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Enrichment/Gifted and Talented Program

The South Hunterdon Regional School District identifies and provides programming for students found eligible for Enrichment/Gifted & Talented. In doing so, appropriate curricular and instructional modifications are used for eligible students indicating content, process, products, and learning environments. Procedures for an ongoing Kindergarten through grade twelve identification process for eligible students includes multiple measures in order to identify student strengths in intellectual ability, creativity, or a specific academic area. 


Equal access to a continuum of Enrichment/Gifted and Talented education services is ensured by the SHRSD. The identification process includes consideration of all students, including those who are English language learners and those with Individualized Education Plans or 504 Plans.

For more information on our Enrichment/Gifted and Talented Process and Programming, please contact our Curriculum Office at 609-397-9311.
 

 

Our Enrichment/Gifted and Talented Teacher is:

Martha Kubik
Phone: 609-397-0819 x1310
Email: martha.kubik@shrsd.org

Gifted and Talented Program FAQ

  • Grades K-2 (Junior Great Books/Enrichment)
    Grade 3
    Grades 4-6
    Grades 7-8
    Grades 9-12 (Students who qualify for higher level courses have the opportunity to enroll in accelerated classes.)

  • Should a child be found ineligible, a parent/guardian should first speak with the Enrichment teacher to discuss the eligibility criteria utilized followed by their child's counselor and/or administrator if necessary. Should agreement not be met, the following appeals process may be followed:

    All available data is carefully reviewed in making decisions regarding a student’s eligibility for the SHRSD Enrichment Program. Should a parent disagree with the district’s recommendation for their child to not enter an Enrichment Program, a parent may petition the building Principal for an appeal to be reviewed by the District Enrichment Committee. Should a parent wish to appeal the district’s recommendation, a letter detailing the reason for the appeal must be submitted within 10 school days of receiving notice that their child was not found eligible. The letter should specifically explain information that demonstrates the child’s ability to exhibit the following:

    • Exceptional leadership skills
    • A high degree of intellectual, creative, and/or artistic ability
    • Exceptional ability in a specific field

    Parents may also choose to submit artifacts to support the appeal. Possible artifacts include:

    1. Outside Testing Reports (including, but not limited to the following):
        a. Wechsler Scale-WISC, WAIS,WPPSI
        b. Woodcock Johnson Cognitive Test
        c. Stanford Binet
        d. Kaufman Intelligence Test

       
    2. Portfolio:  A sample of student writing and mathematical work, outside activities documentation (i.e. community service experience), letters of recommendation from professionals outside of the district, etc. Within 10 days of receipt of a parent appeal and supporting documentation, the District Enrichment Committee will meet to review the information provided by parents/guardians and information gained through consultation with the student’s previous years teachers. The student’s personal information provided to the committee will be redacted prior to the meeting. The District Enrichment Committee will review the materials and make a determination. The results of the appeal will be communicated to parents in a letter. This process generally takes two weeks from the appeals date.
  • "Gifted students will do fine on their own." "Gifted programs are elitist."

    These and other myths prevent our country from appropriately educating millions of advanced students. The National Association for Gifted Children has created this frequently cited list of the most prevalent myths in gifted education, with rebutting evidence for educators, advocates, and families to use in their advocacy efforts.


    Myth #1: "Gifted Students Don’t Need Help; They’ll Do Fine on Their Own."

    Truth: Would you send a star athlete to train for the Olympics without a coach? Gifted students need guidance from well-trained teachers who challenge and support them in order to fully develop their abilities. Many gifted students may be so far ahead of their same-age peers that they know more than half of the grade-level curriculum before the school year begins. Their resulting boredom and frustration can lead to low achievement, despondency, or unhealthy work habits. The role of the teacher is crucial for spotting and nurturing talents in school.


    Myth #2: "Teachers Challenge All Students, So Gifted Kids Will Be Fine in the Regular Classroom."
    Truth: Although teachers try to challenge all students, they are frequently unfamiliar with the needs of gifted children and do not know how to best serve them in the classroom. A national study conducted by the Fordham Institute found that 58% of teachers have received no professional development focused on teaching academically advanced students and 73% of teachers agreed that “Too often, the brightest students are bored and under-challenged in school–we’re not giving them a sufficient chance to thrive.” This report confirms what many families have known: not all teachers are able to recognize and support gifted learners.1


    Myth #3: "Gifted Students Make Everyone Else in the Class Smarter by Providing a Role Model or a Challenge."

    Truth: Average or below-average students do not look to the gifted students in the class as role models. Watching or relying on someone who is expected to succeed does little to increase a struggling student’s sense of self-confidence.2 Similarly, gifted students benefit from classroom interactions with peers at similar performance levels and become bored, frustrated, and unmotivated when placed in classrooms with low or average-ability students.


