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Gifted and Talented

Last Updated: 1/10/2023 4:04 PM


What Does the Gifted and Talented Experience Look Like?
Springfield Public Schools 

Mission Statement 

The Gifted and Talented Program of the Springfield Public Schools aims to provide a meaningful and rigorous education that instills the value of lifelong learning and empowers all students to reach their full potential and become self-fulfilled creative leaders in accordance with the comprehensive standards of our state. We accomplish this by offering challenging, real-world experiences in a student-centered environment. 

We recognize that students come from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, and the mission of the gifted and talented program is to provide opportunities for students to explore their intellectual, creative, and artistic gifts and talents within the classroom and with beyond-the-classroom experiences. It is essential to provide diverse, appropriate, and ongoing learning experiences and environments that incorporate students' academic, psychological, and social needs. Our responsibility is to provide students with educational alternatives that teach, challenge, and expand their knowledge, while simultaneously stressing the development of independent and self-directed learners who continuously generate questions, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information and ideas. New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:8-3.1 defines students who are gifted and talented 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.



To support our mission, we have established the following goals to guide our work: 

  • To infuse into the general education program a broad range of activities for high-level learning that will challenge all students to perform at advanced levels, and provide extended opportunities, resources, and support in particular areas where student interest or talent is demonstrated. 
  • To provide a continuum of gifted education services that will strengthen the total school program, offer enriching and challenging learning opportunities for all students, and provide specialized learning experiences. 
  • To promote achievement of students’ best potentials and increased ability. 

Through a productive and collaborative relationship among the building principals, classroom teachers, and the Gifted and Talented teacher, our schools can create programming that will enhance the learning experience for every student and serve the unique and specialized needs of students currently demonstrating gifted behaviors. 

Elements of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, W.I.N (What I Need), differentiated instruction, advanced classes, or individual programs into a student’s regular instruction program are integral to this overarching framework for gifted education in the Springfield School District. 

Reference Board Policy and Regulation 2464 – Gifted and Talented Pupils (M) 


Early Childhood Center
Edward V. Walton

Schoolwide Virtual Enrichment 
All first and second grade students have access to the Gifted and Talented Virtual Classroom. This virtual classroom is a space for students to complete various challenges and enrichment opportunities at their own pace. Students can receive feedback and additional adaptable resources to meet their individual learning needs. The virtual classroom design expands accessibility to enrichment resources and allows students to choose learning activities according to their unique interests and abilities. The purpose of the activities is to encourage problem-solving, develop critical thinking skills, and expand curiosity and imagination. Activities are aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. 

Gifted and Talented Teacher as a Resource 
The Gifted and Talented teacher serves as a resource to all teachers within Edward V. Walton School. Teachers seeking resources for their high-ability learners will receive additional support from the Gifted and Talented teacher in various ways. This support may include additional units of study, challenging resources, and student projects. 


Elementary Schools
James Caldwell
Thelma L. Sandmeier

The goal is to engage small groups of students in intensive learning experiences through standards-based, rigorous, and relevant units of study that supplement, not supplant, the grade-level curriculum and support students’ unique learning needs. 

Enrichment Experience Grade 3 
Beginning in third grade, the G&T teacher will cycle through all classrooms to work on problem-solving and enrichment tasks with students. Driven by assessment data, academic performance, student interest, and teacher observation, small groups of students will meet with the G&T teacher during W.I.N. (What I Need) periods throughout the week that the teacher is assigned to their classroom teacher. Groupings will be flexible and monitored to best meet each student’s needs throughout the school year. Activities will include brain teasers, puzzles, strategic thinking, problem-solving, and STEM challenges. 

Targeted Gifted and Talented Programing Grades 4-5 
Students may become identified as Gifted and Talented in fourth grade. Students that are identified may receive support from the G&T Teacher for up to five periods (200 minutes) a week during W.I.N. (What I Need) periods. Identified students will meet to explore grade-level content while incorporating depth and complexity in a student-centered, problem-based environment. The Gifted and Talented Program aims to provide students with various advanced and challenging learning experiences across content areas to promote independent thinking skills, refine critical thinking and communication skills, cultivate joy in learning, and expand student interests through problem-solving. The instruction that students receive incorporates 21st Century Skills and advanced content that is challenging, hands-on, and relevant to the real world.


