Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment » Gifted and Talented and Enrichment Program

Gifted and Talented and Enrichment Program

The Dunellen Board of Education is committed to providing a personalized learning experience for all students to learn and thrive in their classrooms. The Gifted education program opens windows of opportunity for students to enhance their potential through collaboration, innovation, and problem solving. Student are challenged to engage in inquiry, take intellectual risks, exercise critical thinking, and reflect upon and develop their individual talents. 
All students have unique strengths and talents, and in Dunellen, we believe all students benefit from higher level thinking and inquiry. Differentiated instruction addresses the needs of all students within their classrooms. The schoolwide enrichment model provides challenging opportunities that focus on English language arts, Mathematics, STEM Innovation, and Visual and Performing Arts.

Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act

On January 13, 2020, Governor Murphy signed the Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act codifying school district responsibilities in educating gifted and talented students as referenced in N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1. The law went into effect for the 2020-2021 school year. Gifted and Talented students are: “Those students who possess or demonstrate high levels of ability, in one or more content areas when compared to their chronological peers in the local district and who require modification of their educational program if they are to achieve in accordance with their capabilities."

Identification Process
Screening Process: Universal screening for all students will begin in Kindergarten to identify students who are performing at the highest levels of ability as compared to their peers.
Level I - Identification of Students: Best practices suggest that a pool of students be identified through multiple measures. No child shall be excluded from Gifted and Talented/Enrichment identification based on other identified learning needs, such as Special Education or English as a Second Language. Multiple benchmarking measures will be used to identify students across all grade levels. Measures will vary and are dependent upon grade level.
Level II - Identification of Students: Identified students to be considered for placement will have a student profile created using additional data which will allow for a sound decision to be made by the school-based committee based on aptitude, achievement, creativeness, and/or giftedness in visual or performing arts. The following multiple measures will be considered to further identify areas of strength and consideration for Gifted and Talented/Enrichment services.
Level III - Placement: The committee will analyze the criteria from Level I and II and identify which students require additional services in order to reach their full potential. The committee will consider achievement scores, subjective student data, and cultural differences in the manifestation of giftedness. The committee is committed to providing appropriate services based on student needs and matching the student to the appropriate level of service. A personalized learning plan will be developed for each student by the school-based committee and appropriate personnel.

Other Considerations

The Arts

Students who are identified as gifted and talented in the Arts will be provided with opportunities to develop those talents. Special area teachers will work with the Gifted and Talented committee to identify students who are gifted in the arts and provide them with opportunities to further develop their gifts, whenever possible, during classroom and school activities. Students will be encouraged to take part in the many extracurricular and community opportunities within their area of giftedness.

Transfer Students

Students who enter the district mid-year will be evaluated based on Level I indicators. Students who enroll and have been formally identified as gifted and talented from another district should provide documentation of receiving those services along with their report cards. Data will be carefully reviewed by the committee, and parents will be notified in writing if their child qualifies.

Twice-Exceptional Learners

These students are gifted children with above-average abilities who also have special educational needs, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum, etc. Because their giftedness can mask their special needs and their special needs can hide their giftedness, the district recognizes the importance of identifying and servicing this often underrepresented group. Building-based selection committees will be sensitive to indicators that seem to reveal contradictions in abilities. These types of contradictions may be indicators of possible twice-exceptionality. No child shall be excluded. 

English Language Learners

Research suggests that qualitative and quantitative measures should be used for identification of ELLs who are gifted and talented. Similar to twice-exceptional learners, gifted needs may be masked by language barriers. Therefore, the building-based committees will follow the recommendations of the NJDOE and, when necessary, utilize the following for Level II Identification.