All About Special Populations
Special Populations at Westgate
The United States Office of Elementary and Secondary Education define special populations as students that must overcome barriers that may require special consideration and attention to ensure equal opportunity for success and in an educational setting, and that these students must be provided support that will ensure they have equal access to education resources and opportunities. Additionally, all public schools, including Charters, are required by law to offer a continuum of services to students in special populations.
Special populations served at Westgate:
- Students identified as Gifted and Talented
- Students with limited English proficiency
- Students with disabilities
Why does Westgate have special populations?
First and foremost, Westgate embraces diversity and provides an inclusive environment in which all students are valued and can thrive. Additionally, Westgate is a public school and is required to serve a broad spectrum of students in accordance with state law. While our mission and vision focus on gifted learners, Westgate believes that many types of learners can benefit from gifted education best practices. At our core, Westgate is an inclusive community committed to serve all students. Special population identification helps us focus our efforts to best serve students’ individual needs. Westgate’s services for special populations includes Gifted and Talented, English Language Development (ELD), 504 Plans, and Special Education.
What is Gifted and Talented?
According to the state of Colorado giftedness is defined as, "Those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs." A law commonly known as the Exceptional Children’s Education Act (ECEA), delineates requirements for schools or districts when implementing program plans for gifted student education. ECEA is the overarching law for gifted education and special education. There are multiple areas of possible identification and a standard process utilizing a complete body of evidence to make a formal identification. Students formally identified as Gifted and Talented with a complete body of evidence are provided with an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) in accordance with the law. At Westgate, gifted programming is coordinated by Cassie Seybold. Please see our All About Gifted page on our website. [insert link to GT page]
What is an ALP?
The Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is a legal document outlining programming for identified gifted students and is used as a guide for educational planning and decision-making. The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) states that there will be ALP content and procedures set in Rule for statewide implementation; and that goals in the ALP are standards-based. An ALP shall be developed for every gifted student according to the student’s determined area(s) of giftedness, interests, and instructional, and affective needs. For more information about ALPs please see our All About Gifted section of our website. [insert link to page]
What is English Language Development?
The goal of the English Language Development (ELD) program within the Adams 12 School District is to promote students’ learning of both social and academic English, while also being given opportunities to learn grade level content. The ELD program serves students with limited English proficiency, sometimes referred to as English Language Learners (ELLs). ELD services at Westgate are typically provided in a daily pull-out small group.
What is a 504?
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and overseen by the Office of Civil Rights. The 504 is a document that provides accommodations to students with disabilities. In order to qualify for a 504 in the school environment, a school-based evaluation must be conducted and the student must: 1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or (2) have a record of such an impairment; or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment within the school setting.
What is Special Education?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines special education as specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. To qualify for special education, students must go through an extensive school-based evaluation process that produces a body of evidence that meets the extensive criteria for at least one of 13 IDEA identified disability categories. If a student qualifies for special education, they will be provided with an IEP.
What is an IEP?
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a document uniquely designed for one specific student in the special education program, with the intention of improving educational results for that child. Each IEP must be created in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and, in Colorado, the Exceptional Children’s Education Act (ECEA). An IEP is a part of special education programming. Students with IEPs may receive a spectrum of specialized instruction and services, depending on need.
All students at Westgate receive inclusive education within the general education setting. Additionally, students in special education may receive services outside the general classroom, depending on their need.