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Gifted and Talented [JET]

JET Programming

Our students are our nation’s greatest resource.  All children have unique strengths and talents, and the Rumson School District strives to provide opportunities to develop the social, emotional and academic abilities of each student. Teachers actively develop learning opportunities to meet these goals through individualized, differentiated learning activities across each content area.

The Rumson School District recognizes that some students possess and demonstrate extraordinary levels of ability in one or more content areas when compared to their chronological peers.  
These students may require differentiated programming opportunities beyond what are already provided in order to maximize their potential.

The mission of the gifted and talented program, which is based on research and curriculum development by leading experts in the fields of learning and gifted education, strives to provide opportunities for our students to “Journey into Expanded Thinking” (JET). 

The Rumson School District, through the study of the theories of intelligence and giftedness, understands the definition of giftedness through the lens of theory and research from Dr. Carol Dweck, Dr. Bertie Kingore and Dr. Joseph Renzulli.  Their respective research with Mindset Theory, enrichment and gifted development serve as the foundation for identification and programming options available to Rumson School District students through the JET program. This  research supports growing student thinking through intentional teaching and creating experiences which allow children to move from a fixed mindset, where they view their intelligence as set, toward a growth mindset where intelligence is fostered and developed.

At the foundation of the JET program is the understanding of intelligence and giftedness as dynamic and malleable over time.  Research studies of gifted children and adult achievers conclude that schools should not assume early promise or lack thereof is a clear sign of future success.  Intelligence develops over time when children are provided with the:
    Right motivation
    Right opportunities to learn
    Right environmental supports

Nurturing talent and giftedness in children requires providing students with classroom tasks that promote challenge and high thinking opportunities in order to help grow gifted behaviors.

In selecting the appropriate methods and assessments used in identification, the Rumson School District follows research based best practices as outlined by the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC).  The focus of identification in grades K-8 aligns with the NAGC position paper, The Role of Assessments in the Identification of Gifted Students .

Identification for K-2

During these developmental years it is appropriate to allow for children to become acquainted with the learning process and social nuances of the school setting.  The focus on development of gifted potential is the foundation for the K-2 JET program.

K-2 assessment is focused, ongoing and matched with a student's needs rather than simply labeling who is gifted and who is not.

To identify and foster this gifted potential, teachers in the K-2 classrooms will use the Kingore Observation Inventory or the KOI as an instrument to assist them in identifying and serving students with gifted potentials.  

The goal is not to label some students gifted while others are not.  The goal is to provide the most appropriate level of instruction.  

Developmentally appropriate, ongoing, observation-based assessment occurs where teachers observe their students during regular, everyday activities on a continuous basis throughout the year. These KOI assessment portfolios are critical to use when designing appropriate differentiated learning experiences for young learners.  In doing so teachers are able to better foster emerging giftedness and talents.  

Children develop and blossom at different rates and not in the same way.  

Through analyzing the results of the KOI, teachers are better able to make instructional decisions and provide strategies and activities that allow all students to experience success while providing an opportunity for advanced students to demonstrate the highest levels at which they are able to achieve.

K-2 Programming Components

  • A strong focus on differentiated instruction

  • Type 1 - Whole-class Enrichment STEM activities

  • Type 2 - Interested students provided Extension activities with STEM specialist

  • Type 3 - Highly motivated and driven students provided opportunities for self-selected, project-based activities with enrichment specialist based on Type 1 and 2 experiences

  • Consultation with JET staff and classroom teacher monthly

  • Extra-curricular club opportunities

As students travel through grades K-2, the KOI is a critical part of the learning profile.  During the late spring of Grade 2, initial identification for JET programming is administered.  A rubric is used to assist in identification which outlines multiple measures.

Identification for Rising Grade 3

Multiple measures are considered to determine JET eligibility, and several pieces of data will be phased in over next year to provide a fuller picture of student ability.
In the Spring of Grade 2, students will take the CogAT.  The CogAT is not an IQ score measure, but rather a measure of critical reasoning skills. These skills are used in all academic areas and are not taught but develop during a student's educational career.  

Identification Rising Grades 4 and 5

Students in Grades 3 and 4 will be reviewed and flagged at the end of each school year for participation in subsequent years.  Items that will initiate flagging will be the PARCC assessment performance level score of 5 in either reading or Math or exceeding WELL ABOVE grade level expectations in Fountas and Pinnell.

Those students who are flagged will then have all relevant  data reviewed.

In addition, cluster grouping for rising Grades 3 through 5 provides greater opportunities for those who have grown in their gifted behaviors as well as academic achievements. Cluster grouping meets the needs of all learners and creates diverse learning opportunities for students based on readiness. Students are purposely placed into classrooms based on their abilities and potential.  Cluster grouping is not tracking! When clustered, all classes have a range of abilities. Teachers modify or extend grade-level standards according to the student’s needs and abilities.

An overview of program components for students in grades 3-5 includes:

  • Cluster grouping

  • A strong focus on differentiated instruction

  • Type 1 - Whole-class Enrichment STEM activities

  • Type 2 - Interested students provided Extension activities with STEM specialist

  • Type 3 - Highly motivated and driven students provided opportunities for self selected project based activities with enrichment specialist based on Type 1 and 2 experiences

  • Consultation with JET staff and classroom teacher monthly

  • Competition opportunities

  • Pull-out JET programming opportunity for identified students

Grades 6-8 identification and programming

As our students grow and develop over the course of the elementary school years, our middle school students are provided with greater academic challenge in the form of acceleration in the areas of Math and accelerated ELA for grades 6, 7 and 8.  The accelerated ELA course will follow the Common Core Standards for the particular grade level but will be extremely rigorous in nature.  A faster pace, higher lexiled reading material, and an increase in quantity of reading and writing assignments is expected.

In order to be admitted into these courses, students must meet minimum requirements as outlined. New for this year is the additional piece of data in the form of entrance exams. These will be administered to students beginning in spring and are designed to identify those students who might meet with success in accelerated coursework. There are several data pieces which will be phased in next year which will provide a fuller picture of readiness for such acceleration.

Student opportunities for enrichment will be increased due in great part to a generous grant from the REF which will make the Innovation Lab a reality.  Additionally, opportunities for students to self-select competitions based on interest will be bigger part of JET programming for our 6-8 students.