The district of Mahwah is committed to meeting the needs of our gifted learners, and has created an environment that addresses our student's unique learning styles.
Identification begins in kindergarten through observations, Renzulli Rating Scales, student performance, and portfolios; however, the process is ongoing. At the K-3 level we address the needs of gifted and talented children through differentiated instruction and by the gifted coordinator and media specialists "pushing-in." With the guidance and assistance of our gifted coordinator, teachers receive professional development and support in the classroom to meet the needs of identified students.
At the 4–12 grade levels the special needs of gifted and talented children are addressed through a comprehensive differentiated program. All students in grades 4-12 are annually considered for inclusion into gifted programming.
Gifted programs are provided in three areas including:
As a district we believe in the importance of universal screening, and we use specific methods appropriate to each of the three program areas including placement tests, cognitive ability tests, creative thinking tests, extensive teacher evaluations through Renzulli Scales, and evaluation of student portfolios. We utlize the local norm data. Local norm comparisons also are consistent with the definition of giftedness first advanced in the influential U.S. Department of Education “National Excellence” report, which recommended identifying student abilities only in comparison “with others of their age, experience, or environment.” The CogAT is administered to all students in the spring of grades 3 and 5, and we use local norms for proper identification. All assessements are aligned with program goals. Thus, a math assessment and quantitative battery will be used to identify advanced math students. The identification process is ongoing to ensure we are always meeting the needs of our students. Final selection is made by a District-wide Selection Committee composed of classroom teachers, teachers of the gifted, special subject teachers, a Child Study Team member, and the Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Programs.