We have had a lot of discussion lately about accelerated courses (we offer accelerated math and English courses in our middle school).

In our district we have established a litany of data points that help us make the decision of whether or not to enroll students into accelerated classes. So, in our case, I can confidently say that you earn your way into these courses based on your academics.

That said, I would be lying if I said that the perception exists that there is a certain image or stereotype of the quintessential accelerated student. They try hard, they do their homework, and the behave.

Is that a marker of an accelerated student, though? Are accelerated classes truly full of just the good kids? I’m scared to say that there is also a good chance that students having a history of behavioral problems, but are strong academically may find themselves in regular classes.

How do we change this perception (or dare I say, reality)? Our use of data to inform our decisions has helped immensely. We use multiple data points so that one “bad day” doesn’t preclude a student from being challenged and reaching their full potential.

Here’s your challenge tomorrow: take a look at your rosters. Are there kids that belong in an accelerated course but may have been overlooked for non-academic reasons? If so, what’s your plan?

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