Online Curriculum Consortium for Accelerating Middle School (OCCAMS)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project OCCAMS (Online Curriculum Consortium for Accelerating Middle School) is a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Education, the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary, and five diverse school districts in Ohio. The goals of the project are to increase the identification of gifted students who are economically disadvantaged or who are members of underrepresented minority groups, expand access to accelerated curriculum in middle schools, and build sustainable infrastructure to overcome barriers that currently limit schools’ ability to meet the needs of diverse gifted students and help them grow to their full potential. These goals will be pursued by adapting curricula developed by the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary shown to be effective at increasing the achievement of minority and economically disadvantaged students in English Language Arts and scaling up access to the curriculum by creating a multi-district online learning consortium supported by Northwestern University’s Gifted LearningLinks online program. To ensure that participating students are successful, online courses will be scaffolded by technology and academic skill building activities, supplemental modules addressing non-cognitive factors that often limit academic growth, and support from online advisors. The project will increase identification of gifted students from underrepresented populations by expanding screening opportunities, providing accelerated curricula to students who show high academic potential but do not yet meet state gifted identification criteria, and by cultivating academic behaviors and adaptive learning mindsets. Educators will be trained to implement the curriculum through a hybrid professional development model, including face-to-face training, structured observations, coaching by experienced online teachers, and online communities of practice. The project will also benefit Ohio by creating standards-aligned model units that incorporate effective strategies for differentiating instruction to meet the needs of advanced learners aligned with Ohio’s Quality Review Rubric for English Language Arts curriculum. Digital curriculum resources will be designed according to Shareable Content Reference Model (SCORM) standards to ensure future usability by additional school districts by providing compatibility with a wide variety of online learning management systems. The project will also help Ohio fully realize the potential of its innovative policies on acceleration and credit flexibility by creating a cadre of trained teachers and online infrastructure that will allow the project to be sustained and grow after the grant period so that smaller schools and other high need schools can connect and collaborate with other districts to aggregate online the critical masses of students needed to make expanded services for gifted and advanced students cost-effective. Additionally, by increasing the identification of gifted students from underrepresented populations, increasing access for students from underrepresented populations to accelerated courses, and implementing curriculum designed to increase student achievement, the project aligns with Ohio’s goal of excellence with equity as embodied in the state’s district gifted performance indicator measures. Most importantly, Ohio students will benefit from gaining access to advanced curriculum and a supportive peer and educator network while in middle school, and will be advantaged en
Effective start/end date9/1/158/31/18


  • Ohio Department of Education (Award 02/02/2017// S206A150004)
  • Department of Education (Award 02/02/2017// S206A150004)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.