HONORS PROGRAM GUIDELINES
The Office of Student Performance works collaboratively with principals, teachers, and parents to create, implement, evaluate, and revise the guidelines for the Honors Program in grades 5-8. If you have questions regarding the Honors Program provided by the Franklin Special School District to support and extend the Tennessee Department of Education’s Academic Standards, please contact Kay Boan, Ed.D., Supervisor, at 615-794-6624.
FRANKLIN SPECIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
HONORS PROGRAM GUIDELINES
- All eligible students in Grades 5-8 may participate in the FSSD Honors Program. Due to the limited number of students per grade level at Poplar Grove Middle School, honors students may be clustered in differentiated classrooms.
- The Honors Program consists of the following classes: English/Language Arts in grades 5- 8, Science in grades 5-8, Math in grades 5-7, Algebra I in grades 7-8, Geometry in grade 8, and World Language in grades 7-8.
- To be considered for the Honors Program, students take the Explore test. Rising 7th and 8th graders take the Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test (IAAT) in order to be considered for Algebra I or Honors Math. Rising 7th graders take the Modern Language Aptitude Test – Elementary (MLAT-E) in order to be considered for World Language (Spanish or French). These assessments must be taken by the student during the year he/she wishes to be considered for Honors.
- The Explore test, consisting of reading, English, science, and math sections, will be offered to rising 5th through 8th graders in January of each year. The IAAT will be offered to rising 7th and 8th graders in March of each year. The MLAT-E will be offered to rising 7th graders in March of each year. Students who are new to the district will take the appropriate assessment(s) at the beginning of the school year.
- The Honors entry tests (Explore, IAAT, and/or MLAT-E) are offered free of charge to students.
- Upon receipt of the results, qualifying scores for each grade level cohort are determined by the Administrative Honors Committee. The committee evaluates the performance of current FSSD test-takers and determines a qualifying score. Cut scores may differ for each subject and may vary from year to year. Students may participate in every subject in which the score requirements are met.
- Rising 5th—8th grade students are eligible to participate in the FSSD Honors Program if they meet one of the two criteria listed below:
- Made the required qualifying cut score on the assessment appropriate for the grade level and subject area.
- Placement is validated by evidence collected on the Honors Program Student Data Form via the Reconsideration Process (see #9 and #10 below)
- Parents and students will be notified by mail concerning their status for participation in the Honors Program.
- If a student does not qualify for the Honors Program via the qualifying cut score on the appropriate assessment, the parent will receive an Honors Program Reconsideration Form. Parents may submit the form to request that their child be reconsidered for the program. The request will only be granted if the data collected on the Honors Program Student Data Form validates this placement for the child and if space is available.
- Upon receipt of the Honors Program Reconsideration Form, the following steps will be taken:
- The Honors Program Student Data Form will be completed by appropriate staff.
- The principal will analyze the teacher perceived rate of learning (TPRL) traits, TCAP Percentile Scores (not applicable for 2017-18), and STAR Enterprise percentile scores. The student must meet the requirement in two of the three areas to be considered for Honors.
- The principal will inform the parent of the decision related to the student being enrolled in the Honors Program.
- If a student does not qualify for an honors class via the qualifying cut score on the appropriate assessment or through the reconsideration process, parents may complete a Parent Override Request form. Upon receipt of the form, the school administrator will set up an appointment to meet with the parent. At the meeting, longitudinal data from Explore, STAR Enterprise, TCAP, and the TPRL will be reviewed with the parent. Additionally, the Parent Commitment Form will be discussed to ensure a full understanding of the academic expectations of the program. If, after this meeting, the parent wishes to override the district recommendation for placement in a general education class, the parent will sign the Parent Commitment Form and the student will be placed in the honors class.
- Parents may complete a Parent Override Request form for any Honors class with the exception of Algebra I for 7th graders.
