Following is a list of often-used terms describing programs, offerings or other facets within Durham Public Schools:
ABCs – A North Carolina initiative to increase student achievement through measuring a school’s growth by comparing students’ learning from one year to the next. End-of-grade and end-of-course scores indicate a year’s growth, and individual schools are rated based on the number of students performing at or above grade level in reading, writing and mathematics.
ACT – Also known as the American College Test. The ACT is a national college admission and placement examination sometimes required for college admission. It can be a replacement test for the SAT or a supplement to the SAT.
AIG – Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Services. Offers more challenging and rigorous academic opportunities for those students identified as eligible.
Academic achievement – The level of actual accomplishment or proficiency one has achieved in an academic area, as opposed to one's potential. For example: a student may have the tested potential to read on a 12th grade level, but may only be reading on a 4th grade level.
Achievement Levels – The four degrees of performance on the state end-of-grade tests.
- Level I – Students performing at this level do not have sufficient mastery of knowledge and skills in this subject to be successful at the next grade.
- Level II – Students performing at this level demonstrate inconsistent mastery of knowledge and skill in this subject area and are minimally prepared to be successful at the next grade level.
- Level III – Students performing at this level consistently demonstrate mastery of grade level subject matter and skills and are well prepared for the next grade level’s work.
- Level IV – Students performing at this level consistently perform in a superior manner clearly beyond that required to be proficient at grade level work.
AP – Advanced Placement. Courses taught in high school that are at college-level difficulty. Students in these courses can earn college credit if they pass the end-of-year AP exam. Through AP Exams, a student has the opportunity to earn credit or advanced standing at most of the nation's colleges and universities.
AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress. The accountability system mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 which requires each state to ensure that all schools and districts make Adequate Yearly Progress toward 100 percent student proficiency by 2013-14.
Character Education – Traits such as citizenship, honesty and respect that are taught through integration into the curriculum.
Charter School – A charter school is a public school that has been created by a group within a community. The notion of a charter school is that the school is exempt from many laws governing public school districts, but they must demonstrate student achievement or the charter won't be renewed at the end of the contractual period. Since charter schools are public schools, the school receives a per-student financial allocation; charter schools cannot charge tuition.
DPS – Durham Public Schools
EOC – End-of-Course tests. State assessments required for students to take at the end of 10 specific high school courses.
EOG – End-of-Grade tests. State assessments required for students to take at the end of grades 3-8.
ESL – English as a Second Language. Offers services to those students whose primary language is one other than English.
ECP – Exceptional Children’s Program. Provides specifically designed instruction and other services for students who are disabled or have special needs.
GPA – Grade Point Average. The GPA is used to measure a student’s level of overall success on a numerical scale. A 1.0 represents a D average, a 2.0 represents a C average, a 3.0 represents a B average, and a 4.0 or higher represents an A average or is evidence of completion of higher level courses (see AP).
GT – Gifted and Talented. (Not to be confused with AIG.) The gifted and talented magnet school program is founded on the belief that all students possess gifts and talents that need to be identified, nurtured, and rewarded. It is the responsibility of educators and parents to identify these gifts and talents and to provide an educational program that develops them. Because the gifted and talented magnet school addresses the gifts and talents of all children, there are no performance measures, auditions, or tests that need to be passed before a child is accepted into the school.
IEP/IEP Team – Individual Education Plan. A team of individuals comprising school professionals, the child's parent(s), and any other individual(s) who have specialized knowledge of an exceptional child. The IEP team is responsible for developing the goals and objectives for the child, and writing the program (IEP) that will serve as a "road map" for the student's teachers and related service providers; they are also responsible for reviewing and revising the plan.
IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. PL 101-476 (formerly known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act). IDEA was amended in 1997 as Public Law 105-17 as is usually just referred to as "IDEA" or "IDEA '97." This piece of federal legislation is the heart of entitlements to special education. IDEA also empowers parents as partners in their special needs child's educational planning
K-12 – Kindergarten through Grade Twelve
LD – Learning Disability or Learning Disorder. A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The term includes, but is not limited to, conditions such as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
Magnet Schools – Schools that offer learning environments focused around specific areas, such as technology, science or art. Enrollment is by application based solely on a student's interest in the school's program. Selection is by a computerized lottery process for available slots.
NCLB – No Child Left Behind. President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act on January 8, 2002. The law focuses on accountability for results. NCLB is based on the belief that high expectations and setting of goals will result in success for all students.
N.C. Standard Course of Study – The curriculum set by the state for grades K-8 and high school courses on which Durham Public Schools curriculum materials are based.
PE – Physical Education.
PLCs – Professional Learning Communities. DPS is now using a national approach to school improvement known as PLCs. Under this effort, teachers form teams within a school to focus on student learning.
POP – Power of Parents. DPS is committed to involving parents in the education of their children. The Board of Education has termed this initiative POP, for “Power of Parents.” Through this effort, the district sponsors workshops and provides encouragement in other ways to help parents be more involved.
Promotion Standards – Set of criteria students must meet to proceed to the next grade. These standards vary according to grade level.
PTA – Parent Teacher Association. The PTA is a voluntary organization bringing together parents and teachers from a particular school, usually for fund-raising, building parental involvement at school, and other activities relating to the welfare of the school. Contact your child’s school to get involved. Schools also may have PTSO groups that are not affiliated with the state and national PTA.
SAT – Standardized Achievement Test . Nearly every college in America accepts the SAT as a part of the admissions process. More than two million students take the SAT every year. Also see: ACT
SBDM – Site-Based Decision Making. Each school has an SBDM team comprising the school’s principal, teachers, and parents. This group works together to oversee numerous school issues, including the budget, professional development and the School Improvement Plan.