Overview of Kindergarten through Second grade Gifted and Talented Programming:
The Westwood Regional School District’s gifted and talented students in kindergarten through second grade have their specific needs met in the regular classroom. Teachers identify and evaluate their gifted students through observation, portfolios, reading and writing benchmarks, parent recommendations, and conferences with the gifted specialists and the enrichment coordinator. Identified gifted students are enrolled in a pullout program beginning in the third grade.
Teachers use differentiation as a method to meet their gifted student’s needs. Different tasks and activities are provided for gifted students enabling them to experience greater learning opportunities. They are encouraged to develop their higher order thinking in every subject area. Five elements of differentiation: content, process, product, environment, and assessment are followed by classroom teachers. Gifted students may be provided with more advanced materials and assignments by their teacher or the enrichment coordinator. They are also allowed time to work independently on projects aligned with their interests. Another resource arranged to assist gifted students is the elementary school reading specialist. At the request of the classroom teacher and building principal, the reading specialist may work individually to mentor gifted students in the lower grades.
Overview of Third and Fourth grade Gifted and Talented Programming:
The Westwood Third and Fourth Grade Gifted and Talented Program is a pull-out program for identified students. The students meet once a week for forty-five minutes. These students have exhibited gifted and talented abilities, which have been identified through multiple measures, including achievement test scores, student work, intelligence testing, teacher recommendation and other measures. This data is then transferred to a rubric and rated. The curriculum involves advanced level investigation in the following subject areas:
Junior Great Books: an inquiry-based language arts program, which challenges the students to analyze and discuss literature.
Analogies:which require the students to think analytically about words and their relationships with others, in paired sets.
Syllogism:which teaches the students to evaluate the logic of deductive reasoning and to test the validity of these arguments.
Logic: which challenges the students to decide the validity of deductive arguments and sharpens memory skills.
In-depth research: which emphasizes either a historical figure to create a "Living Museum" presentation, where the student will "come to life" as the historical figure, or science researchers working on protecting endangered species and creating a project on the Great Horned Owl.
Multiple Intelligences: a unit based on Dr. Howard Gardner's theory of eight intelligences. Through this study, the students will be able to recognize their own strengths.
The New Jersey Administrative Code and the Gifted Program Standards of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) continue to guide the development of curriculum for Westwood’s gifted and talented students