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Gifted & Talented Program

Gifted and Talented Mission Statement

To provide meaningful and life-long experiences and opportunities that nurture and support the strengths and needs of all gifted learners for them to become productive citizens and lifelong leaders.

GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAM
In addition to K-8 full school enrichment programming the Gifted and Talented Program provides identified students with a broad range of learning experiences and opportunities in all subject matters in order to build a well rounded student.  Gifted students are those with an exceptional talent who perform or show the potential for performing at extraordinarily high levels of accomplishment when compared with others their age.  Assessments are conducted at the end of 3rd and 6th grade to evaluate each student's eligibility and determine the individual's program entry and exit.  Those students who qualify for the Gifted and Talented program meet with the Gifted and Talented teacher once weekly for 4th & 5th grade and twice weekly for grades 6th-8th.  The Gifted and Talented program focuses on providing instruction designed to appropriately differentiate activities and address individual strengths, learning styles, interests, creativity, and critical thinking to meet the unique needs of gifted learners.  Our Gifted and Talented Curriculum is a living curriculum that is often determined by the learner and their interests and special talents that is then tailored to the needs of the students.  The Gifted and Talented students work with the NAO Robot programming , STEAM activities, computer coding, debating, Spheros , Makey Makeys, picture book writing, the list is endless and knows no boundaries.  If the students have an interest we provide the tools and resources for them to grow and explore.  The students also take part in activities and events such as the Liberty Science Center Live From - Meet the Surgeon Program & LSC's MakerLab Tech & Design Studio , development of their own small business, “Hornets’ Coffee n Cakes”, Symposium for the Arts, the Montclair University outreach program as well as participating in Passaic County Gifted and Talented events.  The events are part of the Passaic County Gifted and Talented Consortium where they compete in such things as Quiz Bowls, Battle of the Books, Geography Bees, Math Day, Technology Day and STEAM Days. 

Identification Process
The identification process is based on the Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act (C.18A:35-34).  The identification process begins with a teacher nomination.  After having been nominated, multiple measures are used to determine the eligibility of each student.  The criteria that the Little Falls Township Public Schools uses to screen students for the Gifted and Talented Program are Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), NJSLA results, and teacher nominations.

According to the State of New Jersey’s definition, gifted and talented students are:

Those students who possess or demonstrate high levels of ability, in one or more content areas, when compared to their chronological peers in the school district and who require modification of their educational program if they are to achieve in accordance with their capabilities. (C.18A:35-35)

Therefore, the program identification guidelines must remain flexible, have multiple measures, are equitable, inclusive and may change from grade to grade.  Students can be nominated by their teachers at the end of 3 rd and 6 th grade.  At that time the nominated students are administered the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).   CogAT measures students’ learned reasoning abilities in the three areas most closely related to success in school: 

  • The Verbal Battery measures students’ abilities to reason with verbal symbols and concepts.  These reasoning abilities play an important role in reading comprehension, critical thinking, writing, and virtually all verbal learning tasks. 

  • The Quantitative Battery measures students’ abilities to reason with quantitative symbols and concepts.  These reasoning skills are significantly related to problem solving in mathematics and other disciplines. 

  • The Nonverbal Battery measures students’ abilities to reason with geometric shapes and figures.  To perform successfully, students must accurately implement strategies for solving novel problems. 

In the beginning of their 4 th / 7 th grade year the nominated students’ NJSLA scores are evaluated and in the month of September parents will receive a letter and student identification matrix  showing their child’s test results, as well as, if they are part of the Gifted and Talented Program.  This means that because a child was not eligible for the Gifted and Talented Program in 4 th grade, it does not mean that he/she cannot be admitted in the future.  Please note that the G&T Program remains flexible and your child may be admitted to the program as his/her higher order thinking skills further develop.  A child must meet all eligibility criteria for acceptance into the Gifted & Talented Program.  If a student does not meet the criteria after already being in the program, he/she will be allowed to continue in the program for a probationary year.  Continuation in the program for the following school year is contingent on the previous year’s performance.  A student who participates in this program will be expected to maintain academics and behavior associated with a gifted and talented student.  Participation in the program is not mandatory; a student can opt out if his/her family elects to do so.

*Changes for this year’s Identification Process:

  • LinkIt C to replace the NJSLA on the Matrix.

  • The identified students will take the CogAT in October and parents will be notified if their child is part of the Gifted & Talented program by the end of October/beginning of November.

If you have any questions please email the Gifted & Talented teacher Mrs. Bethanne Strippoli at bstrippoli@lfschools.org.


Additional Resources Supporting Gifted Education

The National Association for Gifted Children provides a great deal of information identification of giftedness and programming for gifted students.

The New Jersey Association for Gifted Children is a champion for gifted children.  We are passionate advocates promoting programs, networks, and legislative actions to meet the needs of these students statewide.

The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented from the University of Connecticut provides current research on what works for gifted students.

Prufrock Press website on Parenting Gifted Children provides information and resources for parents of the gifted.