AIM Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) How are students AIM identified?

To be AIM-identified, a student must score at or above the 98th percentile on the Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test, 8th edition (OLSAT-8); this is our universal screening tool and is proctored by DJUSD staff.  Each year DJUSD administers the OLSAT-8 to all third grade students.

In order to ensure a thorough AIM-identification assessment process, our AIM Assessment Team evaluates the scores of all students not scoring at or above the 98th percentile to determine students for whom rescreening for AIM-identification is appropriate. The factors to determine reassessment include scoring in the standard error of measure (5 percentile points) or meeting one of several equity factors (including family income, parent education level, language status, or irregular testing factors).  

2) What notification will families receive after universal screening with the OLSAT-8 in the fall?

Once universal screening of third grade students is completed, the Instructional Services office will notify your family:

  1. If your child scores at or above the 98th percentile and is AIM-identified.
  2. If your child is recommended for rescreening.

If your child is recommended for rescreening, we will ask for your permission.  If you choose rescreening, we will share with you the time period in which the rescreening is scheduled to occur.

If you do not hear from our office and would like to obtain a copy of your child’s OLSAT-8 assessment results, we would be happy to send the score to you.  We anticipate scores being available in late January. Please contact us by email at [email protected], or by phone at 530-757-5300 x160,  and we will send the test results to you.

3) How do students receive AIM services?
All schools serve AIM-identified students through differentiated instruction in DJUSD classrooms. This differentiated instruction can be delivered in self-contained classrooms comprised of only AIM-identified students in specific (self-contained) classrooms that may be available at Pioneer and Willett Elementary schools, in cluster classrooms which are specific classrooms at Willett and Pioneer elementary schools in which AIM-identified and non AIM-identified students are assigned together, or through individually differentiated instruction in any other classroom in our school district.
4 ) What is an AIM classroom?
The term ‘AIM classroom’ refers to both self-contained and cluster classrooms.  While a self-contained classroom means all students in the class are AIM-identified,  a cluster classroom is comprised of AIM-identified and non AIM-identified students. Whether an AIM classroom is a cluster or self-contained class will depend  upon student enrollment for that grade level, at that school, in any given year. Each year, there are many students who will receive AIM services through differentiated instruction in  classrooms throughout our school district, because they do not enroll in designated as AIM classrooms.
5) How is the student composition of AIM classrooms determined?
Determining the composition of AIM classrooms is driven by the number of students enrolling in the program.  Should enough AIM-identified students request enrollment at one of the AIM program sites (Pioneer and Willett) to create a full classroom, the class will be self-contained. Should fewer AIM-identified students request enrollment in one of these classrooms, the school site will build a cluster classroom, consisting of AIM-identified students and other students, as part of the process when the principal and staff form classes for the new school year.  Every year, some AIM-identified students will elect not to enroll in an AIM classroom but will still receive AIM services through differentiated instruction in their assigned classroom.
6) How is the teaching and curriculum different in an AIM cluster classroom from a self-contained classroom?
The curriculum and materials used in AIM classrooms, whether self contained or cluster, are the same as those used throughout all DJUSD fourth grade classrooms.  Fourth grade instructional frameworks, standards, and curriculum adoptions are the basis for instruction in every classroom. AIM-identified students in self-contained, cluster, and other classrooms will be challenged with rigor and depth through implementation of differentiation strategies and collaboration with coaches and specialists.
7) Are AIM classroom teachers certified in AIM/GATE instruction?
All AIM classroom teachers have participated in AIM/GATE training, but not all have obtained an official GATE certification.  It is the intention of DJUSD to have one AIM/GATE-certified teacher on every elementary campus.
8) How will my child’s educational needs be met if they are AIM-identified and we choose to not enroll in an AIM classroom?
Some families prefer their AIM-identified student remain in their neighborhood or choice classroom and not enroll in an AIM classroom. DJUSD is committed to offering differentiated instruction according to student abilities and interests at all sites. This can include flexible grouping, clustering within grade, project based instruction, and enrichment activities.  Beginning in 2016, DJUSD added a Differentiation Specialist to support teachers with professional development and planning support to differentiate instruction for all students. Additionally, our math coaches support teachers in developing appropriate, engaging curriculum to support math learning and provide challenge and rigor for students who have mastered a concept.
9) Does enrollment in an AIM classroom affect my child's education in junior and senior high?
Current policy allows for AIM-identified students in sixth grade AIM classrooms at Pioneer and Willett to receive guaranteed seats in the AIM core classes in seventh  grade at Harper and Holmes Junior High Schools. AIM-identified students from other elementary sites are eligible for AIM enrollment in AIM classes in seventh grade at these two sites, but they must apply.  Placement at Holmes and Harper AIM core classes will depend upon the number of available classroom spaces. The Holmes and Harper AIM Core offers English, Social Studies, and Science courses. Math placement is either in Common Core Math 2 or the Accelerated Common Core Math 2/3.  Math placement decisions are made based on common assessments given in all sixth grade classrooms.
10) If my AIM-identified child does not enroll in an AIM classroom for fourth grade, will my child remain identified as AIM-eligible and can my child participate in AIM Core classes in junior high school?
Once a student is AIM-identified in the District, this designation will remain with them throughout their time in DJUSD.  If, upon entering junior high school, a family would like to enter one of the AIM Core programs at Harper or Holmes Junior High Schools, they can contact the Instructional Services department.  Priority for placement in the Junior High AIM Core will be given to students currently enrolled in the AIM classrooms at Pioneer and Willett. Emerson Junior High has an AIM/Honors class that is an option for any student enrolling at Emerson, but the AIM/Honors Core must be requested on the course selection sheet and the student approved for enrollment.  
11) Does enrollment in an AIM classroom at elementary or junior high affect my child's ability to pursue Honors or AP courses in high school?
At the senior high level, all students who meet eligibility requirements, regardless of AIM identification or previous enrollment in an AIM classroom, may enroll in Honors/AP courses.

12) How are student placements determined for an AIM cluster classroom?
Student placements for any classroom, including an AIM cluster classroom, are always a collaborative effort involving teachers, instructional specialists, and administration. Thoughtful consideration is given to each student’s individual academic and social emotional strengths and needs with any classroom placement. When determining student placements for an AIM cluster classroom, as with any classroom, consideration is also given to the different levels of instructional considerations and supports required in a classroom.
13) Does the composition of students in an AIM cluster or self-contained classroom remain the same over time?
The composition of students in any classroom, including AIM cluster and self-contained classrooms, will almost certainly change with each new school year. An important annual focus for school site teams is to thoughtfully and intentionally consider the strengths and needs of each individual student and the classroom composition of grade level community being built. This happens in all classrooms, at all grade levels, at every school site. With each succeeding school year, students grow and develop their academic and social-emotional skills, and their developing strengths and needs will be taken into account when classroom placements are made.