned from the initial Qualitative Assessment, as well as through ongoing authentic classroom and standardized assessments. Three times per year, Helios uses the NWEA MAP test for individual standardized assessment to inform instruction in the areas of math, science, and reading. After each assessment, the data is carefully analyzed to determine precisely which concepts a student has mastered and which areas need focus for academic growth.
Based on this information, ILP goals are created for each student, not only for academics but for SEL progress and “habits of learning”, such as persistence or time management. The ILPs are updated three times yearly. Helios expects teachers to modify and implement curriculum based on this knowledge of individual students’ development as well as class goals.