- Students who meet the TN standards as a student who is Intellectually Gifted do not automatically qualify for the Honors Program. If an Intellectually Gifted student does not meet the qualifying score for honors, it is the Eligibility Team’s responsibility to determine whether or not an honors class is the most appropriate placement. The Honors Program Student Data Form will be used to evaluate data collected from the following sources: TCAP (not applicable for 2017-18), STAR, and teacher perceived rate of learning (TPRL). Based on the results, a student who meets the State standards as Intellectually Gifted might be placed in a general education differentiated classroom or one or more honors classes.
- Prior to participating in the program the first time, parents of eligible students must attend an orientation meeting with a school administrator. If a parent does not attend the official meeting, he/she must contact the school to make other arrangements for Honors Program orientation. The principal will inform parents of the common characteristics—strengths and problems/challenges—of academically talented students as well as the implications for future coursework for students who participate in the Honors Program. Having this information will assist parents in making good decisions about whether this rigorous program is the most appropriate placement for their child, realizing that in a challenging program of this nature, students may not always earn a grade of A or B on every assignment. Standards of performance cannot waiver.
- Parents of students participating in the Honors Program will be required to sign a new commitment form each year agreeing to maintain the standards of the Honors Program.
- When a student has difficulty in an Honors class, it is important to determine if Honors is the most appropriate placement for the student. The following steps will be taken:
- If any student earns a grade below an 86% average (81% for high school credit classes) on his/her report card, the classroom teacher will contact the parent. The parent will be asked to come to the school for a conference with the teacher and a school level administrator. The purpose of this conference will be: (1) to determine the cause of the student’s decline in academic achievement—insufficient prior knowledge, lack of effort, attendance, etc.; (2) to help devise a plan to enhance the student’s educational experience; and (3) to determine if the Honors class in question is the best placement for the student.
- The student will be placed on academic probation for a nine week period of time.
- If the student does not make the expected improvement by the end of nine weeks as indicated by a grade of 86% or higher (81% or higher for high school credit classes) on his/her report card, the student will be exited from the program.
- The FSSD Honors Program Guidelines will be placed on the website and reviewed with teachers at the beginning of each school year.
HIGH SCHOOL COURSES TAKEN FOR CREDIT IN MIDDLE SCHOOL
High school courses offered in the FSSD include Algebra I, Geometry, French I (A-B), and Spanish I (A-B). Credit for the successful completion of these courses is granted by Williamson County Schools (WCS).
FSSD students enrolled in high school courses will be subject to the Williamson County Board of Education’s Policy #4.600 Report Cards and Grading Systems. The following grading scale will be used:
A 91 – 100
B 81 – 90
C 72 – 80
D 70 – 71
F Below 70
In accordance with WCS Board of Education Policy #4.6051 Credit Requirements for Graduation, FSSD students entering into Williamson County Schools will receive high school credit by (1) passing (grade 70 or above) both semesters of the course and (2) taking state and/or locally-developed assessments. Algebra I and Geometry students will take the TNReady End of Course assessment. For 2017-18, TNReady assessment grades count 15% of a student’s final grade for the course. Students enrolled in Spanish I and French I will take a final exam developed in conjunction with World Language teachers in Williamson County Schools. For 2017-18, the final exam grade counts 15% of the student’s final grade for the course. Final course grades will be recorded as Credit or No Credit with no grade point average (GPA) value. There is not an option to refuse the credit.
All FSSD middle school courses that may count as credit for high school are taught at an honors level and are subject to all criteria of an honors level course. FSSD students must maintain a B average on their report card to continue in a high school credit class. After completing all requirements of an honors level course, these courses will count towards the Williamson County Honors Diploma. (WCS Policy #4.6051 Credit Requirements for Graduation, 4.60511 Graduation with Honors or Distinction).
Although the successful completion of Algebra I and Geometry in middle school will count towards a student’s high school math credits for graduation, a student must still take four years of math during high school. Parents should understand clearly that students taking high school levels of math in middle school (Algebra I and Geometry) are required to take four additional math courses different from those taken in middle school.
Please note: Successful completion of one year of World Language in middle school will count towards the two year requirement for high school graduation. For students who will be attending a four-year higher education institution following high school, two additional years of World Language in the high school setting are highly recommended.
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