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Gifted and Talented - Acceleration - Enrichment
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Glossary of Educational Terms - 21st Century Learners

Gifted and Talented - Acceleration - Enrichment

PLACEMENT GRADES 3 - 8 : Slideshow Overview for Parents linked here

JET 3-5 Programming / Accelerated Coursework 6-8 / Enrichment Opportunities 6-8

Our students are our nation’s greatest resource.  All children have unique strengths and talents, and the Rumson School District strives to provide opportunities to develop the social, emotional and academic abilities of each student. Teachers actively develop learning opportunities to meet these goals through individualized, differentiated learning activities across each content area.

The Rumson School District recognizes that some students possess and demonstrate extraordinary levels of ability in one or more content areas when compared to their chronological peers.  
These students may require differentiated programming opportunities beyond what are already provided in order to maximize their potential.

The mission of the gifted and talented program, which is based on research and curriculum development by leading experts in the fields of learning and gifted education, strives to provide opportunities for our students to “Journey into Expanded Thinking” (JET). 

The Rumson School District, through the study of the theories of intelligence and giftedness, understands the definition of giftedness through the lens of theory and research from Dr. Carol Dweck, Dr. Bertie Kingore and Dr. Joseph Renzulli.  Their respective research with Mindset Theory, enrichment and gifted development serve as the foundation for identification and programming options available to Rumson School District students through the JET program. This  research supports growing student thinking through intentional teaching and creating experiences which allow children to move from a fixed mindset, where they view their intelligence as set, toward a growth mindset where intelligence is fostered and developed.

At the foundation of the JET program is the understanding of intelligence and giftedness as dynamic and malleable over time.  Research studies of gifted children and adult achievers conclude that schools should not assume early promise or lack thereof is a clear sign of future success.  Intelligence develops over time when children are provided with the:
    Right motivation
    Right opportunities to learn
    Right environmental supports

Nurturing talent and giftedness in children requires providing students with classroom tasks that promote challenge and high thinking opportunities in order to help grow gifted behaviors.

In selecting the appropriate methods and assessments used in identification, the Rumson School District follows research based best practices as outlined by the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC).  The focus of identification in grades K-8 aligns with the NAGC position paper, The Role of Assessments in the Identification of Gifted Students .

Differentiation for K-2

During these developmental years it is appropriate to allow for children to become acquainted with the learning process and social nuances of the school setting.  The focus on development of gifted potential is the foundation for K-2 programming.

K-2 assessment is focused, ongoing and matched with a student's needs rather than simply labeling who is gifted and who is not.

To identify and foster this gifted potential, teachers in the K-2 classrooms will use the Kingore Observation Inventory or the KOI as an instrument to assist them in identifying and serving students with gifted potentials.  

The goal is not to label some students gifted while others are not.  The goal is to provide the most appropriate level of instruction.  

Developmentally appropriate, ongoing, observation-based assessment occurs where teachers observe their students during regular, everyday activities on a continuous basis throughout the year. These KOI assessment portfolios are critical to use when designing appropriate differentiated learning experiences for young learners.  In doing so teachers are able to better foster emerging giftedness and talents.  

Children develop and blossom at different rates and not in the same way.  

Through analyzing the results of the KOI, teachers are better able to make instructional decisions and provide strategies and activities that allow all students to experience success while providing an opportunity for advanced students to demonstrate the highest levels at which they are able to achieve.

K-2 Programming Components

  • A strong focus on differentiated instruction

  • Type 1 - Whole-class Enrichment STEM activities

  • Type 2 - Interested students provided Extension activities with STEM specialist

  • Type 3 - Highly motivated and driven students provided opportunities for self-selected, project-based activities with enrichment specialist based on Type 1 and 2 experiences

  • Extra-curricular club opportunities

As students travel through grades K-2, the KOI is a critical part of the learning profile.  During the late spring of Grade 2, initial identification for JET programming is administered.  A rubric is used to assist in identification which outlines multiple measures.

Identification for Rising Grade 3

Each June, all students in Grade 2 are screened for Rumson’s gifted programming known as JET, or Journey into Expanded Thinking , beginning with the C ognitive Abilities Test administered in the Spring of Grade 2.

The Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®) is not an IQ test; rather, this assessment measures general thinking and problem-solving skills that a student develops over time through in- and out-of-school experiences. These skills are used in all academic areas and are not taught but develop gradually during a student's educational career.  The CogAT® assesses students in three skill areas linked to academic success:  verbal, nonverbal and quantitative reasoning.  

