The Linden School District provides formal programming for academically gifted students in Grades 1 through 5. Students in Grades 6 through 8 participate in honors classes. Student in Grades 9 through 12 participate in Honors, Advanced Placement and/or the International Baccalaureate Programs. Students in Kindergarten are identified as academically gifted by means of an evaluation and in consultation with the district’s Department for the Gifted and Talented. The elementary Gifted and Talented Program provides identified students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 with a demanding curriculum that provides high level learning opportunities. The curriculum is planned to challenge their intellectual and creative heights. It is based on Dr. Joseph Renzulli’s (from the University of Connecticut – a major innovator in gifted education) Enrichment Triad Model. This model is designed to empower students to discover and develop their own unique skills and talents. Students solve problems, analyze materials and situations, and learn from real life experiences. All subject areas are infused into this curriculum.
Selected students in Grades 1 through 5 will be pulled out of their regular class for Gifted and Talented in their home school. They meet for a half day every week, on a rotating schedule. To gain admission to the program, students participate in a formal identification process that includes student screening, teacher evaluation, data analysis, and final selection.
1. To gain admission to the program, a digital screener assessment, the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), is administered to all students in kindergarten and 3rd grade and sent out for scoring.
2. All of this data is then scored based on each of the criteria within the assessment. Students are then ranked high to low by grade according to the composite score. In this way, the students selected from the screening pool are narrowed to approximately 8% to 10% of the population for each grade as per the Department of Education. Entry to the program is contingent upon space available as well as classroom performance.
3. After being identified via the results of the CogAT; classroom teachers are given a recommendation form, asking for more information on each identified student. Information requested includes attendance, participation, behavior, curiosity, creativeness, and investigative skills.
4. Gifted and Talented teachers then review the student’s reading level, math assessment score, report card, and NJSLA scores (when applicable).
5. In September, parents are notified of selection via a letter sent home with the student. If the student has been accepted, the parent must sign a permission slip indicating their willingness to attend the program. If such a permission slip is not returned by the due date, the student may not attend the program.
Gifted & Talented Exit Criteria
No selection procedure is infallible, and it may happen that a student selected for the Gifted and Talented Program does not experience success or does not benefit constructively from his/her participation. Some indicators that program discontinuation may be the best option for a student may include, but are not limited to:
* Inability to meet the requirements of the regular instructional classroom
* Inability to meet the requirements of the G&T program
* Reluctance to participate in specified G&T program activities
* Not meeting the minimum requirement on Standardized Tests.
The program teacher will document over a period of time and have ongoing communication with appropriate stakeholders. The gifted program teacher, the classroom teacher or the parent/guardian may initiate exit procedures. The teacher of the gifted program, the classroom teacher(s), the school counselor, supervisor, and the principal may confer to consider the recommendation and, if necessary, to seek and review additional information from other staff members and /or the child’s parents/guardians. Parent/guardians will be informed by the classroom teacher if their child’s placement in the program is being reconsidered and will have the opportunity to discuss the circumstances and status. A decision will be made whether the child will remain; take a leave of absence with the option of re-entry; or permanently exit the specified program in which compulsory nomination procedures will need to take place in order to participate in the Gifted Program at a future date.
Gifted & Talented Re-evaluation
All students will be re-evaluated during the spring of 3rd grade for placement in the program for 4th and 5th grade. The process will determine which students will be placed in the 4th and 5th grade program. Students that were in the program in 1st through 3rd grade are not guaranteed spots in the program; they also need to be accepted into the program again. This re-evaluation is based on extensive research which indicates the strong possibility of cognitive changes in students at the 3rd grade level.
If a parent has any questions or concerns about the Gifted & Talented Program, please reach out to your child’s G&T teacher or the G&T Supervisor.