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Lower Merion School District


Achievement Teams

At each school in the District, Achievement Teams regularly review student progress across grade levels. Achievement Teams are comprised of representative members of the professional and administrative staff with the inclusion of teachers, school psychologists, guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, reading and math specialists and other specialists identified by each building's lead administrator.

Students may be referred to the Achievement Team by individual teachers, teacher teams, other school personnel, or parents. The Achievement Teams use a variety of informational sources to gather data on student achievement including student grades, student performance on standardized tests, and other anecdotal information from all those who come into contact with the student both in the school and home environments.

The Achievement Team works to gather baseline data on student progress, develop an action plan which includes research-based strategies to support students in the targeted area(s) of need, and support teachers in their efforts to make instructional modifications and provide instructional or behavioral interventions. Achievement Teams monitor each student's progress on a regular basis in order to document the effectiveness of interventions or recommend further modifications to meet the needs of the student.

Screening is a systematic process to determine if there is a need to evaluate a student for gifted education services. Multiple sources of data inform this process, such as results from curriculum-based assessments, achievement tests and an ability test. Other educational factors, such as evidence of high-level thinking skills and academic creativity in student work samples, and the presence of intervening factors, such as limited English proficiency or disability, which may mask giftedness, are considered as well. When a request is made to screen a student for gifted education, the Achievement Team reviews the data and determines whether they indicate a need for evaluation for gifted education services. If so, the Achievement Team makes a gifted education evaluation referral.

Students who go through the Achievement Team process and still exhibit a high degree of need may be referred for an evaluation. The student's parent(s)/guardian(s) participate in discussion to determine if an evaluation is necessary. An evaluation conducted by the school psychologist and other pertinent members determines if there is evidence of giftedness and/or disability and whether there is a need for Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) and/or accommodations and/or modifications.