Eligibility is based on achievement in several areas including CogAT,  F&P independent reading level, AimsWeb Math/ Reading Percentiles, an on-demand writing sample, and completion of the Gifted Rating Scale by the homeroom teacher.   Parents can access information pertaining to the rubric used to identify students for JET by clicking this link .
If proficiencies are not met and parents have questions, they are always welcome to reach out to the curriculum office.

Identification Rising Grades 4 and 5

Students in Grades 3 and 4 will be reviewed and flagged at the beginning of each school year.  Items that will initiate flagging will be a PARCC assessment performance level score of 5 in either reading or Math, or exceeding WELL ABOVE grade level expectations in Fountas and Pinnell.

Those students who are flagged will then have all relevant data reviewed according to the rubric linked here .

In addition, cluster grouping for rising Grades 3 through 5 provides greater opportunities for those who have grown in their gifted behaviors as well as academic achievements. Cluster grouping meets the needs of all learners and creates diverse learning opportunities for students based on readiness. Students are purposely placed into classrooms based on their abilities and potential.  Cluster grouping is not tracking! When clustered, all classes have a range of abilities. Teachers modify or extend grade-level standards according to the student’s needs and abilities.

An overview of program components for students in grades 3-5 includes:

  • Cluster grouping

  • A strong focus on differentiated instruction

  • Type 1 - Whole-class Enrichment STEM activities

  • Type 2 - Interested students provided Extension activities with STEM specialist

  • Type 3 - Highly motivated and driven students provided opportunities for self selected project based activities with enrichment specialist based on Type 1 and 2 experiences

  • Consultation with JET staff and classroom teacher monthly

  • Competition opportunities

  • Pull-out JET programming opportunity for identified students

Grades 6-8 Acceleration and Enrichment Opportunities

As our students grow and develop over the course of the elementary school years, our middle school students are provided with greater academic challenge in the form of acceleration in the area of Math and enrichment in ELA for grades 6, 7 and 8.   It is important to note that  all  ELA classes follow the same grade-level specific standards. In the enrichment ELA classes, however, students will experience increased rigor in the following areas:  the complexity and volume of texts read (higher lexile level), and   increase in the complexity of assignments.     

In order to be admitted to these courses  beginning in grade 6 , students in grade 5 must meet minimum requirements as outlined in placement rubrics for Grades 5-6 ELA and  Grades 5-6 Math

In order to remain or be admitted into these courses, students in grade 6 or grade 7 must meet minimum requirements as outlined in placement rubrics for  Grades 7-8 ELA  and  Grades 7-8 Math

One key difference to note between the ELA and math course sequences is that while the math course sequence may, in some cases, lead toward advanced course placement at the high school level, the ELA course sequence does not.  Math acceleration is course-specific and may lead to high school advanced course satisfaction.*

*Under  New Jersey Administrative Code  6A:8-5.1 (2016), students graduating high school in 2020 and beyond must receive a valid score on PARCC ELA and math – including the Algebra I assessment – in order to access the different pathways to meet the ELA and math high school graduation assessment requirements. Therefore, Forrestdale students enrolled in Algebra I who do not receive a valid score on the PARCC Algebra I assessment, regardless of grade level, will be required to retake that specific course and associated PARCC assessment.  
Graduation Requirements information for Parents .

How are placements determined?

While we strive to challenge all students as appropriate, for some students accelerated placement is recommended. This placement is based on student performance using multiple criteria/indicators, and is an inclusive rather than exclusive process, giving students multiple opportunities to show eligibility for participation in accelerated coursework. A committee comprised of administrators and staff reviews, discusses and provides input with each student’s placement in ELA and math based on a combination of the criteria/indicators in the rubrics linked above.


All students in Grades 6-8 are provided the opportunity to participate in enrichment throughout the school year, regardless of previous JET identification or placement for accelerated coursework.   Additionally, opportunities for all students to self-select competitions based on interest are part of enrichment programming for our 6-8 students.

Throughout the school year, enrichment instructors provide information sessions to students outlining the various opportunities available to them, and any requirements [e.g. sign up] to enroll. Students must be in good academic standing, as these enrichment programs take place during the school day, and students will be pulled from their regular class(es) in order to participate. Every attempt is made to ensure that students do not miss the same class repeatedly.