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NVUSD ALPS Program Wins 2014 CAG Award
Posted by: Kelly Cliff Published: 9/19/14

NVUSD ALPS Program Wins 2014 CAG Award


Dana Cope CAG award 2014.jpg

Each year, the California Association for the Gifted honors distinguished professionals throughout the state who have made significant contributions to improving the lives of gifted children.  The Redwood Region of the California Association for the Gifted (CAG) is proud to honor Dana Cope as their Distinguished Service Award recipient for 2014.

Dana Cope, Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) with the Napa Valley Unified School District, has served as Napa Valley Unified School District’s Advanced Learner Programs and Services (ALPS) Coordinator for the past five years.  During that time, Dana has inspired the transition to an updated program for advanced learners, focusing on the belief that every student should receive the resources they need to help them “unlock” their full potential and to continually move forward academically.

Dana has led the move to a more student-centered classroom environment since the inception of the ALPS program in 2009, working with NVUSD’s administration and parents of gifted students to provide not only additional resources to this population, but also professional development for their teachers and support for parents.  She has created opportunities for teachers to receive training in how to deliver appropriately rigorous and differentiated lessons.  In addition, she helps teachers identify and understand the characteristics of gifted and twice-exceptional students in order to better meet their individual academic needs.  One of the ways she helps identify gifted learners is to oversee the testing of all third graders across the district.

Student Success Team Meetings have become a standard in Napa Valley Unified, thanks to Dana’s guidance. Together, teachers, administrators, and parents work to create individualized learning plans when needed for gifted students.  Dana also holds monthly meetings to share “Nuggets” with teacher liaisons from each school site, focused on learning about new differentiation strategies and resources to use in the classroom.  Students and families are given the opportunity to attend Resource Fairs which Dana organizes to help them find community-based opportunities and resources to further enrich their learning.  Dana works with the District’s English Learner Services to develop criteria that will help identify gifted English learners and develop resources that meet their needs. 

Dana continues to emphasize the importance of a rigorous curriculum that stretches the learning of all students, allowing them to reach for the stars.  Her personal philosophy is – “All Means All!”