Advanced Learning Plans

Advanced Learning Plan (ALP)

The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) is Colorado’s primary law with requirements for the implementation of specific elements and procedures for gifted education programs. The Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is a legal document [22-20-R-12.00, C.R.S.] outlining programming for identified gifted students and is used as a guide for educational planning and decision-making. The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act states that there will be ALP content and procedures set in Rule for statewide implementation; and that goals in the ALP are standards-based. Sections 12.02(2)(f) – 12.02(2)(g)(vi) of the Rules clarify ALP content, procedures and responsibilities. For high school students the ALP may be blended with an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) if all contents of the ALP are inclusive in the ICAP, including achievement and affective goals.

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.

Standards-Based ALPs
Our district is moving toward standards-based goals. This is a requirement set forth in the Rules, which CDE is starting to roll out into schools. 

An ALP incorporates standards-aligned education and best practices in gifted instruction. This approach identifies the appropriate standards, at or above grade level, to challenge a gifted student, and provides opportunities to show application and transfer of those standards. The Colorado Academic Standards and National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) affective standards are most utilized for standards-based goals and instruction. Goals are strength-based in each area of giftedness, and may also relate to interests.

Achievement goals may also correspond to a gap in learning. For example, a student who was grade-skipped may need an academic goal to learn specific skills that are lacking from the student's repertoire. Although it is a goal based on a need, it ultimately strengthens the area and helps the child successfully meet other goals the student has.  

Affective goals relate to personal, social, communication, leadership, and/or cultural competency [12.02(2)(f)(ii].  It is also designed to enhance a strength, rather than fix a deficit. Sometimes the goal relates to a deficit a child has because the child needs that skill in order to succeed at a personal interest. For example, a student who is developing leadership might pursue a goal related to active listening because this will prepare him or her to lead a group effectively. This would be appropriate. It would not, however, be appropriate to have a goal related to active listening when a teacher or parent felt the student did not listen well to others.  Goals should be based on areas students want to improve because they tend to be very personal, and the best way to succeed at an affective goal is to be vested in this effort.  

ALP Development
The ALP is a collaborative effort between parent(s)/guardian(s), the student, and school personnel. Our district is transitioning from having GATE Facilitators oversee goal-writing to having the staff most directly involved in educating the child writing the goal with the parents and student. This transition will occur over time, and will vary in the extent of implementation from school to school. The primary service provider will work with the student to monitor progress toward the goal, and will send updates to the GATE Facilitator to add information and make changes to the official ALP.  

The school will make an attempt to involve parents in ALP Development and in progress reviews. Attempts may include, but are not limited to, sending emails to parents asking for input, requesting the parent sign up during parent/teacher conferences, inviting the parents to a meeting, obtaining a signature from parents, sending couriers, voice messages, texts, or notes home regarding ALPs, and sending updates on progress. This contact may come from GATE facilitators, classroom teachers, or administrators.

In the past, teachers consulted with each other and with parents leading up to and during parent/teacher conferences. Previous law required that the ALP be visited at least yearly, so ALPs could also be spread out throughout the year to allow more time to meet and develop each individual ALP. 

Rules have modified this practice, so the district is transferring to completing ALPs either at the end of the year or within the first month of the school year. For a transfer, the ALP will be reviewed within 45 school days. If the criteria for identification are insufficient or incomplete, the district will contact the former district, parents, and student to request additional support, and may re-evaluate the student. Communication will be made within 60 school days of the student enrollment date explaining any changes to the student's ALP, and the services and program option for the identified area(s).

ALP Development Process

The following process is used for developing the ALP. Items may be combined together or done separately, depending on such items as student, parent, and school  preference, time constraints, the number of goals and strengths being addressed, and the amount of input from outside sources that must be consulted before moving on with a proposal.

  • Review previous ALP. Document any final data that needs to be recorded. Determine outcome of goal (achieved, in progress, not yet achieved)

  • Meet with student and discuss previous goals and the progress made toward these goals. Review improvement over time based on progress monitoring completed during goal duration.

  • When appropriate, complete student inventory or survey

  • When appropriate, complete parent inventory or survey

  • Discuss goal and service ideas with students, parents, and teachers (together or separately), based on such information as surveys, current coursework, standards, career and academic goals, and data.

  • Develop at least one specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely strength-based goal for each identified area of giftedness, and at least one specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely affective goal. The goal(s) specifically state(s) the measurement and any sub-goal, benchmark completion targets along the way. 

  • Determine the accommodations, differentiation strategies, acceleration needs, and service structures needed for the student to excel in the classroom and to successfully reach the goal. This plan is developed in conjunction with school personnel, the student, the family, and anyone the family desires to include (ex: case manager, counselor, talent specialist).

  • Record all information into the database. Provide access (print and/or electronic copies) to teachers working with the student and parents. Place the original copy in the student's cumulative folder.

  • Review the goals periodically with the student, discussing progress toward the goals, next steps, and the degree of effectiveness of the service delivery method. Adjust goals, services, acceleration tactics, and/or instruction as needed. 

  • Maintain communication with parent(s) via natural progress intervals (ex: parent/teacher conferences, end of term, upon assignment completion) using various methods (ex.: email, note home, grade book comment, progress report printout) 

  • When a goal is reached, abandoned, or modified, document it.

  • Repeat entire process every year. 

Each goal will be reviewed, revised, and/or constructed each year to accommodate for the changing needs of students and changing service plans at each building. It will also be completed using the current standards of the student's level. Multiple year plans are utilized to ensure that students receiving accelerated paths have plans down the road. Students are asked to contribute to their plans by setting goals, indicating strengths and interests, and assisting in program design.

ALP inclusions

  • Plan type
  • Plan dates
  • Student Profile
  • ALP Participants
  • Affective and Academic Goals
  • Career and Post-Secondary Planning
  • Parents and Family Partnership
  • Record of Parent Contact
  • Comments

The goals section includes the bulk of information about the student's plan. It houses: Goal, Objectives, Instructional Actions/Strategies, Progress Monitoring, Responsibility, Resources, and Types of Differentiation/Support structure. In coordination with each goal is a section that allows the teacher to elaborate on the instructional methods, tools, strategies,and/or resources for the course. It outlines the structure, content options, differentiated instruction methods (curriculum-based, grade-based acceleration, extensions, depth, complexity, and novelty, higher order thinking skills, tiered supports)