FAQ About AAP at Silverbrook

Updated September 2017


Frequently Asked Questions about Advanced Academics Screening

Silverbrook offers Local Level IV Services for our center eligible and school-based advanced academics students.

  • We automatically screen ALL students for ALL levels of service* using multiple criteria.
  • We automatically screen ALL second graders* for our Local Level IV program.
  • We also automatically screen ALL students for our Local Level IV classes in grades 3-6.
  • We automatically screen ALL grade 3-5 students for advanced math.

*County eligibility for Level IV is the only time a parent referral may be required. See details below.

 What are the school-based services for students in grades 3-6? Level II and Level III Services:

Advanced Academic school-based services are delivered to eligible students in grades 3-6 through a collaborative model that supports a continuum of advanced academic services. The model is designed to strengthen direct services for advanced learners and to enhance the quality of instruction offered to all students.

The Advanced Academic Resource Teachers collaborate with classroom teachers as needed. All students are taught nine creative and critical thinking strategies.

At Silverbrook, Advanced Math is considered a Level II service since this service offers differentiation for students with an academic strength in math.

Students identified for school-based (level III) services receive direct services from the Advanced Academic Resource Teacher in a pull-out program.

Students are automatically screened for Level II and Level III services at Silverbrook.

What services are available for a second grader?

At Silverbrook, we do not formally identify students for Advanced Academic services until third grade. Mrs. McGovern works closely with the entire second grade team throughout the school year to gather work samples and observe academic behaviors. Mrs. McGovern also conducts several whole class lessons during the fall and winter. In addition, students might participate in a small group pull-out lesson. Many students are rotated through this flexible small group setting and student participation changes from week to week. This model is most effective in helping Mrs. McGovern get to know the second grade students and offers students multiple and varied opportunities to showcase their thinking verbally and with tangible work products.

What services are available for kindergarten and first grade students?

Prior to second grade, the classroom teacher offers differentiated curriculum and enrichment opportunities by varying the product, process or content of the curriculum. Teachers also use the Critical and Creative Thinking Strategies as part of their lessons. Teachers may also use flexible small group instruction and offer open-ended assignments. Kindergarten and First Grade teachers consult with Mrs. McGovern as needed. Students also attend the Strategies Lab once a month. The PTO also offers various enrichment options for interested parents.

What is the center (Level IV) program?

The advanced academics center program provides full-time academic placement for eligible students. Teachers follow a curriculum framework to differentiate the depth, breadth, and pace of instruction based on the FCPS Program of Studies. Students work with academic peers in all core subject areas. Advanced Academic center eligibility is determined by the Fairfax County AAP central selection committee, not the base school. Silverbrook students who are eligible for Level IV services by the central selection committee may attend Lorton Station or Silverbrook.

*This is the only eligibility for services that is based on a parent referral or the second grade pool.

What are Local Level IV Services?

Local Level IV Services provide an important option for advanced learners who need the challenge of a center curriculum and do not want to leave their local school. They also provide another avenue of access for gifted services to more students who have the capacity to think, reason, and problem solve on advanced levels. Silverbrook’s Advanced Academics Screening Committee automatically screens every second grade student for placement in the Local Level IV classrooms. Students who are found eligible during the county’s central screening are automatically eligible for services at Silverbrook. Other students may also be found eligible by our local committee.

How are Local Level IV Services different from a traditional Advanced Academics Center?

This level of service is offered only to the students who attend that school. At traditional centers, eligible students are bused from other FCPS schools. The curriculum taught through Local Level IV Services is the same curriculum taught in all centers. 

How do parent/guardians refer FCPS students for Level IV screening?

Parents/guardians of students currently enrolled in FCPS may initiate Advanced Academic center screening by submitting a Advanced Academic Programs Referral Form to the Advanced Academic Resource Teacher at the local school by the published deadline. This is the only action that is required to initiate the screening process. The referral form is located in the Parent/Guardian Information Packet which is available at all FCPS elementary and middle schools and on the Advanced Academics Programs website (link above).This referral form is for Level IV eligibility consideration. NO referrals are required to be considered for Level II and Level III services.

