2018-04-15 / News

North Branch looks to expand successful COMPASS program

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese @mihomepaper.com


As part of the COMPASS Program, third-grader Hudson Budreau captures the school’s news report on camera as delivered by fourth-graders Logan Burack and Joe Pittenger. 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese As part of the COMPASS Program, third-grader Hudson Budreau captures the school’s news report on camera as delivered by fourth-graders Logan Burack and Joe Pittenger. Photo by Nicholas Pugliese NORTH BRANCH — With its first full year winding down, the North Branch Elementary COMPASS Program is setting its sights toward the future, and with it, expansion.

The COMPASS Program, or Creating Opportunities to Meet Potential And Stretch Skills, began this year with the goal to address the growing needs of gifted and accelerated learners in North Branch Elementary (NBE), and the group is looking to expand the grade levels serviced by the program by adding fifth grade, and Ruth Fox Elementary, to the fold.

According to COMPASS Coordinator and NBE Assistant Principal Dane Terauds, he’s been working with a team at Ruth Fox to ensure the transition next year will be as a smooth as possible. “We want to be able to meet the needs of those gifted and accelerated learners,” he said. “It’s for kids that are looking for a challenge and can handle a challenge.”


COMPASS students like third-grader Chase Howard and fourth-graders Tanner James and Rileigh Nowak are also responsible for the operation of the school store, including everything from inventory to marketing. 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese COMPASS students like third-grader Chase Howard and fourth-graders Tanner James and Rileigh Nowak are also responsible for the operation of the school store, including everything from inventory to marketing. Photo by Nicholas Pugliese The program, said Terauds, provides unique learning opportunities for its students, including multi-age learning environments, accelerated curriculum and project-based learning. “We’ve done a lot of planning this year to look at our transition up to the Ruth Fox,” said Terauds.

As part of the program, the third- and fourth-graders at NBE are responsible for operating the school store as well as produce three episodes a week for the school’s news program. “They’ve taken over the school store,” said Terauds. “They do everything from purchasing, marketing and business proposals.”

Students are also able to participate in a “Genius Hour,” said Terauds, during which they’re encouraged to pursue projects of interest to them. “Kids get to work on their own project that they’re passionate about,” he said.

The goal of the program is to provide equity, not equality in education. According to Terauds, equity represents fairness in curriculum, and COMPASS aims to maximize each student’s growth and individual success by meeting each student at his or her own level rather than expecting students to modify themselves for the curriculum. “It’s challenging each kid appropriately, each kid goes through what they learn at a different rate,” he said. “Let’s do something that is meaningful and impactful.”

In addition to customized curriculum, students enrolled with the school’s COMPASS program gain individualized social/emotional support. “When we see kids that are gifted, we see that that sometimes comes with some social or emotional needs,” said Terauds. “One of the things that’s a feather in the cap to the program is that we have gifted and accelerated learners from all different walks of life — economically disadvantaged kids and kids supported by special ed.”

In fact, the definition of “gifted” might not be what it was decades ago, said Terauds. According to the National Association for Gifted Children, “gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.” The term is not a nebulous quality to denote skill, but a quantifiable term that Terauds and his team are able to measure via the NNAT3 Assessment (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test).

The application window for new students interested in the COMPASS Program will be open until April 27, and parents interested in learning more about the program can visit www.nbbroncos.net/ schools/nbe for more information. There is a $10 application fee to cover the cost of the NNAT3 Assessment and testing is completed at NBE during the regular school day.

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