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Middle School Gifted and Talented ProgramsBloomington Public Schools offers two middle school programs for gifted students:
- Dimensions Academy offers a program designed for academically gifted students.
- Nobel offers a program designed for creatively gifted students.
Dimensions Academy at Oak Grove and Olson Middle SchoolsDimensions Academy, a self-contained classroom-based program is designed to meet the unique educational and social/emotional needs of gifted children in grades 6-8 who have exceptional academic skills. The program continues to receive international attention and draws families from across the metropolitan area.
Learn more about Dimensions Academy.
Nobel Program at Valley View Middle School
Nobel is designed to develop talent in high ability students through a rigorous humanities approach. Focusing on critical thinking and creativity, students will engage in a rich curriculum connecting literature, social sciences, philosophy, and the arts. Inspired by Alfred Nobel and his legacy of celebrating outstanding contributions in fields such as literature, physics, and peace, this program is designed to build habits of scholarship and inspire students to embrace their own leadership capabilities to positively impact their world.
Learn more about Nobel.
Honors and Accelerated Courses at Bloomington Public Schools
Honors and accelerated courses are designed to provide academically advanced students with sophisticated and complex learning experiences in reading (6th), language arts (7th and 8th), mathematics (6th-8th), and science (Valley View MS only). Honors courses demand the highest level of participation, effort, and quality from students. Curriculum in an Honors course is extended beyond the core. It places additional emphasis on higher-level thinking and explores curriculum at greater depths and levels of complexity.
Honors and accelerated courses for advanced students differ in three distinct ways: pace, complexity, and depth.
Pace is related to the accelerated instructional practices and increased self-management within the classroom environment. For advanced learners, spending less time on developing background knowledge, fewer examples offered on how to do particular methods, and less teacher-led practice increases the instructional pace. Students are expected to develop independence more rapidly than in the regular classroom.
Complexity is defined by the extensiveness of thinking and doing within a discipline of study and is characterized by the higher-level thought processes involved in classroom activities. For advanced learners, honors and accelerated courses require them to use sophisticated levels of higher-order thinking, including analysis, evaluation, and synthesis, as well as using creativity, critical reasoning skills, decision making and problem-solving strategies to complete coursework. Classroom situations presented by the teacher for problem-solving are more abstract and infuse greater levels of ambiguity. Students are expected to explore and experiment with various formulas to find answers to complex problems. Honors and accelerated classes require students to work together and be able to clearly and succinctly communicate group results to the rest of the class.
Depth is related to the degree to which students delve into content and develop a greater understanding of the discipline. For advanced learners, the content offers more abstract concepts and more interdisciplinary connections than in the regular classroom. Students learn and are encouraged to use the principles (rules) and theories of the discipline.
Please click on the appropriate link for information on Honors placement requirements and the application process.
- Criteria and process for Honors Scoring
- Students currently attending a Bloomington Public Schools middle school who will be attending Jefferson High School
- Students currently attending a Bloomington Public Schools middle school who will be attending Kennedy High School
- The appeals process for non-Bloomington students AND Jefferson High School students seeking additional Honors classes
- By mid-December, the district will send families letters with Honors placements (Jefferson) and Honors recommendations (Kennedy)
- Honors Appeals (Jefferson only) are due Friday, January 25.
- Honors Appeals placement decisions will be sent to parents by the beginning of March.
Differentiation within the Classroom
The middle school gifted and talented coordinator also trains teachers to use gifted education strategies in their classrooms. These differentiation strategies include offering enrichment assignments and activities based on higher-level thinking skills, diverse learning styles, and multiple intelligences. Students do not get more work when the teacher differentiates the curriculum; they get different, more in-depth work, and more choices in their learning. Modifying the curriculum to best meet students’ individual needs is true differentiation.
Coordinator of Gifted & Talented Programs and Services
Oak Grove Middle School
1300 West 106th Street
Bloomington, MN 55431