Strategies and Practices that Support Gifted and Talented Students · Adjusted Pace of Lessons 

  • Inquiry-Based Instruction 
  • Higher-Order Thinking Activities 
  • Interest-Based Content 
  • Real World Problem Solving/Problem Based Learning 
  • Independent Study/Passion Projects 
  • Units of Study with Like-Minded Peers

Schoolwide Virtual Enrichment 
All JCS and TLS students have access to grade level-specific Gifted and Talented Virtual Classrooms. These virtual classrooms are a space for students to complete various challenges and enrichment opportunities at their own pace. Students are able to receive feedback and additional opportunities based on their needs. The virtual classrooms have expanded the accessibility of enrichment resources directly to the students and allows for students to choose opportunities according to their interests and abilities. The purpose of the activities is to encourage problem solving, develop critical thinking skills, and expand curiosity and imagination in conjunction with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. 

Gifted and Talented Teacher as a Resource 
In addition to classroom support, the Gifted and Talented teacher also serves as a resource to all teachers in the building. Teachers that are seeking resources for their high ability learners will receive additional support from the Gifted and Talented teacher in various ways. This may include additional units of study, challenging resources, student projects, and meeting with the G&T teacher as needed. 

Additional Enrichment Opportunities 
Across all grade levels 3-5, as recommended by the classroom teacher, students exhibiting a need for additional enrichment may have the opportunity to meet with the G&T teacher as the schedule allows. Groupings will be flexible and monitored to best meet the students’ needs throughout the school year. Activities will include, brain teasers, puzzles, strategic thinking activities, problem-solving challenges, and STEM challenges. Students engage in an extended process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers that lead to thinking about what and how they are learning. Students are held accountable for how they work and use their time by demonstrating their learning through products or presentations. 

Students self-select to participate in individual and/or group projects based on interest and commitment. The classroom teacher and/or the enrichment teacher will help guide and monitor student exploration of chosen topics, facilitating their learning with resources and teaching of needed skills.


Secondary Schools
Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School
Jonathan Dayton High School

Grades 6-12: Access to specific content programs with higher levels of academic challenges (i.e. Pre-Algebra, Accelerated Communication Arts, and Advanced Placement Classes) 

Dual Credit Courses provide students the opportunity to obtain high school credit, and college credit, simultaneously through partnerships with several institutions. 

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) students become builders of technology by engaging in real world activities. Students are empowered as design thinkers collaborating on real world projects. 


Gifted and Talented Identification Criteria

The Springfield Schools Gifted and Talented Program recognizes that students require differentiated learning experiences beyond the core curriculum being taught because of their advanced abilities in one or more content areas. These students may also have other cognitive qualities such as curiosity, creativity, motivation, leadership, and passion that require modifications to their academic experience. 

Multiple Measures of Eligibility 
Kindergarten through grade twelve identification process for gifted and talented students includes multiple measures. Multiple measures may include but are not limited to: achievement test scores; grades; student performance or products; intelligence testing; parent, student, and/or teacher recommendation; and other appropriate measures. The identification methodology is developmentally appropriate, non-discriminatory, and related to the programs and services offered by the Springfield School District. The identification procedures are reviewed annually. 

According to N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1, all public school districts must have a board-approved gifted and talented identification process and provide services for identified students enrolled in the grades of that school district. The regulations require that identification and services be made available to students in grades K-12. 

When students are recommended for the Gifted and Talented Program there are multiple measures that are considered to determine if services are necessary and appropriate. The assessments used are as follows:

  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) 
  • Classroom Performance/Student Portfolios 
  • DRA2 Level 
  • iReady Diagnostic Scores 
  • Gifted Indicators Checklist 
  • Start Strong/NJSLA Assessment Data 

The N.J.A.C. requires that students be compared to their chronological peers in the local school district. The New Jersey Department of Education has not established state-level criteria for identifying students who are gifted, such as mandated tests or assessments, grade point averages, or IQ scores. Local school districts must use multiple measures to identify students. 

