Bloomington Public Schools - District #271

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Middle School

Middle School Gifted and Talented Programs

Bloomington 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 Schools

Dimensions 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.

For more information contact:

Jim Hanson
Middle School G.T. Coordinator
952-681-6655
jhanson4@isd271.org

Differentiation within the Classroom

The middle school gifted and talented coordinator 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. 

Honors Information

Honors Overview

Honors and Accelerated Courses

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 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.

Process for Honors Placement (moving to grade 9)

Please click on the appropriate link for information on Honors placement requirements and the application process.

Timeline for 2016-2017 Honors Placement

  • By the end of January, the district will send famlies letters with Honors placements (Jefferson) and Honors recommendations (Kennedy)
  • Honors Appeals (Jefferson only) are due Friday, March 3, 2017
  • Honors Appeals placement decisions will be sent to parents by beginning of April