Department of Academics | Meeting the Needs of ALL Learners
Talented and Gifted Education
Dr. Daniel Moran
Supervisor of Social Studies and Talented and Gifted EducationDifferentiated instruction, in which gifted students are met at their levels and challenged with appropriate assignments, begins in kindergarten and continues throughout students’ academic careers until graduation.
From kindergarten to fifth grade, students are supported by differentiated instruction by their general education teachers. Assessment data including reading levels, writing skills, math assessments, and classroom performance are used to determine the level of differentiation and rigorous content provided to each student.
Students are not "in" or "out" of TAG. Instead, the district identifies a small number of fourth and fifth grade students as "gifted." These students score a 5 on the NJSLA and math assessments and a 90 on the end-of-year math assessment; they also finish the year at a higher reading level than their end-of-year benchmarks. A designation of "gifted" allows ILA and math teachers to differentiate their instruction.
In grade five, all students complete a passion project based on Andi McNair’s Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry. As with all other subjects, instruction is differentiated to accommodate students who are struggling as well as those who are gifted. The TAG teacher cycles through elementary schools to co-teach Genius Hour lessons with classroom teachers. Each cycle lasts for one marking period.
In grades six and seven, Math Prime and Verbal GATE take the place of academic math and ILA instruction. In grade eight, students may be placed in honors-level courses. After grade eight, students may place themselves in honors and AP courses, provided they meet a course’s prerequisites. Information about the criterea for placement in these courses can be found through department websites.
In no way does being identified as “gifted” guarantee admission to honors or AP courses in later years, nor does not being identified as “gifted” prevent a student from taking such courses at a later time.