The purpose of the district program for the gifted and talented is to provide appropriate educational services for those students who have been identified as having or possessing exceptional abilities. It is further recognized that these identified gifted and talented students need the challenge of a differentiated curriculum both in depth and scope in order to provide them with the opportunity to maximize their potential.

The Linden School District provides formal programming for academically gifted students in grades one through five. Students in grades six, seven and eight participate in accelerated courses. In grades nine through twelve, honors and the International Baccalaureate programs are provided. Students in kindergarten are selected for special programming to meet their exceptional abilities through an evaluation by the district’s department for the gifted and talented in conjunction with the classroom teacher.

Emphasis in the grades one through five programs is placed upon developing advanced thinking skills and problem-solving techniques. Independence is encouraged and creative and critical thinking is highly emphasized. Conceptual thinking and the exploration of ideas takes precedence over a strict subject orientation. Active involvement and varied and personal responses are encouraged. Students create new information, ideas and projects, transfer and apply this knowledge to new areas, develop generalization, develop higher levels of thinking, show depth of thought and the ability to design and implement a project. The students become involved with each of the elements appropriate for their grade level. Students are involved in the three phase enrichment activities set forth in the Renzulli (1977) Enrichment Triad. They are provided with general exploratory experiences, group training activities, and individual and small group investigations of real problems.

As a district, ALL students in kindergarten and 3rd grade are given a cognitive abilities screener as the primary step to be accepted into the G&T program followed by the format established by the supervisor of the gifted and talented program. The reason all students are given the screen is to create an equitable opportunity for all students in the Linden School District. Identified kindergarten students will be provided with enrichment activities within their classroom. The program, for those students identified as gifted in grades one through five begins each year in September. The overall shift in emphasis to lower grades is consistent with the mandate as specified in the New Jersey educational regulations.

Gifted students in grades one through five meet once a week on a rotating schedule in their school with one of our full time gifted and talented teachers. Generally, the classes have about four to eight students participating in the program per school, per grade. Overall this represents about 8 -10% of the district’s population for each grade. Keeping the elementary program in the students’ home school helps keep the relationship between the G&T teachers, students, classroom teachers, and community accessible. The half day program allows for extensive study and exploration as well as the development of new research-based projects/products.

The Linden Public School District is committed to a quality educational program that recognizes the unique value, needs, and talents of the individual student. It also recognizes that differences exist among learners and that these differences can be addressed through a differentiated curriculum. The Linden program for gifted and talented students is an integral part of this commitment. There will be an ongoing identification process starting in kindergarten developed to screen for and select these exceptionally able students in order to provide them with an appropriate educational program and services. The gifted program is designed to challenge the student through a multidimensional teaching approach which may involve a thematic integrated curriculum, and a modification of content, process, environment and product.

In essence, “gifted students have a right to educational experiences that meet their needs”. In providing for those needs, we address the whole child with a total curriculum that integrates realms of learning within and across planned experiences, that provides for a progressive development of knowledge and skills, and that enhances an appreciation of humanity.” (Van Tassel-Baska, 1988)

  • To develop within the student a desire for excellence and a sense of individual responsibility to the school community and to a changing society.
  • To provide a differentiated curriculum that is designed to explore areas other than those provided in the regular classroom.
  • To develop to a more advanced level the student’s critical and creative thinking skills.
  • To develop academic independence through participation in self-initiated and self-directed higher level learning activities.

  • Shows superior reasoning powers and marked ability to handle ideas; can generalize readily from specific facts and can see subtle relationships; has outstanding problem- solving ability.
  • Shows persistent intellectual curiosity; asks searching questions; shows exceptional interest in the nature of man and the universe.
  • Has a wide range of interests, often of an intellectual kind; develops one or more interests to considerable depth.
  • Is markedly superior in quality and quantity of written and/or spoken vocabulary; is interested in the subtleties of words and their uses.
  • Reads avidly and absorbs books well beyond his or her years.
  • Learns quickly and easily and retains what is learned; recalls important details, concepts and principles; comprehends readily.
  • Shows insight into arithmetical problems that require careful reasoning and grasps mathematical concepts readily.
  • Shows creative ability or imaginative expression in such things as music, art, dance, drama.
  • Sustains concentration for lengthy periods and shows outstanding responsibility and independence in classroom work.
  • Sets realistically high standards for self; is self-critical in evaluating and correcting his or her own efforts.

 

(These are typical factors stressed by educational authorities as being indicative of giftedness. Obviously, no child is outstanding in all characteristics).

The Scope and Sequence for grades one through five consists of key concepts included in the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. The grades in which these concepts are emphasized are indicated in the following chart. The eight key concepts spiral throughout the program, resulting in enhanced understanding and application by the gifted and talented learner. Students in grades six through twelve are given the opportunity to participate in the district’s accelerated, honors and advanced placement programs.

I. Critical Thinking
–Analysis-Identifying the parts of an idea as well as recognizing the relationships and
   organization of those parts.           
–Synthesis-Arranging or combining elements in order to form an entirely new whole.
–Evaluation-Assessing the value of an idea or a concept as related to the stated purpose.

II. Creativity
Fluency-Generating a wide variety of ideas.
– Flexibility-Moving easily from one thought to another and to consider information from
    different perspectives.
– Originality-Producing new or unique ideas.
– Elaboration-Embellishing or adding detail to ideas or products.

III. Problem Solving
–Identifying and analyzing a problem leading to the evaluation and implementation of
   possible solutions.

IV. Writing
–Communicating ideas through the written word using a variety of expressive formats.

V. Communication
–Verbal-Verbally transmitting ideas through the spoken word.
–Non-Verbal-Transmitting ideas or feelings by using visual, auditory, or kinetic language.
–Interpretive-Listening or viewing in order to comprehend relayed information.
–Interpersonal-Interacting effectively with individuals.
–Listening-Processing and acting upon aural information.

VI. Research
Compiling, evaluating and presenting data.

VII. Math
Analyzing data, using problem solving techniques, logic, patterning and geometric
   strategies.

VIII. Technology
– 
Integrating a variety of technology tools with theme areas and investigative units.

It is important that curriculum for the gifted be flexible and open-ended to allow for the exploration and study of a variety of topics that can be initiated and developed by students. There is no attempt here to have a highly structured curriculum for the gifted but rather to offer a guide which can be tailored to the needs and interests of the individual student and/or class. The curriculum also encourages to a higher degree the development of abstract thinking, offers practice in creative problem solving and stresses the higher cognitive processes of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Activities emphasize interpretation of material being investigated, creativity, decision-making and independent work.

Emphasis is placed on study skills in grades one through five. Students become familiar with sources of information and the skills necessary to use these sources effectively in order to gain information for themselves. Study skills include those skills necessary to use maps, charts, and graphs, to find books and magazines in a library and locate information within these books. Students learn to gather information from primary sources such as experts in their fields, television and video presentations, computers, newspapers, booklets, pamphlets, interviews, surveys, etc.

The affective domain is also an important part of the program. The development of competent individuals is considered a crucial element. They should possess self-confidence or the sense of being able to cope. They should also possess skills and abilities that permit them to function effectively in a variety of situations. The understanding of this affective domain helps to encourage the development of higher level thinking, confidence in ability, intrinsic motivation and a degree of social responsibility. It is infused into the gifted and talented program area at all grade levels and in every curriculum area.

For more information regarding the Gifted and Talented program, contact:

Matthew Lorenzetti 
Supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts/Gifted and Talented
Administration Building
2 E. Gibbons St. 
Phone: 908-486-2800 ext. 8026
mlorenzetti@lindenps.org