Advanced Learner Program (ALP)

Our ALP Philosophy

We believe that all children are entitled to an education tailored to their particular needs. While all students have personal strengths, some have abilities and talents that go beyond the core curriculum. Such students often require access to differentiated or advanced curriculum in order to realize their potential contribution to themselves and society. All children learn and experience success given time and opportunity, but the degree to which academic content standards are met and the time it takes to reach the standards will vary from student to student. We believe all students, including advanced learners, should be challenged and supported to reach their full potential.

Check out this awesome video of our ALP program that was presented at the School Board Meeting on March 20, 2018:
Link to Video

Find staff for each site here

Elementary Contacts:

Leanne Shimek
C.H. Bird & Northside Elementary
608.834.7355 & 608.834.7157

Breeanne VanDerKamp
Creekside & Horizon Elementary
608.834.7965 & 608.834.7750

Kimberly Rhodes
Eastside & Westside Elementary
608.834.7449 & 608.834.7520

Stephanie Burgess
Meadow View & Token Springs Elementary
608.834.5062 & 608.834.5111

Katie Plesac
Royal Oaks Elementary

Aaron Knoploh
Patrick Marsh & High School

Craig Brandl
Prairie View Middle School

Meghan Bosonetta
Sun Prairie High School

Scott Nelson
Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School

Middle, Upper Middle, and High School Contacts:

Aaron Knoploh
Patrick Marsh & High School

Craig Brandl
Prairie View Middle School

Scott Nelson
Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School

Meghan Bosonetta
Sun Prairie High School


Meghan Bosonetta

boy reading a book about space

More Information

Identification Process

The purpose of identification is to locate students who need more than the core curriculum and determine what types of services are needed to ensure a minimum of a year’s worth of growth in a year’s worth of time. The district will focus on providing services for all students regardless of identification. Identification is an ongoing and continuous process to develop awareness of student capabilities and needs. All students are considered for identification with a culturally responsive lens in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

The Sun Prairie Area School District uses multiple criteria, in accordance with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, to identify highly capable students in the five areas. Multiple criteria used for identification of advanced learners may include standardized test scores, individualized testing, parent/guardian nominations, teacher nominations, student nominations, and district assessments. (see nomination forms)


Parents or educators may request that a student be considered for gifted and talented programming by submitting a referral. The referral form is located below.  

For more information on the Identification process see the Advanced Learner Program Handbook.

Advanced Learner Program Core Beliefs

We believe it is crucial for all staff members to be given on-going, job-embedded professional development and for all community stakeholders to have opportunities to share in the process of defining and delivering services for supporting students identified as advanced learners.

We will:

  • Build capacity to advocate for our advanced learners through collaborative relationships between the community, schools, and families. 
  • Ensure programming for underachieving or twice exceptional advanced or gifted learners. 
  • Systematically identify – using multiple measures and resources – individual students for advanced learner programming in the five talent areas. 
  • Develop a Differentiated Education Plan (DEP) when appropriate for identified students, through a collaborative team process. Each plan will be reviewed annually and progress will be monitored. 
  • Conduct an annual program evaluation at the district level. 
  • Have meaningful curriculum for students identified as advanced learners, which will be respectful of identified areas of ability and interest and include purposeful outcomes. 
  • Have increased academic achievement through differentiated instruction, compacted curriculum, flexible student grouping, and/or academic planning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are Advanced Learners?
According to the National Association for Gifted Children, advanced learners “are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence in one or more domains.” Students may be advanced in general intellectual, specific academics, visual or performing arts, leadership, and/or creativity. See the Advanced Learner Program Handbook for further information.  
Who do I talk to if I have questions about the Advanced Learner Program? 
After you have read the Advanced Learner Program Handbook for details about what students are advanced learners and specifics about our program, there are professionals you can talk to for more information. The points of contact (in order) are your child’s classroom teacher, the school’s Advanced Learner Program Specialists, and the principal. If a parent has further questions, she or he may contact the district’s Advanced Learner Coordinator.
Who do I talk to if I suspect my child is an advanced learner?
While conference times may be convenient, you may call, email, or ask your child’s teacher for a meeting at other times during the year. Parents may also contact the building-level Advanced Learner Program Specialist (ALPS) with questions regarding advanced learner identification, differentiation, and next steps. If assessments are warranted, parents will be contacted for permission. The team will analyze assessment data and identify advanced learner needs. The results of assessments regarding formal identification will be communicated by the identification team to parents. 
How will I know what services my child will receive?
Students identified as having Tier I and Tier II needs will be provided a variety of services appropriate to their educational needs. Conversations with teachers and Advanced Learner Program Specialists at parent-teacher conferences or individual meetings will provide information about each student’s services. A full Differentiated Education Plan (DEP) is developed for students identified at Tier III, and modified versions of the plan are created for Tier I and Tier II students. Identified students will be reevaluated each year and parents/guardians will be contacted on an annual basis in regard to their student’s programming. (See handbook page 19 for more detailed descriptions on the Tiers.)
What does it mean to differentiate instruction?
Students come to school with varying levels of readiness to learn, different ways in which they learn, and a wide range of interests. Differentiating instruction means that a teacher recognizes those academic differences and modifies classroom instruction in order to help each child reach his or her academic potential.
How will I know if my child is receiving differentiated opportunities? Differentiation is designed to occur in all subjects and all grade levels throughout the entire school year. In many cases, a child may not be aware that adaptations have been made to meet his or her needs, but parents are encouraged to ask their child and/or their child’s teacher about assignments, groupings, projects, and opportunities that occur in his or her classes.
How can I best prepare for a meeting with the teacher(s)?
Feel free to call or email your student’s teacher introducing your child and describing his or her perceived needs before the school year begins. At your child’s conference, share what your child enjoys about school and share your insights about your child. Present yourself as a supportive parent who recognizes the teacher’s efforts to meet all students’ needs. The following questions for teachers may help you obtain more in-depth information about your child: 1. What do you see as my child’s strengths and areas in need of further growth? 2. If my child already has a solid grasp of the subject matter in a class, what additional opportunities are available? Does s/he take advantage of the opportunities?  3. How can I support my child outside of the classroom? 
How do I find out what enrichment opportunities are available for my child? Most district opportunities will be communicated by teachers or are available on the district’s website. Students are encouraged to explore and develop their interests. These activities come to students through many avenues including parents, teachers, schools, or the district. Families are also encouraged to explore activities offered by outside organizations such as the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth and the Greater Dane Advanced Learner Network.