Gifted & Talented

Rockford Public School offers a varied array of gifted-related services and programs for students, teachers and parents in the Rockford school district. Programming provided by the Gifted and Talented Department includes:

  • Kindergarten-2nd Grade reading interventions
  • 3rd-5th Grade pull-out program
  • 6th Grade cluster grouping and GT Consultant support
  • K-8th Grade teacher consultation and support
  • 6th-12th Grade testing, placement, and accelerated classes
A young girl next to a man and a woman holds up a certificate and a trophy plate

Elementary

Programming Offered

Kindergarten – 2nd Grade

Reading interventions are provided to qualifying students. Students demonstrating reading 2+ years above grade level and possessing an exceptional CogAT verbal reasoning score.

3rd – 5th Grade

Identified gifted students are provided differentiated programming through several methods:

  • Classroom Accommodations: The classroom teacher is the primary provider of differentiated classroom work. Teachers with identified gifted students receive support and training from the GT Department.
  • Pull Out (3rd-5th grade): A GT Teacher Consultant will also pull students out of the regular classroom each week. This time is used for development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. Third grade students aren’t identified until second semester, therefore begin pull out mid-year.
  • Cluster Grouping: One teacher at each grade level at each school (4th and 5th only) has been identified and extensively trained as a cluster teacher. This designation indicates that all identified students in that grade in that school are placed in this teacher’s classroom. Cluster grouping is an effective and widely used method of differentiation.
  • GT Consultant Building Assignments:
    • Sonia Andrews – Parkside, Meadow Ridge, Roguewood, Valley View, North Rockford Middle
    • Melissa Pischner-Stull -Belmont, Crestwood, Lakes, Cannonsburg, East Rockford Middle

6th Grade

The only advanced course offering is 6th grade advanced math, although not all identified students qualify for this course. Identified GT students are clustered in two specific magnets (NRMS-Structures and Community & Service; ERMS Earth Keepers and Structures) with teachers who are extensively trained in curriculum differentiation.

Identification Methods

K-2 Students 

  • Gifted Identification

    Students are not formally identified as gifted until third grade. Consulting services are available to teachers of K-2 students requiring differentiated curriculum.

  • Reading Interventions 

    Students can be recommended by their teacher for screening for possible interventions. Students must be 2+ grade levels above in reading in order to be further screened. Students will be administered the verbal subtest of the CogAT. Qualifying for reading interventions does not identify the student as gifted and qualification only lasts for the current school year.

3-5 Students

All students are first tested in the winter of their 3rd grade year using the NNAT (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test). This test is not related to any school subjects, rather, it focuses on reasoning abilities. Students scoring within the accepted range qualify for further testing using the SAGES (Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary Students) Test.

  • The SAGES test screens students for beyond grade-level performance in math, science, language arts, and social studies, as well as reasoning. Parents of students who qualify for further testing based upon NNAT scores will be notified within a few weeks after NNAT testing.
  • 4th and 5th grade students may be recommended for testing by teachers only, should the student meet the recommendation criteria. Students without prior qualifying NNAT scores are re-administered the NNAT to determine if further screening with SAGES is needed.
  • Students may only be re-tested for GT identification one time.
  • One year must lapse between administrations, according the test guidelines.

6th Grade Advanced Math (Pre-Algebra)

6th Grade Advanced Math (Pre-Algebra) uses a very rigorous 7th and 8th grade curriculum. There is a very heavy daily work load and only approximately 3-4% of fifth grade students are ready for this degree of math acceleration. Students that begin on this math track will be starting college level calculus in 11th grade.

  • Students who do not qualify based upon Discovery Education scores can be recommended by their teacher for testing. Strong recommendation candidates have consistently and successfully pretested out of grade level math units and demonstrate math achievement at least one year beyond their grade level.

Secondary

Programming Offered

6th Grade

Identified gifted students are provided differentiated programming through several methods:

  • Cluster Grouping: Teachers of two magnets have been identified and extensively trained as a cluster teacher. This designation indicates that all identified students in that grade in that school are placed in this teacher’s classroom. Cluster grouping is an effective and widely used method of differentiation.
    • NRMS: Community & Service and Structures Magnets
    • ERMS: Earth Keepers & Structures Magnets
  • Collaborative Curriculum Development: The GT Department frequently collaborates with 6th grade cluster teachers to develop and implement consistent differentiated classroom experiences.
  • The only advanced course offering is 6th grade advanced math, although not all identified students qualify for this course.
  • GT Consultant Building Assignments:
    • Sonia Andrews – North Rockford Middle
    • Melissa Pischner-Stull – East Rockford Middle

7th/8th Grade

Advanced course work, referred to as ROCK classes, is offered in: language arts, social studies, and science. Students participating in 6th grade advanced math continue on into further advanced math coursework.

Identification Methods

6th Grade Advanced Math

Students are tested in the late winter/ early spring of their 5th grade year. Students qualify for testing for advanced math by either scoring in the top five percent on Discovery Education math test, or through teacher or parent recommendation.

  • Strong recommendation candidates have consistently and successfully pretested out of grade level math units, have exceptional number sense and problem solving skills, and demonstrate math achievement at least one year beyond their grade level.

7th/8th Grade ROCK Classes

Students are tested in the spring of their 6th or 7th grade year. Out-of-level testing is administered. Students qualify for testing for ROCK classes through top five percent of Discovery Education (DE) scores or through teacher or parent recommendation.

  • Students who do not qualify for ROCK testing based upon DE scores can be recommended for testing by their classroom teacher(s). Strong candidates are students who have been provided consistent differentiated assignments in the subject area(s) to be tested.

  • For newly-enrolled families interested in testing for ROCK classes, talk with the Counseling Office at the middle school your child will attend.

Parent Resources

Suggested Reading

  • Raisin’ Brains: Surviving My Smart Family by Karen Isaacson
  • Smart Talk: What Kids Say about Growing Up Gifted by Robert Schultz, James R. Delisle
  • Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy And Successful Children by James R. Delisle
  • Life in the Fast Brain: Keeping Up With Gifted Minds by Karen Isaacson
  • Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels
  • When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social and Emotional Needs by Jim Delisle, Judy Galbraith, and Pamela Espeland
  • The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook  by Judy Galbraith, James R. Delisle, and Pamela Espeland
  • The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke, Ph.D., Walker and Caryn Pernu
  • Keys to Parenting the Gifted Child  by Sylvia B. Rimm

Suggested Websites