Skip to main content
Main Content

Extended Learning Program

Charting the Course for our Gifted & Talented Students

Click here for a July 2016 board presentation on the Extended Learning Program
Fulfilling the mission of the Marshalltown Community School District challenges students to become life-long learners and productive, critical thinkers who strive for self-understanding and demonstrate responsible, global citizenship. Realizing that the regular classroom curriculum must be augmented for gifted students, the Extended Learning Program (ELP) supports and provides qualitatively differentiated learning. The Extended Learning Program assists gifted students in reaching their academic potential.

At the Elementary Level

At the elementary level the majority of high ability students’ academic needs are met through classroom differentiation, but a small percentage of these students require individualized enrichment services in an alternative setting. It is the role of the elementary ELP teacher to provide services to those students with very high ability, screen classroom populations for potential giftedness, and support classroom differentiation.

At the Intermediate/Middle School Level

The intermediate/middle level (5-8) program provides learning experiences that are student-centered and need-driven. Within this setting, the Extended Learning Program encourages the development of effective interpersonal skills, self-direction, and communication skills. The qualitatively differentiated curriculum builds on individual abilities, needs, passions, and learning styles, and strives to ignite students’ desire for rigor and life long learning. It challenges students to develop critical and creative thinking skills, problem solving abilities, and the ability to work autonomously. The program aspires to respond to the district goals and the needs of a changing population.

At the High School Level

The high school program focuses on meeting the individual needs of students as they prepare for life after high school. High ability students at the high school level continue to receive services that focus on meeting their academic, social and emotional needs. Additionally, a significant portion of the high school program encourages students to prepare for the future through investigation of career and college options. Students are also counseled in planning a rigorous course of study that often includes courses of independent study.



  • Services for the gifted and talented should be an integral part of the Marshalltown K-12 program.

  • Curriculum for talented and gifted students should be differentiated in process, pace, depth, and expected outcomes.

  • High ability students have social and emotional needs that require accommodation.

  • Students must be provided with structured opportunities to interact with peers with similar abilities and interests.

  • Identification of talented and gifted youth should include multiple, flexible, and inclusive procedures and criteria. Identification should reflect Marshalltown's culturally and economically diverse population.

  • Optimal programming for talented and gifted students should include a variety of educational opportunities such as differentiation, specialized group studies, independent study, mentorship, advanced classes, service learning, and acceleration.


Target Population

The Marshalltown Extended Learning Program is designed to serve students in grades K-12 who have demonstrated high achievement or potential in one or more of the following areas of giftedness:

  1. General Intellectual Ability

  2. Specific Ability Aptitude

  3. Creative and Productive Thinking

Approximately 5-8 % of Marshalltown students are identified using multiple criteria.

Programming for students with special abilities in other areas of giftedness (visual and performing arts, leadership, psychomotor) may be referred to school or community programs for enrichment opportunities.

Students with academic gifts and talents come from all cultural and economic backgrounds. Local norms are used to identify minority students who may be at a disadvantage in demonstrating their talent due to language limitations, cultural expectations, or limited academic/life experiences.


Curriculum and Instruction Goals

1. The program will provide an opportunity for the study of advanced concepts and involvement in relevant projects.

  • Students may plan and conduct an independent or group study project

  • Students may participate in special interest activities, contests, and competitions

  • Students may participate in specialized and/or acceleration instruction

2. The program will provide a qualitatively differentiated educational experience for students in the ELP resource room.

  • Instructional strategies will be used to encourage higher level thinking, inquiry, and skill development

  • Curriculum will introduce concepts and content that are beyond the scope of the regular classroom

3. The program will provide a positive environment for meeting the emotional and social needs of the students.

  • Students will be encouraged to discuss and reflect upon personal concerns, challenges, and coping strategies as a gifted student

  • Students will be given support in developing skills in goal setting, time management, teamwork, and self-assessment



The Marshalltown Community School District considers every student for placement in the Extended Learning Program (ELP). These methods are in keeping with both federal and state definitions of gifted and talented students. Realizing that students with academic gifts and talents come from all cultural and economic backgrounds, local norms are used to identify minority students whose diversity may mask their talents due to language limitations, cultural expectations, or limited academic/life experiences.

The MCSD identification system consists of three basic steps: Screening for Talent Pool, Talent Pool Assessment, and Identification/Selection for Direct Services, as described in Figure 1 and in the following narrative.

Identification Process for ELP Services (PDF)

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader


Extended Learning Program Faculty


Susan Fritzell
Marshalltown High School (9-12)
641-754-1130 ext. 1185


Ann Jackson
Miller Middle School (7-8)


Vanessa Engel
Lenihan Intermediate (5-6)
641-754-1160 ext. 1102


Nicole Holman

Hoglan Elementary (K-4)

Anson Elementary (K-4)

Woodbury Elementary (K-4)


Deb Christenson

Rogers Elementary (K-4) 

Fisher Elementary (K-4)

Franklin Elementary (K-4)

Copyright 2015-2021 Marshalltown Community School District