Middle School TDAA Services

Talent Development and Advanced Academics services are provided at all SoWashCo Middle Schools through the Levels of Service approach (Treffinger, 1998).  These levels are based on the individual programming model developed by Dr. Donald Treffinger of the Center for Creative Learning, Inc. in Sarasota, Florida.  Middle School Levels of Service (PDF)

Levels of Service Programming is:

  • Flexible: Programming includes many different people, places, and kinds of activities. It does not follow one formula, single curriculum, or set program of activities or services.

  • Inclusive: Programming that is appropriate, challenging, and developmental can be available to anyone. Programming includes a broad range of talents and does not serve just one fixed group of students.

  • Responsive: Programming responds to the positive needs of students. It guides planning and decision making and leads to modifications of instruction. The mission of programming is to design and deliver instruction through which we can bring out the best in every student.

  • Proactive: Programming challenges the teacher, school, district, parents, and community to take constructive actions for talent development. Taking initiative for talent development becomes everyone's business.

  • Unifying: Programming provides a structure and terminology for communicating effectively about talent development within and among home, school, and community.

Teachers do not assume that students who have a great deal of potential in one area have a high level of potential in all areas. Sometimes, students with high potential for math may not have high reading ability and vice versa. High ability in one area does not equate with high ability in other areas. LoS provides a framework for planning, delivering, and managing a wide range of responses to the needs of students. (Selby & Young, 2001)

Edwin C Selby, & Grover C Young. (2003, October). The Levels of Service approach to talent development: Parallels with existing programs. Gifted Child Today, 26(4), 44-50,65.

Grades 6-8 Cluster Classrooms

Gifted learners in grades 6-8 are placed together into cluster classrooms for their core classes of language arts, social studies, science & math, with teachers who have been specifically trained to meet the needs of a gifted young adolescent. 

Cluster grouping is the practice of placing a small group or cluster of gifted students together in the same classroom with a teacher who has received additional training in teaching gifted learners. Cluster classrooms have the same number of students as all other classes and include not only gifted students, but also students with a broad range of abilities. The idea of clustering is to allow high ability students to learn with peers of all abilities, while also being able to group together for more challenging lessons.

Research shows that clustering students of high ability increases the opportunity for instruction to be delivered at an appropriate pace and level of challenge. When grouped with students of like abilities, gifted students make more educational gains than when they are separated into different classes.

Gifted Education services in District 833 are curriculum based. The curriculum for students in the cluster classroom is based on our district's core curriculum which is differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. Able learners may progress at an accelerated rate or at an in-depth level. A primary objective of the cluster classroom is to place greater emphasis on high level cognitive abilities and go more in-depth with the curriculum. All students benefit when teachers focus on expanding, extending, and enhancing classroom learning opportunities.

For information about Gifted Education in SoWashCo Middle Schools please click here for the Gifted Education Middle School Brochure.  To learn more about our district middle schools, see the school website, contact the building gifted education coach or the principal of your child's middle school.

Middle School Gifted Education Coaches

Each middle school has a teacher responsible for being the coach for gifted students in their school to support students and families. This staff member is available to focus on students’ progress, identify key adult advocates, meet with the students periodically throughout the year and create a foundation to embed gifted education services within the context of middle school philosophy. Each Gifted Education Coach has extensive training in gifted education and expertise on the unique needs of high ability and gifted students, effective learning environments, instructional strategies, and content design. For information specific to your child's middle school, please see your contact person below.

Cottage Grove Middle School:
 Jillian Nordstrom jnordstr@sowashco.org
Lake Middle School:  Anne Bleyl ableyl@sowashco.org
Oltman Middle School:  Brianne Anfinson banfinso@sowashco.org
Woodbury Middle School:  Elizabeth Kopacek ekopacek@sowashco.org


The amount of time this staff member has allocated for student case management varies by site as they are also classroom teachers. Middle school counselors are also available to support students and parents.