Gifted and Talented Philosophy Statement

The Westwood Regional School District believes in the inherent worth of every student, and recognizes its responsibility to develop the capacity within each student to be successful in the 21st century by providing differentiated programs throughout the curriculum.

Gifted learners are defined as those students who, by virtue of their outstanding abilities, perform or show potential for performing at remarkably high levels in one or more content areas when compared to their peers in the Westwood Regional School District.

Gifted and talented students are identified by well-defined criteria using multiple measures. These measures include Cognitive Skills Index (CSI), various test scores and teacher evaluation. The New Jersey Administrative Code and the Gifted Program Standards of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) guide the development of curriculum for Westwood's gifted and talented students.

The Westwood Regional School District identifies students with gifted and talented abilities and provides various programs to develop their higher order thinking through discussion of abstract ideas, use of logic, and exercises in creativity. Varied interests are considered when content for programs is developed.

K–3 – The Gifted and Talented teacher provides whole-class enrichment for all students

  • 10-12 week rotating schedule by grade
  • Lessons follow taxonomy outlined by Dr. Benjamin Bloom
  • Lessons focus on six thinking strategies, introduced by different characters:
  • "Dudley the Detective" - Deductive Thinking
  • "Isabel the Inventor" - Inventive Thinking
  • "Max the Magician" - Visual Thinking
  • "Sybil the Scientist" - Analytical Thinking
  • "Yolanda the Yarn Spinner" - Creative Thinking
  • "Jordan the Judge" - Evaluative Thinking

3-5 - The Gifted and Talented teacher provides an opportunity for all students in grades 3-5 to participate in optional independent study projects called "Student Enrichment Projects."

  • Projects are completed primarily at home with guidance from the Gifted and Talented teacher and a parent or guardian.
  • This project offers an opportunity to go beyond the curriculum presented in class. Emphasis is placed on creativity and originality.

4–7 – The Gifted and Talented teacher provides pullout programs

  • Students meet once a week for the entire year.
  • Program focuses on higher-order thinking skills infused in problem-based learning activities, research projects, science projects and experiments, analogies, and logic puzzles.
  • Students are responsible to make up all missed work in their regular class.

8 – Differentiation, honors classes, and competitions

9–12 – Honors and Advanced Placement classes

State of New Jersey Department of Education
Gifted and Talented Requirements

The regulations define gifted and talented students as:

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.