Academic Program Philosophy
RSU5 recognizes the special abilities and talents of gifted students that allow them to excel beyond their peers and perform at exceptional levels. Therefore, we will encourage, nurture, and provide for them in a manner that will develop their unique capabilities. Services will be based on a variety of instructional strategies. Individual needs will be met through flexible, challenging, and creative learning opportunities. The program will engage identified students in services designed to support their unique academic, social and emotional needs. The program philosophy complements the overall system philosophy, which strives to provide students with an education that will challenge minds, engage creativity, develop self-discipline, and advance inherit strengths. This program will help students to foster a passion for life-long independent learning and to become responsible community members.
Arts Program Philosophy
The Arts program educates, informs, and involves students and the school community in meaningful, child-centered experiences that develop artistic behaviors, critical thinking, creative thinking, and production. Individual needs will be met through flexible, challenging, and creative learning opportunities.
GT identification is done formally for all students at the end of grades three, five, and eight. The first step is the universal screening form by the classroom teachers and the nomination form from teachers parents, and/or students. GT evaluation team will look at a variety of data such as NWEAs, CogAT, and recommendations/referrals. Other objective data may be used such as WASI-III-IV, behavior checklists/rating scales, cognitive testing. Subjective data such as work samples, work portfolios, and classroom observations by the GT teacher may be used as well. The evaluation team consists of a GT teacher, administrator, and classroom teacher.
After all identification requirements are collected, the selection team will review all of the data to make a determination. A student being identified as GT typically has standardized test scores of 98% or higher, IQ scores of 135 or higher, and strong parent/teacher recommendations. Based on the data and recommendations/referrals, a student may be determined to be gifted in a specific subject area, such as math, language arts, science, and social studies.
If the student is determined to be gifted they would formally receive GT services depending on his/her need. If a child meets most of the criteria, but not all, the GT team may recommend to the building principal to put the student on a high ability watch list or in a high ability cluster to help meet the child's needs.
Services for students in GaTE will look different for each level and for individual students according to academic and social-emotional needs.
Grade K-2: Students at the primary level have their needs met primarily through consultation, however there may be some pull-out groups as needed. GT teachers consult with classroom teachers to assist in creating a classroom that is enriched, challenging, and differentiated for the academically gifted child. GT teachers also provide resources, materials, and lessons that are purposeful yet related to the classroom units of study.
Grades 3-5: Students at the elementary level continue to receive consultation from the GT teachers; there will be push-in lessons as well as pull-out groups. In addition to this, students may be clustered within a classroom, accelerated math and language arts, as well as guidance for social-emotional needs. At times, GT teachers plan and team teach units together in social studies and science classes.
Grades 6-8: Students at the middle school level have the above services as well as the opportunity to take advanced courses in math, and take classes via Virtual High School. There are other online opportunities as well that are available through Stanford University, BYU, and Johns Hopkins. In addition, there are groups for executive functioning improvement and enrichment opportunities in all of the content areas, in or out of the classroom setting.
Grades 9-12: Students at the high school are on a consultation basis. Students may opt to meet with the GT teacher to discuss college exploration, other outside opportunities, ways to advocate for their education, etc. The GT teacher is available for appointments via email. The GT teacher also consults with classroom teachers to assist in differentiating for the GT learner's needs
The process has multiple steps to help the identification team identify gifted art and music students. The first step is the universal screening form by the classroom teachers and the nomination form from the teachers, parents, and/or students. After this group is determined, they are given an artistic and/or musical task, which is then scored, as well as a test; for art, the Torrence Test of Creativity; or for music, the Gordon Audiation Test. This filters the group down further and the remaining students create either an art or musical portfolio as the final assessment.
The art and music student portfolios are judged as a body of work by a committee according to several criteria. Points are then awarded for each step of the process, culminating in up to 5% of students being identified as gifted in visual and/or performing arts.
Identification will lead to the development of a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) for the student in regard to their artistic/musical pursuits and goals. Students will be expected to set goals and work with their GT advisor, art/music teacher, parents, and community to achieve these goals through continued practice and learning.
Services for students in GaTE art or music will look different for each level and for individual students according to artistic, musical, and socioemotional needs.
Grades K-12 will have their needs met through consultation, as well as differentiation in the regular classroom for identified arts students. Teachers of the gifted will consult with arts teachers to assist in creating an art/music classroom that is enriched, challenging, and differentiated for the artistically and/or musically gifted child. There will be opportunities for enrichment activities as well, such as weekly sessions, visiting artists and musicians, and field trips.
All current GT students will be formally re-screened at the end of third, fifth, and eighth grade. Any student not meeting the criteria will be unidentified, but will remain on the high ability watch list to be monitored for future needs. These students will receive differentiated instruction from the regular classroom teacher as needed. Parent/guardian will be notified of decision. If the parents disagree, they may appeal this decision.
If a student no longer wants to be in the program, a meeting occurs between the GT teacher, GT coordinator, student, and parents to address the concerns. The student is then removed from the program, but placed on a watch list to be monitored for future needs.
Process for Appeals
At any point during the identification process, a student or parent can appeal the decision of the evaluation committee once during the entire process. For academic appeals, we use the WASI III-IV or the WISC to get a more definitive picture of the student's IQ. For art or music appeals, we have the student create an additional portfolio along with a written, verbal, or digital reflection. In both academic and arts appeals, a separate appeals committee is formed, different from the original committee. Once a decision is made, it is communicated to the parent/guardian.
If the parents disagree with the decision of the committee, they may appeal to the Assistant Superintendent, who will then check to see if all proper procedures (as laid out in our identification process) were followed.
Process for Transfer Students
All new students entering RSU 5 schools who have previously been identified GT will be screened by the school GT team within 40 days to determine if the student meets GT criteria in RSU 5. If the student qualifies, he/she is identified GT. If the student does not qualify, he/she may be placed on a high ability watch list to monitor for future needs. In addition, any new student (regardless of any previous identification) with standardized test scores of 96% and above with have an initial screening done. Parent/guardian will be notified of decision.