What tests are used to screen students for Advanced Academic Programs?

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAt) and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) are administered to all FCPS second grade students during September/October. Both tests use a multiple choice format. The CogAT is timed and has three sections which yield three sub scores, one for each section. The NNAT is also timed and has one section and one score. These tests are only given ONCE either in second grade or after a new student is enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools

If my child is not in the 2nd grade pool, can he/she still be considered for center placement?

The second grade pool is only a starting point. It is a means to identify a group of second grade candidates for the Advanced Academic Level IV program. It does not have a limiting effect because any parent/guardian, teacher, and/or administrator may refer a child and many do. Students who are referred receive the same consideration as students who are in the pool. All files are screened at the same time by the Central Selection Committees. Students in grades 3-7 can also be screened for Level IV by submitting the AAP (Level IV) Referral Form.

The second grade pool letters are typically mailed in January. The letters are only mailed to parents of pool students. Parents interested in Level IV eligibility may submit a referral form at any time; they do not have to wait to find out if their child is in the pool.

Mrs. McGovern can accept referrals at any time during the school year. Please do not wait until the final day the referrals are due if you plan to refer your child for services.

How important are the test scores in determining eligibility for Level IV placement?

Test scores are just one piece of data considered when a file is reviewed for Advanced Academic Services. The Central Selection Committee, made up of FCPS teachers, specialists, and administrators, considers multiple criteria, including ability and achievement test scores, the Gifted Behaviors Rating Scale (GBRS), student progress reports, and other optional information such as the Parent/Guardian Questionnaire.

How do teachers contribute to the screening process?

Classroom teachers are members of the Local Screening Committee. The Local Screening Committee reviews student work samples, anecdotal evidence of students' academic potential, and teacher input in order to complete the Gifted Behaviors Rating Scale with Commentary (GBRSw/C). This document is completed based on input from the entire committee not from one staff member. Parents do not complete this form. After the screening file is complete, parents may ask for a copy of this document. Please note that because input from FCPS staff is included in the GBRS w/Commentary, recommendations from individual FCPS teachers will not be accepted.

How do parents contribute to the county Level IV screening process?

Parents may refer students for AAP services by completing and submitting the Referral Form. In addition, parents can submit optional information to the school. This optional information could include a Parent/Guardian Questionnaire, a maximum of four single-sided 8 1/2" x 11" pages of student work and a maximum of five single-sided 8 1/2" x 11" pages of certificates, awards, honors, accomplishments, letters of commendations. See the Parent Information Packet for all the current guidelines as these guidelines are modified occasionally. 

When is notification of eligibility sent to parent/guardians?

For spring Level IV screening, notification of eligibility is mailed in April by the Advanced Academic Programs Office. Silverbrook sends notification of eligibility for Local Level IV services in August when teacher notifications are mailed to the entire community. There will be a parent meeting in April for the parents of second grade students who were found eligible by the county screening process for Level IV services. This meeting is designed to answer the questions of parents making a decision about Level IV services and Local Level IV services.

Why is the benchmark for the 2nd grade pool different each year?

The make-up of the 2nd grade pool is determined by student performance on the two tests. It is difficult to predict how the students will do from year to year and, therefore, the benchmark or cutoff scores vary accordingly. This score is usually in the 130's when using a Standard Age Scores. Last year on the CogAT, the benchmark to be automatically considered for services was based on the COMPOSITE score.

Why does the score used for the benchmark vary?

Each year FCPS tries to capture a similar number of students as a starting point for screening. In some years, capturing that number is best accomplished through use of the subtest scores; other years the composite score better captures that number. It is important to remember that the pool is just a starting point and does not guarantee eligibility since, according to Virginia regulation, no single piece of information can find a student eligible or ineligible. FCPS uses a holistic case study approach as prescribed in the National Association for Gifted Children’s best practices. Students for whom referrals are done have files created in the same manner as pool candidates and are screened at the same time as pool candidates.

For additional information contact:

Lauren McGovern, Silverbrook Advanced Academic Resource Teacher

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