PA Identification Protocol


There are two distinct pathways for a student to enter Project Arrow (as known as “PA”). They are outlined below and include dates for the 2023-2024 school year, but it is largely the same each school year.

The two pathways into both MA and PA are shown in this PDF.

Frequently asked questions

What is Project Arrow?

Project Arrow, sometimes referred to as “PA,” is a literature and English language arts-focused program for gifted and talented learners. Students spend additional time during the day reading and analyzing literature and informational texts, as well as completing a variety of related activities. The program explores connections between ELA and science, history and culture as well.

Who can be in Project Arrow?

Elementary school students in Grades 3 to 5 are eligible to participate in the elementary Project Arrow program. There is a continuation of the program though the rest of your learner’s time with IPSD.

Is Project Arrow graded?

Project Arrow students receive progress reports each quarter. These are meant to provide families with information about the student’s performance in the class. Project Arrow does not affect a student’s average or GPA. However, Project Arrow students are held to a high standard and may need to complete additional homework and project work.

How can I prepare my student for the Project Arrow testing?

Students should not prepare or study for Project Arrow or any other standardized tests. These test need to be a clear indication of how a student performs with the knowledge and skills they have now, not what they may have memorized or been taught for the sole purpose of the test. In many cases, students who study for tests may warrant additional review, particularly if there are anomalies in test data and classroom performance and past grades.

Here are some things you can do to make sure your student is ready for testing:

  • Make sure your student gets a good night’s sleep
  • Start the day with a healthy and filling breakfast
  • Be sure to send a nutritious lunch and snack

How do you decide who is enrolled in Project Arrow?

Teachers often recommend a student for placement in Project Arrow based on their classroom observations. The results of standardized testing administered in select grades are also used to identify potential candidates. Talent development lessons delivered to students in kindergarten through Grade 2 are also used to identify candidates. Families can also request that a student be considered for Project Arrow. Students may be required to take another assessment or spend time with the gifted resource teacher to determine if a placement is appropriate. As a gifted and talented program, not every student considered for Project Arrow will be admitted.

Is my student guaranteed entrance to Project Arrow with certain test scores or results?

No. All placements are ultimately at the discretion for the Cowlishaw educational team. Students with high scores on standardized testing but have discrepant grades or classroom performance may not be extended an invitation or may need to meet with members of the educational team to discuss a possible placement.

Can I opt out of Project Arrow if my learner qualifies?

Yes. After a formal decision is made to accept a learner into the Project Arrow program, families have the ultimate decision on whether the program is a good fit or not. It is important to keep in mind that Project Arrow is an additional curriculum; it is not a replacement one. This means your student will be exposed to additional hours of ELA instruction every school day, and most of these selections are a higher reading level and explore more complex issues. This may also require additional homework or project time outside of school. Project Arrow may not be a good fit for students who have significant extracurricular commitments who may already find it challenging to complete homework for their current classes.

Who is an idea candidate for Project Arrow?

There are a wide range of students who could make good candidates for Project Arrow. Students should be passionate about learning and, in particular, English language arts and literature. A typical Project Arrow student often reads independently without being prompted. These students will often read novel-length books above their grade level over material such as graphic novels and short texts. Project Arrow students often show a high level of creative thinking and problem solving skills.

It’s important to understand that a student who performs well in school is not necessarily an ideal candidate for Project Arrow. Project Arrow is designed for students who are able and willing to work beyond what is expected of them. Students should be able to take initiative, be naturally inquisitive and be able to spend extended periods of time on tasks, novels and projects.

Below is a quick list of more details about who might make a good Project Arrow candidate.

  • Project Arrow is focused in literature and English language arts skills: Consider if your learner is passionate about reading and interpreting literature; if math is more of an interest, Accelerated Math may be a better fit.
  • Project Arrow is a supplemental curriculum, not a replacement one: Your learner will have additional schoolwork than students not in Project Arrow. This could include homework and projects. Consider your learner’s other commitments (such as activities) and if they will have time to devote to additional schoolwork.
  • Project Arrow should not be just a goal; it should be a passion: Students should not think of getting into Project Arrow as simply an end goal. Instead, the literature and English language arts skills that the class focuses on should be a passion for your student.
  • Project Arrow is not graded, but students still need to be driven: If your learner is driven by high grades and not a true interest in literature and ELA, Project Arrow may not be a good fit. Project Arrow students are held to a high standard and are expected to turn in quality work without the prospect of earning a high grade.
  • Project Arrow is selective: Carefully consider how you discuss a possible entrance into Project Arrow to your student because not everyone who is identified or tested for Project Arrow is ultimately extended an invitation. You are encouraged to keep students’ expectations in perspective and prepare them for the possibility they may not be selected.

My student qualified for Project Arrow or Accelerated Math. Does that mean they automatically qualify for the other?

No. While students may be enrolled in both Project Arrow and Accelerated Math, there is no guarantee that one placement will lead to the other. Each set of skills is considered separately. It is not uncommon for students to show strengths in either English language arts or math, but not both.