    Myth #4: "All Children are Gifted." 
    Truth: All children have strengths and positive attributes, but not all children are gifted in the educational sense of the word. The “gifted” label in a school setting means that when compared to others in their age or grade, a child has an advanced capacity to learn and apply what is learned in one or more subject areas, or in the performing or fine arts. This advanced capacity requires modifications to the regular curriculum to ensure these children are challenged and learn new material. Gifted does not connote good or better; it is a term that allows students to be identified for services that meet their unique learning needs.

    Myth #5: "Acceleration Placement Options are Socially Harmful for Gifted Students."
    Truth: Academically gifted students often feel bored or out of place with their age peers and naturally gravitate toward older students who are more similar as “intellectual peers.” Studies have shown that many students are happier with older students who share their interest than they are with children the same age.3 Therefore, acceleration placement options such as early entrance to kindergarten, grade skipping, or early exit should be considered for these students.


    Myth #6: "Gifted Education Programs are Elitist."
    Truth: Gifted education programs are meant to help all high-ability students. Gifted learners are found in all cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. However, many of these students are denied the opportunity to maximize their potential because of the way in which programs and services are funded, and/or flawed identification practices. For example, reliance on a single test score for gifted education services may exclude students with different cultural experiences and opportunities. Additionally, with no federal money, and few states providing an adequate funding stream, most gifted education programs and services are dependent solely on local funds and parent demand. This means that, in spite of the need, often only higher-income school districts are able to provide services, giving the appearance of elitism.


    Myth #7: "That Student Can't be Gifted; They are Receiving Poor Grades."
    Truth: Underachievement describes a discrepancy between a student’s performance and their actual ability. The roots of this problem differ, based on each child’s experiences. Gifted students may become bored or frustrated in an unchallenging classroom situation causing them to lose interest, learn bad study habits, or distrust the school environment. Other students may mask their abilities to try to fit in socially with their same-age peers, and still others may have a learning disability that masks their giftedness. No matter the cause, it's imperative that caring and perceptive adults help gifted learners break the cycle of underachievement in order to achieve their full potential.


    Myth #8: "Gifted Students are Happy, Popular, and Well Adjusted in School."
    Truth: Many gifted students flourish in their community and school environment. However, some gifted children differ in terms of their emotional and moral intensity, sensitivity to expectations and feelings, perfectionism, and deep concerns about societal problems. Others do not share interests with their classmates, resulting in isolation or being labeled unfavorably as a “nerd.” Because of these difficulties, the school experience is one to be endured rather than celebrated.

     

    Myth #9: "This Child Can't Be Gifted, He Has a Disability."
    Truth: Some gifted students also have learning or other disabilities. These “twice-exceptional” students often go undetected in regular classrooms because their disability and gifts mask each other, making them appear “average.” Other twice-exceptional students are identified as having a learning disability and, as a result, are not considered for gifted services. In both cases, it is important to focus on the students’ strengths and allow them to have challenging curricula in addition to receiving help for their learning disability.4


    Myth #10: "Our District Has a Gifted and Talented Program: We Have AP Courses."
    Truth: While AP classes offer rigorous, advanced coursework, they are not a gifted education program. The AP program is designed as college-level classes taught by high school teachers for students willing to work hard. The program is limited in its service to gifted and talented students in two major areas: First, AP is limited by the subjects offered, which in most districts is only a small handful. Second, it is limited in that, typically, it is offered only in high school and is generally available only for 11th and 12th grade students. The College Board acknowledges that AP courses are for any student who is academically prepared and motivated to take a college-level course.


    Myth #11: "Gifted Education Requires an Abundance of Resources."
    Truth: Offering gifted education services does not need to break the bank. A fully developed gifted education program can look overwhelming in its scope and complexity. However, beginning a program requires little more than an acknowledgement by district and community personnel that gifted students need something different, a commitment to provide appropriate curriculum and instruction, and teacher training in identification and gifted education strategies.


    This list was developed from a longer list of myths explored in the Fall 2009 issue of Gifted Child Quarterly (GCQ). It was included in the South Hunterdon Regional School District Comprehensive K-12 Gifted and Talented (Enrichment) Program Evaluation Report by Public Consulting Group, Inc.


    Endnotes:
    1Farkas, S. & Duffet, A. (2008). Results from a national teacher survey. In Thomas B. Fordham Institute, High achievement students in the era of NCLB (p. 78). Washington, DC: Author. http://www.edexcellence.net/publications/high-achieving-students-in.html
    2Fiedler, E.D., Lange, R. E., Winebrenner, S. (1993). In search of reality: Unraveling the myths about tracking, ability grouping, and the gifted. Roeper Review, (16), 4-7.
    3Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G., & Gross, M.U.M. (2004). A nation deceived: How schools hold back America's brightest students.
    University of Iowa.

    4Olenchak. F. R., & Reis, S. M. (2002). Gifted students with learning disabilities. In M. Neihart, S. M. Reis, N. Robinson, and S. Moon (Eds.), The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children (pp. 177-192). Prufrock Press.