Scholastically Talented Educational Program (S.T.E.P.)

is the name given to the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools' program for academically advanced students K-12. S.T.EP. had its origin in 1984 as a half-day resource room pull-out program for grades 3-6 in Sugarcreek Elementary. The S.T.E.P. program umbrella now includes developmentally appropriate enrichment classes, pull-out classes, inclusion options, honors classes, advanced placement (AP) classes, post-secondary options, and selected activities.

Gifted Identification

Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local School District offers a wide array of gifted & advanced programming. Identification of giftedness however, does not guarantee placement in any specific program. Special care will be taken to provide the appropriate level of instruction and challenge to all students. Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local Schools ensure equal student access, regardless of student background. Services available may include one or more of the following offerings:

  • S.T.E.P. (Scholastically Talented Educational Program) grades 3,4,5-Enriched programming provided by a Gifted Intervention Specialist
  • Acceleration or Enriched Mathematics and Language Arts, grades 3-12
  • Gifted Language Arts, grades 6-8
  • Differentiated instruction in content-specific areas, grades K-12
  • Advanced Placement, Scholarship or Honors courses, grades 9-12
  • Dual Enrollment/College Credit Plus, high school students

Eligibility for grades 3,4,5 STEP programming will be determined each year using the most recent data available. Students must be identified as “superior cognitive” and those identified as gifted in multiple areas will be given placement priority. Please see the Instruments Used for Gifted Identification here. Additionally, please click here for the Information for Parents brochure.

All parents and/or teachers will have the opportunity to nominate students for possible gifted identification. Parents will receive an email from building principals when the nomination window opens. Also, Stephen Bell and Bell Creek will include this information in their building newsletter(s).Parents of students new to Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools may request that their student is assessed for possible gifted identification. Class placement will be determined by building principal(s) depending on availability.

If a student wishes to withdraw from gifted programming, the request should be in writing and sent to the appropriate building principal. If a request to withdraw is made by the student, parents will be notified. If parents disagree with any placement decisions relative to gifted/advanced programming, a letter should be submitted to the superintendent or designee outlining the nature of the concern. A written final decision will be issued within 30 days of the appeal.

Additional resources from the Ohio Department of Education can be found here.


The acceleration procedure for Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools is a research-based, data-driven process employing the use of the Iowa Acceleration Scale, 3rd edition, which is the acceleration instrument approved by the State of Ohio. This scale allows us to take a multi-factored approach to determine if a student is a good candidate for acceleration. It is important to note that this procedure may, in some cases, take more than a month to complete. Because we are considering altering a student’s educational placement, we make every effort to ensure a student should be accelerated and that the placement will be successful. Acceleration nominations should be carefully considered before they are submitted.

Most good candidates for acceleration will display some of the following characteristics, as identified by the State of Ohio:

  • Demonstrate above average general cognitive ability
  • Academically achieves one or more grade levels above the norm for his/her age
  • Express a desire for more challenging instruction
  • Are socially mature enough to adapt to an environment serving older students
  • Respond positively to the possibility of acceleration

Acceleration is not a good option for students with some of the following characteristics, as identified by the State of Ohio:

  • Student has an older sibling in the grade level to which the student may be accelerated
  • Student is sufficiently challenged by the curriculum at his/her current grade level
  • Student would be significantly less emotionally mature than typical students at the grade level to which he/she may be accelerated
  • Student responds negatively to the possibility of acceleration

Comprehensive information for parents and teachers to review when considering nominating a child for Whole-Grade, Subject-Specific Acceleration OR Early Entrance to Kindergarten can be found here. All required forms are included in the packet. For additional information, please see success stories for whole grade acceleration here.

The deadline is May 31 of each year for consideration for fall early entrance.

If you have questions or concerns about the acceleration process or the nomination forms, please contact your building principal or Betsy Chadd, the Director of Curriculum & Gifted Services, at (937) 848-5001 x 6115.

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