Gifted and Talented Coordinator: Alfred Orecchio
Resources from the NJDOE
The Weehawken Township School District has formed a Gifted and Talented Committee that is composed of 1 supervisor, 1 principal, 1 child study team member, and 2 other staff members. The school-based GT Committee’s purpose is to identify and match students to the appropriate levels of service; to educate the staff, parents, and community on the characteristics of gifted learners; and to monitor the progress and services provided at the school level.
The purpose of identification is to locate those exceptional students who require special programming in order to reach their potential. The need for special programming depends on the discrepancy between a child’s development and that of his or her classmates (Lohman, 2012).
Universal screening for gifted and talented services begins in kindergarten. Teachers use data to identify students in grades K-2 who are eligible for accelerated concepts and lessons. Universal screening for gifted and talented services continues in Grade 2. A matrix with multiple data sources is used to identify students showing the potential for performing at high levels of ability when compared with other students of a similar age.
- A DRA level that is above grade level
- Quantile level close to grade level (Happy Numbers)
- Majority of “exceeds standards” on the standards-based report card for ELA and Math
- InView Assessment
- Student Portfolio
The evaluation stage is a process designed to analyze the data from the screening stage to determine which students require additional services in order to reach their potential. The school GT Committee reviews student data and makes a recommendation for services. The committee assigns identified gifted and talented students to the appropriate level of service that matches their specific needs. Parents will be notified in writing on or about the first week of August.
- Transfer Students
There is no test to enter the GT Program in the Weehawken Township School District. The primary qualification for moving a student into the GT Program would be a student's independent DRA reading and quantile levels. In addition, we would review transcripts. In order for a child to even be considered for GT placement, he or she must be reading at least one grade level above (NF or higher). If your child’s DRA is above grade level, another assessment may be administered for Stage 2.
A student should also have very strong grades. Students who enroll and have been formally identified as gifted and talented from another district can also provide documentation of receiving those services along with their report cards. All students will be administered a DRA assessment three times per year (once per trimester). Data will be carefully reviewed by our GT Committee, and parents will be notified in writing if their child qualifies.
The Weehawken Township School District recognizes that children continue to grow and develop over the years. For this reason, all students in grades 3-6 are monitored and reevaluated annually to identify if there is a need for GT services. Parents will be notified in writing on or about the first week of August if their child is eligible.
- Parent Appeal/Nomination Process
Parents/Guardians must submit a written request for reconsideration of the identification and placement along with an appeals portfolio to the building principal. In your appeals portfolio, please include work samples that demonstrate:
- Above grade level aptitude
- Why current placement does not meet student needs
- Possible samples to include:
- Creative writing
- Academic writing
- Mathematical thinking beyond problem sets
- Problem-solving beyond classroom situations
- A brief explanation for each piece included in your portfolio describing why you chose to include it.
- A list of non-academic activities/interests (i.e., music, art, clubs, etc.) and what your child’s role is in each activity.
Items that will not be considered if included in the portfolio:
Teacher recommendation letters
Certificates, awards, etc.
The principal shall acknowledge in writing the receipt of the request within five working days and shall forward copies of the request and acknowledgment to the Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services and Personalized Learning and the district Gifted and Talented Coordinator.
The Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services and Personalized Learning, Principal, and other appropriate staff will review the student’s file within ten working days of the original request. Additional data may be gathered to support or change the earlier decision.
Parents/Guardians may be provided an opportunity to present additional evidence.
A decision will be made within twenty working days after receipt of the written request for reconsideration. The parents shall be notified in writing and the decision shall be forwarded to the superintendent. The Appeals Committee will review only one appeal per student per year.
The decision may be appealed to the Board.
If a student is struggling and not demonstrating progress, the following process will be initiated by the teacher, principal, counselor, or parent:
- Conference with the parent to address concerns and develop an action plan with RTI interventions
- Subsequent meetings with parents to review students and make adjustments to the plan as needed.
If a student is struggling and not demonstrating progress, it is assumed that regular communication has occurred between teacher and parent before the initial conference takes place. A low-performing student should not be removed because of compliance problems (i.e. poor homework compl0…etion/assignments, behavior in class, etc.)