The Ridgefield Public Schools provides gifted and talented education for students in grades K - 12 in a manner that best suits a child's developmental needs at each level. Students are identified annually at each grade level through a screening process which includes testing, teacher and/or student and parent recommendation, aptitude, and motivation. Students are given the option of demonstrating giftedness in any area within the school curriculum. I The Gifted And Talented program in the Ridgefield N.J. district services grades 1-5. In grades K - 5, students are screened using the Slosson Intelligence test, the Renzulli Screening tool, teacher assessment, and recommendation, as well as student performance within the classroom. In grades 1 and 2, the G&T specialist creates enrichment lessons for those students within these grades, as well as compacted curricular units. It is a push-in full classroom model where all children in both grades 1 and 2 are serviced. The enrichment program focuses mainly on the social and emotional development of the students. This includes kinesthetic learning, through movement, relaxation and breathwork. There is great stress on the body/mind connection. Students are taught to experiment with and strengthen various interpersonal skills through small group/buddy work and role-plays. Students explore literature through read alouds, reading buddies, and poetry circles. They are encouraged to examine character development in both literature and in their own personal development through the school year. There is time allotted for self-assessment and reflection.
The G&T specialist works closely with classroom teachers in developing a program that is contained within the self-contained grade-level classroom and can reach each and every student in their areas of strength. In grades 3 - 5, students are provided with the opportunity for a pull-out G&T program in addition to the enrichment within the grade-level classrooms. The students are again screened annually and the parents receive a permission slip for their child to participate in the pull-out G&T program. Within the pull-out program, the G&T specialist works with the district approved G&T curricula and addresses various students in the different content areas within the grade-level curricula. The Gifted And Talented program is designed to focus on higher-order thinking skills infused in problem-based learning, research projects, engineering and design tasks, experiments, analogies, and logic puzzles. The program is highly student-driven and student-led. Students have the opportunity to explore their passions and interests. Great stress is placed on scientific inquiry, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Students are encouraged to be curious as they develop and refine the art/technique of questioning. Resilience and perseverance are nurtured as students develop socially, emotionally and academically through the school year. Different students may be pulled out based upon their skills in the various areas of the curriculum, such as math or ELA. The students are progress monitored every six weeks to ensure their performance both in the G&T program and the regular classroom. The G&T specialist continues to work with the teachers to provide them with enrichment opportunities for students within the regular classroom.
In grades 6 - 12, students are provided with the opportunity to participate in the honors and AP programs at the secondary level. Students are assessed using a content-based instrument in order for them to demonstrate aptitude and ability in each of the content areas, in addition to teacher, parent, or student recommendation, and school-based skills rubric. Students are required to participate in the assessment at all levels of the honors program, regardless of previous honors placement. At all levels of the program, the final evaluation is rubric-based and all of the factors that a student demonstrates within the school environment are considered.