Procedures: b8a33a9f505e4998a6db3fb8e1de778b


Gifted and Talented Program Identification Matrix
Minimum Score Required for Consideration: 14 Points 


1 Point

2 Points 

3 Points

Cogat Assessment 
Overall Stanine Score of a 7

Cogat Assessment 
Overall Stanine Score of an 8

Cogat Assessment 
Overall Stanine Score of a 9

iReady Math Assessment Just Below Current Grade Level

iReady Math Assessment On Grade Level

iReady Math Assessment ½ Year + Above Current Level

iReady ELA 
On Grade Level

iReady ELA 
½ Year Above Current Level

iReady ELA 
One Full Grade Level + 
Above Current Level

Approaching Expectations

Met Expectations

Exceed Expectations

Approaching Expectations

Met Expectations

Exceed Expectations

HOPE Teacher Rating Scale Raw Score: 11 - 29

HOPE Teacher Rating Scale Raw Score: 30 - 49

HOPE Teacher Rating Scale Raw Score: 50-66



Team meetings present the opportunity to review data and assess the educational needs of all students. Teacher provides examples of student work exhibiting above and beyond grade level expectations, creativity, leadership, critical and abstract thinking. Programs for gifted and talented students will be periodically evaluated for their continuing efficacy and adjusted accordingly. The parent of any student identified as gifted or talented shall be consulted regarding any program designed to address the student’s particular needs.


Resource Links:


Gifted and talented student: The Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act defines a gifted and talented student as a “student who possesses or demonstrates a high level of ability in one or more content areas when compared to their chronological peers in the school district and who require modifications of their educational program if they are to achieve in accordance with their capabilities.”

Twice-exceptional (2E) students: A twice-exceptional (2E) student is defined as “a student who is both gifted and a student with a disability. These students may also be referred to as having dual exceptionalities or as being gifted with learning disabilities (GT/LD). This also applies to students who are gifted with ADHD or gifted with autism” (New Jersey Association for Gifted Children,

Instructional adaptation: An adjustment or modification to instruction enabling a student who is gifted and talented to participate in, benefit from, and demonstrate knowledge and application of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in one or more content areas at the instructional level of the student, not just the student’s grade level. 

Identifying gifted and talented students: The focus of identification is to provide programming and services in which students' specific learning needs and potential are appropriately addressed and met. In every New Jersey school district, there are students who require modifications to the general education curriculum if they are to achieve in accordance with their abilities. By identifying a student’s general intellectual ability, creativity, or specific academic area aptitudes, we are acknowledging that they need programming and services outside of the general education/grade level curriculum to advance their learning.


NJDOE Fast Facts:


Supplemental Resources/Programming for Gifted Students

Edward V. Walton

  • PETS Program – Primary Education Thinking Skills 
  • Group Solutions/Group Solutions 2 – Cooperative Logic Activities 
  • Lollipop Logic 
  • Beginning Thinking Skills 
  • AIMS Education Programming

James Caldwell and Thelma L. Sandmeier 


  • Project M3: Mentoring Mathematical Minds
  • Junior Great Books
  • AIMS Education Programming
  • Borenson Hands on Equations
  • BizWorld
  • Perplexors
  • Advanced Math Explorations grade 3-5
  • Challenging Units for Gifted Learners (ELA and Math)
  • Creative Curriculum Extenders
  • Differentiated Lessons & Projects
  • Challenge Math Grades 4+
  • Differentiating Instruction with Menus (All Content Areas)
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Genius Hour/Passion Project
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Logic Puzzles, Brain Games, Analogies


  • Engineering is Elementary
  • Engineer Throughout the Year
  • PBS Design Squad
  • DefinedSTEM
  • Project Lead the Way (PLTW)


Enrichment Events

Experience for all students to be enriched through events related to the curricular or extracurricular activities. Examples include after school clubs, PTA-sponsored events, leadership opportunities, visual and performing arts, and community service opportunities.