Gifted & Talented Education
Our learners in grade 5 will be identified bi-yearly, based on standardized test scores from the current and previous school years. In general, learners who score at or above the 97th percentile on three tests in reading and/or math will be placed in the curriculum unit coordinating to that academic area.
The CogAt, or cognitive abilities test is conducted as a screener with ALL second graders in the fall as well as NEW students in first through fourth grade in the fall and throughout the year. This assessment is utilized to determine placement in our GATE (gifted and talented education) program. Students who pass the screener are administered the full CogAt assessment for placement. The full assessment provides three scores: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Students who achieve a qualifying score in any of these areas will be placed in the GATE program. Parents can elect to have a student “opt-out” of the GATE program as desired.
Students may be reassessed as needed with the screener in second through third grade, using the full assessment for placement if the screener criteria is met.
Enrichment opportunities are available for all students in the core curriculum with targeted opportunities every four weeks for high-achieving students. This allows them to take learning deeper and demonstrate that skills are exceeding expectations, often times providing an opportunity to earn a “4” in aligned standard categories on the report card. One of the enrichment tools available is the use of eSpark which automatically differentiates instruction with fun games, videos, and resources, eSpark helps West Fargo teachers meet the diverse learning needs of their students. As students learn and grow with eSpark, they record short videos in which they synthesize and apply new math and reading standards.
Teachers and parents of students in grade 5 may recommend students who do not meet the STAR test score qualifications if they feel the student would benefit from gifted education services. The CogAt screener, and subsequent full assessment if applicable will be conducted by the gifted education team.
Students who do not qualify in grades 2 -4 will not be enrolled in the GATE program, however, they may of course participate in the enrichment program.
Our gifted education teachers work with learners during a 40-minute block for two out of six days in math/science and one out of six days in reading/writing. This ensures that learners are still receiving their core instruction while they receive opportunities for enrichment.
The focus during the math/science time in grades 3-5 is based on Contexts for Learning and the National Math and Science Initiative curriculum – NMSI. This curriculum is designed to help learners achieve in advanced placement opportunities at the secondary level. The curriculum also allows for a unit from Project Lead the Way (PLTW); many units from this curriculum are in our core science program, but these particular units take the engineering and design process to a deeper level. In grades 1-2, the math/science curriculum comes from both Contexts for Learning and Lego WeDo 2.0, Scratch, and the utilization of resources like MakeyMakey and other hands-on learning opportunities.
The focus during the reading/writing time is based on enriching our core curriculum research process and allowing learners to dig deep into projects of passion. Our gifted education teachers utilize a wide variety of resources and strategies to work with learners in these areas, including Junior Great Books.
For more information, please contact the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Heather Sand, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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