Opinion
Curriculum Letter to the Editor

Cited District Does Have Options for ‘Acceleration’

September 15, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In their Commentary “What Ever Happened to Grade Skipping,” (Aug. 12, 2009), Laura Vanderkam and Richard Whitmire cite Montgomery County, Md., as a district “overlooking” acceleration as a way to nurture gifted students in a time of tight budgets.

Contrary to their assumption, acceleration is already an integral part of the program options in Montgomery County public schools. The district’s systemwide model for acceleration ensures that students can access an appropriate, above-grade-level curriculum every day without skipping a grade.

The math curriculum, for example, includes accelerated topics and assessments in the required curriculum, not as a pullout. The access to and success of such acceleration is evidenced by 48.8 percent of 5th grade students’ successfully completing grade 6 mathematics or higher in 2008-09. Similarly, 59.6 percent of 8th grade students successfully completed Algebra 1 or higher in 2008.

For the smaller percentage of students working at even more advanced levels, the option exists to work two or more grades above. At the elementary level, this means that students can take classes in higher, middle school math.

Montgomery County also buses students whose needs cannot be met at the local elementary school to a nearby middle school, or to a center for the highly gifted. Providing a continuum of services that includes offering the most challenging instruction in a setting that supports the social and emotional requirements of gifted learners helps the district meet all children’s needs.

In Montgomery County, more students are learning to read at an earlier age, more are taking rigorous and challenging courses, and more are being provided with opportunities to succeed at higher levels than ever before. In fact, 61.5 percent of students in the graduating class of 2008 scored a 3 or above (on a 5-point scale) on at least one Advanced Placement exam, more than triple the national average.

The results of the district’s model for acceleration and enrichment have been recognized throughout Maryland and the nation.

Kay Williams

Director

Division of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction

Montgomery County Public Schools

Rockville, Md.

A version of this article appeared in the September 16, 2009 edition of Education Week as Cited District Does Have Options for ‘Acceleration’

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum Video VIDEO: What AP African American Studies Looks Like in Practice
The AP African American studies course has sparked national debate since the pilot kicked off in 2022. A look inside the classroom.
Ahenewa El-Amin leads a conversation with students during her AP African American Studies class at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Ky., on March 19, 2024.
Ahenewa El-Amin leads a conversation with students during her AP African American Studies class at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Ky., on March 19, 2024.
Jaclyn Borowski/Education Week
Curriculum Anti-Critical-Race-Theory Laws Are Slowing Down. Here Are 3 Things to Know
After a wave of bills limiting class discussions on race and gender, an Education Week analysis shows the policies have slowed.
5 min read
A man holds up a sign during a protest against Critical Race Theory outside a Washoe County School District board meeting on May 25, 2021, in Reno, Nev.
A man holds up a sign during a protest against critical race theory outside a Washoe County School District board meeting on May 25, 2021, in Reno, Nev. This year, the numbers of bills being proposed to restrict what schools can teach and discuss about race and racism have slowed down from prior years.
Andy Barron/Reno Gazette-Journal via AP
Curriculum History Group Finds Little Evidence of K-12 'Indoctrination'
Most social science educators say they keep politics out of the classroom, but need help identifying good curriculum resources
6 min read
Photo of U.S. flag in classroom.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
Curriculum How an International Baccalaureate Education Cuts Through the ‘Noise’ on Banned Topics
IB programs offer students college credit in high school and advanced learning environments.
9 min read
James Minor teaches his IB Language and Literature class at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., on Jan. 23, 2024.
James Minor teaches his IB Language and Literature class at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., on Jan. 23, 2024.
Zack Wittman for Education Week