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Educational Terms Glossary

Unfamiliar with the terms your child's teacher throws around? You're not alone. There's lots of school jargon that can confuse even the most informed parent or guardian. Here's our glossary of some of the most common.

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Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment is when a high school student enrolls in college classes to earn college credit while still attending high school.

English-Language Learner (ELL)

A term for a student whose primary language is not English but is learning the language. Also referred to as ESL, or English as a Second Language.

Extended School Year (ESY)

A school might market or describe itself as being ESY to promote the fact that it doesn't follow a traditional September to June school year. Many ESY schools offer programming year round with quarterly weeklong breaks.

Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs)

Mandates the existence of a set of skills that each student should obtain throughout the course of one grade.

Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP)

An early childhood education program funded by the state of Michigan. The program is designed to serve families living in low-income households. Families must make 100-250 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify. The federal poverty level is currently $23,550 for a family of four. Children must be 4 years old by Nov. 1 of the current school year to be in the program. Children living in families who make 250 percent of the federal poverty limit must have other risk factors to attend.

Great Start to Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

A rating system designed by Michigan's early childhood experts and organizations for evaluating the quality of the state's early childhood education centers and programs. The ratings range from one to five stars, and rate centers based on factors such as environment, curriculum and staff qualifications. These ratings go a step further than Michigan's licensing standards by giving programs more points based on these factors being higher quality.

Head Start

A federally funded early childhood program for children living in low-income households at or below the federal poverty level. This also applies to families who are homeless, have children in foster care or are receiving Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Children must be 3-5 years old to attend this program. There is also an Early Head Start program that serves pregnant women with infants and toddlers.

Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)

A written, instructional education plan developed according to the individual need of the specific pupil. Particularly helpful for children with special needs.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

A federal law put in place to ensure those birth-21 years with disabilities receive the services they need.

Local Education Agency (LEA)

Schools not operating under a traditional school district are considered their own LEAs as they are governed by an authorizing body and not under the authority of a district-wide governing body such as an elected school board.

Looping

Means students stay with the same teacher throughout multiple grades rather than changing teachers every year.

Magnet Schools

Public schools that have a complete educational program, but have specialized courses or curricula in some focus (example: arts or science) that draw students like a "magnet."

Mainstreaming

Placing a special education student in a general education classroom for part or all of the school day.

Manipulatives

Educational toys that children use to understand abstract concepts in math and science. Common manipulatives include blocks, puzzles and cards.

Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP)

This exam assesses students in grades three through nine based on Michigan Curriculum Framework. It covers language arts and mathematics in grades 3-8, science in grades 5 and 8, and social studies in grades 6 and 9.

Michigan Green School

Started as the brainchild of Hartland Consolidated School District teachers and students and approved by the legislature and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2006, the Michigan Green Schools organization assists all Michigan schools in implementing programs that protect the environment. By completing a number of activities, schools earn points toward official Michigan Green School status. Schools that choose to go above the requirements can earn bonus points toward an Emerald or Evergreen award.

Michigan Merit Curriculum (High School Graduation Requirements)

A more rigorous set of standards that teens must meet, this was passed into law in 2006 and first affected students graduating in 2011. High school students must now take a minimum of 16 specific credits. For the class of 2016, this will also include two credits of a world language.

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