John Hay Elementary

John Hay

Advanced Learning

Advanced Learning (ALO) Guiding Principles

John Hay is committed to providing a rich learning environment that creates high expectations for every child.  We believe that each student should be given the opportunities and supports to be highly successful at their individual level.  We provide this rigorous learning environment for all students by utilizing the following: differentiated instruction, flexible grouping, enrichment opportunities, and cross-grade partnerships.  Our teachers hold high expectations for students as well as themselves by teaching in effective and engaging ways.  We use data and progress monitoring to appropriately differentiate for each student. This model serves our ALO students as well as meets the needs of each student.

Rationale and Research

Teachers will differentiate instruction in all classrooms. Based on works published by the ASCD (Tomlinson, et. al.), these are the foundational principles for differentiating instruction:

  • Differentiate by content (what you teach)
    • Differentiated content can be based on the variety of learning styles, interests (choice), learning contracts, targeted resources, acceleration, and curriculum compacting, etc.
  • Differentiate by process (how you teach it)
    • Differentiated processes can include multi-modal instruction, tiered curriculum, learning centers, learning contracts, journal prompts, choice of work partners, etc.
  • Differentiate by product (how you assess it)
    • Differentiated learning environments include a focus on development of the classroom as a community of learners; strategies can include formative assessment practices, collaborative development of classroom procedures, class meetings, shared decision making, response journals, debates, “me” presentations, etc.


John Hay Elementary considers the following factors to provide a range of services to our students:

  1. Make intentional decisions about grouping: How do teachers group their students?
    • In-class and cross-class flexible grouping; both heterogeneous and homogeneous.
    • Workshop model (i.e. Readers and Writers Workshop)
  2. Make intentional and appropriate decisions about acceleration or compacting curriculum.
    • Advanced Learners go deeper into grade level CCSS
    • Accelerate only after students demonstrate deep understanding of a particular standard
    • Accelerate students only after they demonstrate mastery of grade level concepts
  3. Support all constituents (teachers, students, and families) in the process of differentiation: How can administrators support this process?
    • Parent informational communications
    • PLC focus; create units, common assessments, and alignment
    • Inter-grade level (horizontal) planning
    • Inter-grade level (vertical) planning
    • Teacher mentorship program
    • Professional development in the areas of rigor, highly effective differentiation, and program planning for advanced learning
    • Students will participate in state and classroom/grade level assessments.  Data will be analyzed to ensure that the advanced students are continuing to make growth and exceeding the benchmarks.

Strategies for Advanced Learning Opportunities

Differentiated instruction within the assigned grade level; students identified as advanced learners by the district and/or by the staff at John Hay will receive acceleration and the opportunities to go deeper into the grade level content.

Flexible, leveled student grouping


  • Students will move in and out of math groups depending upon individual strengths. This leveling will be flexible, happen within the classroom or grade level, and be grouped each trimester, or unit, as teachers see fit.


  • Advanced readers will move to higher reading groups upon mastery that will provide complex instruction reflecting depth through interpretations, predictions and analysis.
  • Guided reading groups–Students are placed within guided reading groups by complexity and higher-level content reading

Tiered assignments


  • Advanced students will receive their math instruction and assignments in varying levels or complexity and depth based on the current standard of study.
  • Advanced students will work at an accelerated pace, when appropriate, to enable lesson extensions based on current standard of study


  • Independent reading–Students are provided with choice books they read to appropriately place them in groups of interest and advanced ability
  • Shared read aloud–creates a supportive learning environment for a range of readers to hear fluent reading as they develop higher level thinking skills
  • Advanced students will receive their literacy instruction and assignments in varying levels of complexity and depth based on the current standard of study
  • They will work at an accelerated pace, when appropriate, to enable lesson extensions based on current standard of study

Additional Enrichment and Leadership Opportunities

  • Global reading challenge
  • Added adult instruction (intervention teachers)
  • Field trips that focus on learning targets
  • Differentiated questioning strategies
  • Variety of Leadership Opportunities