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About Apollo Elementary School

Apollo Elementary School is a highly rated school, and part of Washington’s Issaquah School District. The school caters to 596 students in grades PK–5 and has a student teacher ratio of 15:1. Apollo offers a variety of educational programs to suit all, from special needs students to gifted and talented ones. The school is one of two elementary schools in the district that offer the MERLIN program (Mind Education Right Left Integration), a specialized class for highly capable students offering an advanced and enriched curriculum in grades 3–5.

About Issaquah School District

Washington’s Issaquah School District is located in East King County. The district contains 24 schools and caters to seven municipalities. The district has about 20,000 students, of increasingly diverse backgrounds. Most Issaquah schools have close to 100% PTSA membership, and students score well on state and national standardized testing. 70% of local schools’ staff hold advanced academic degrees. Issaquah schools offer highly capable, International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs.

Highly Capable Programs in Issaquah School District

Issaquah District offers two types of programs for highly capable students: MERLIN (Mind Education Right Left Integration) and SAGE (Special Approach to Gifted Education).

Apollo Elementary School is home to the district’s MERLIN program, a self-contained class for highly capable students. The school offers MERLIN classes in 3-5th grades. The MERLIN classroom follows an accelerated academic curriculum based on the same program of general classes but with broader content, an emphasis on higher level thinking to foster students’ independence and creative thought. Classes aim to challenge and motivate the district’s most highly capable students. Apollo’s MERLIN program caters to students who live in Apollo, Maple Hills, Briarwood, Cougar Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Newcastle, Clark, Grand Ridge and Sunset.

Issaquah’s SAGE program is offered in all district elementary schools, including Apollo. Students are screened for special abilities in one area: either math or reading. SAGE lessons are often added to the standard school curriculum with the goal of offering students several hours of more challenging and creative learning experiences in their area of strength.

Highly Capable Testing at Apollo Elementary School

All students in Issaquah District are tested for Highly Capable program placement during 2nd grade. District schools use three tests as part of the identification process:

To learn more about Highly Capable tests, keep reading below. Testing usually takes place between January and April, and exact dates are advertised on the District Assessment Calendar.

The screening process for Highly Capable programs is based on results from all three tests. Students who score in the top 2% for all subject areas qualify for MERLIN. Students who score in the top 2% for either math or reading are screened for the SAGE program. A second opportunity for Highly Capable program screening occurs during 4th grade, when students take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Students scoring within the top 5% of all 4th graders in Issaquah School District students will be given further testing to qualify for the 5th grade MERLIN program.

The CogAT Cognitive Abilities Test

The CogAT is a learning abilities test, which measures students' problem solving and reasoning skills in several key areas. The CogAT is widely used to screen students for highly capable programs in Washington. The test is comprised of a verbal battery, a non-verbal battery, and a quantitative battery. To find out more about test questions, scoring and test prep, visit our CogAT page.

The Iowa Assessments

The Iowa Assessments or Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) are standardized achievement tests designed to assess school progress in grades K–8. The tests are distributed by the University of Iowa's College of Education but are administered nationwide to measure students' school progress. Since the Iowa Assessments test for achievement in a particular grade level, it is especially important and useful to prepare for these tests. Try free Iowa Assessments sample questions and learn more about the test, check out our Iowa Assessments page.

Start Preparing for Issaquah Country Highly Capable Testing

Screening for gifted and talented programs in Issaquah District can be very competitive. To help your child have the best chance at benefitting from an enriched and accelerated curriculum, it is advisable to begin test prep well ahead of the 2nd grade screening window. Familiarizing your child with test formats and improving testing skills can make a significant difference in his or her performance on gifted and talented tests. To start now check out our Iowa Achievement Test page and our CogAT Test pages.

The Iowa Assessments, ITBS, CogAT, and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with TestPrep-Online or this website.

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