Gifted & Talented Education
District 115 is committed to providing a range of educational programs that meet the different learning needs of all students. Children who exhibit exceptionally strong intellectual abilities and demonstrate the potential for performing significantly beyond the standard curriculum, when compared to other peers of their age, experience or environment, have learning needs that require differentiated instruction. This instruction includes content, strategies, and expectations of student performance.
Students are identified for the Gifted/Talented Education program in the area of math and/or reading/language arts at the end of second, fourth, and sixth grade. A combination of cognitive (Cognitive Abilities Test) and achievement (MAP) scores along with a teacher recommendation are used for placement.
3rd - 6th Grade: Beginning in third grade, identified students are placed in gifted cluster classrooms. These classrooms contain a mixed ability grouping of average to high students. All gifted cluster teachers are trained in best practices for meeting the needs of gifted students and participate in ongoing gifted staff development.
Language Arts: Based on the current district curriculum, enriched language arts units have been created for classroom use. These units are research based using the strategies of Benjamin Bloom, Jerome Bruner, Joseph Renzulli, and J.P. Guilford. The thematic units focus on the differentiation of content, process, and product and allow students the opportunity for in-depth investigations at an increased complexity level. Sample units include: Wildlife Biology, Classical Composers, Inventions, and Survival.
Math: Students in 3rd grade are offered opportunities for enrichment and acceleration within the content. Teachers use a variety of resources to deepen students' knowledge of the content in the Common Core Standards. In 4th grade, the Accelerated Math program based on the Common Core Standards begins. This program continues throughout students' educational experiences in District 115. Content is delivered to students at the next instructional level. For example, fourth grade Accelerated Math students would complete the fifth grade curriculum. Strategies of differentiation, acceleration, and compacting are implemented within these classrooms.
Enrichment: The Gifted Resource department works with all grade levels to provide more challenge within the curriculum based on students' needs. Individualized approaches can target student learning within the regular school day. Based on the current district curriculum, enrichment units have been created in both math and reading/language arts. These units allow for tiered learning, investigation and research, promoting higher level thinking skills.
Cultivate an environment of thinking and learning
- Open ended activities that encourage divergent thinking
- Higher level discussions
Identify students at their instructional level
Embed core curriculum standards into integrated projects and activities
- Multiple perspectives
- Real world contexts
Provide social emotional growth specific to the gifted learner
- Peer relationships
Deepen staff and community's understanding of gifted learners
- Professional development opportunities
- Parent information nights
- Social media