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MERLIN

Welcome to MERLIN

The MERLIN (Mind Education Right Left Brain Integration) Program is a district program located at two elementary school sites: Apollo Elementary and Endeavour Elementary. Each of the sites offers three self-contained MERLIN classes: one in third, fourth and fifth grade. Placement decisions are based on enrollment at each site. Students may be offered placement either the Apollo or Endeavour site depending on current enrollment. Families may also choose for their student to remain at the neighborhood school and receive pull-out Highly Capable services through the SAGE (Special Approach to Gifted Education) program. Parents are responsible for transporting students in the MERLIN program to Apollo or Endeavour.

Experiencing MERLIN

MERLIN offers an enriched academic program that follows the same curriculum as the general education classes but goes deeper into the content, has a greater emphasis on higher level thinking skills and behaviors, moves at a quicker pace, requires more student work and independence, and provides acceleration in some subject areas. Expectations are high and the classroom environment is challenging and motivating to highly capable students.


Qualifying for MERLIN

Initial third grade placement

During their second grade year, all Issaquah students are tested using three different measurement tools:
  1. The Iowa Achievement Test
  2. The CogAT cognitive abilities test
  3. The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT)

The tests are administered in the child's regular classroom between January and April. The exact schedule can be found on the District Assessment Calendar.

Scores from all three tests are considered when determining placement for the following school year. Typically, students who score in the top two percent or above in ALL areas qualify for MERLIN, and those who score in the top two percent or above in either math or reading qualify for SAGE. Based on all Issaquah second grade students' scores, the district will identify its most highly capable students for selection into the program.

A multidisciplinary selection committee of qualified District personnel (WAC 392-170-055; 392-170-070) reviews test results, approves selections for program services, and reviews appeals. This committee, operating within the constraints of the Washington Administrative Code, strives to consider the learning needs of every student, reviewing data to get as complete a profile as possible for selection and placement. No decision about selection or placement in programming is made unilaterally. Decisions are made by a team of professionals who strive to ensure to the greatest extent possible fair and equitable consideration of all students in the Issaquah School District. They meet regularly throughout the year.

Students qualifying for MERLIN will be notified in June of their second grade year.

Referrals for the Highly Capable Program after Second Grade

Students who did not qualify for SAGE or MERLIN in second grade may be referred during the September referral window of their fourth grade year. At that time all referrals will be screened using the Smarted Balanced Assessment results, those referred students with scores in the top five percent of all Issaquah School District students will be invited for eligibility testing. (Nominations are not accepted within a year of testing.)

Students who enroll after the second grade assessment window may be referred within ten (10) business days from the enrollment date.