Philosophy of Program

Northbrook District #27 believes there are children who can be identified as intellectually gifted. These children have unique and exceptional needs and abilities that necessitate a program qualitatively different from the regular classroom program. In addition, these students benefit from spending part of each day and/or week with like peers.

Kindergarten through third grade (K-3) Flexible Enrichment Program

Students in kindergarten through grade three may be selected to participate in the Flexible Enrichment Program. The program provides opportunities for extending the core curriculum in the areas of reading and/or math problem solving. Students are considered for participation in the program based on standardized test scores, formal and informal classroom assessments, and/or exceptional abilities. Students leave the regular classroom and meet in small groups with the enrichment teacher for specific units of study in reading and/or math. The K-3 enrichment program is a non-graded program. That is, the extension activities do not replace the learning requirements of the normal classroom curriculum. Because children mature and change rapidly from ages of four to eight, the K-3 program is designed to be flexible with regard to student participation. For example, a first grade student who is an early reader may be included in a reading enrichment unit. Another student with advanced mathematical thinking may participate in a problem solving group. These students may or may not be "gifted" but are certainly in need of enrichment at that particular time. Therefore, student groupings change regularly.

Prior to entering fourth grade, selected students are formally assessed by an IQ measure to determine placement in the 4-8 Extended Learning Program, which is a daily replacement curriculum for identified students.

Fourth and Fifth Grades (4/5) Extended Learning Program (ELP)

Unlike the K-3 flexible enrichment program, the 4/5 program is only offered to students who meet gifted criteria through formalized identification, including an IQ score. The 4/5 program is differentiated to meet the needs and abilities of the gifted students and includes the subjects of reading and language arts. The 4/5 identified students leave their homeroom class each day for 120 minutes. They meet with the gifted education teacher and their grade level peers to engage in replacement reading/language arts curriculum. Students receive their reading/language arts grades from the ELP teacher. In addition to the 4/5 ELP, students may receive flexible enrichment in math one day per week. Students are selected for math enrichment based upon various data that reflects their math performance. Math enrichment is not part of the ELP curriculum but is open to any student who meets the specific criteria.

Sixth through Eighth Grade (6-8) Program

Similar to the 4/5 program, the 6-8 program differentiates the core curriculum in the subjects of reading and language arts. In addition, social studies is included in the humanities-based program. The students meet with the gifted education teacher(s) daily for these three class periods. Students receive their reading, language arts, and social studies grades from the ELP teacher.

Math enrichment is not offered at Wood Oaks because math placement is determined by ability; students are placed in one of three math tracks.

Formal Identification Process for 4-8 ELP

Students are identified at the end of third grade for placement in the formal gifted program, ELP, which begins at fourth grade. Students are typically nominated by teachers, parents, or administrators. In addition, students may be self-nominated or promoted by their peers. These students are then screened. Through the use of a scoring matrix, the following items are analyzed:

  • The most recent Terra Nova scores in the areas of Vocabulary and Reading (1-4 points are awarded based on the child's local percentile, for example 1 point is given for 85-89 percentile and 4 points are given for 97-99 percentile).
  • The NWEA Reading Score from the spring administration of the Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) test (again 1-4 points are awarded based on scores).
  • The Teacher Rating scores are derived from over twenty descriptors typical of high performing students. The teacher rates each descriptor in comparison to the child's daily performance.
  • The Aptitude Score from the Test of Cognitive Skills, administered during the Terra Nova testing (2-8 points are awarded based on the aptitude score, with a score 130 receiving 2 points and 141 receiving 8 points).

The parents of nominated students receive a comprehensive overview of the screening process and an individual student report. Those students who meet the minimum criteria of screening points are invited to take the Stanford Binet V individual intelligence test administered by a District 27 school psychologist. The results of this test (IQ Score) are the final determination of entrance into the gifted program. Binet results are shared with parents who may accept or reject placement in the formal gifted program. Students who do not meet the cut score are closely monitored by classroom teachers, the principal, and the ELP coordinator. Reevaluation at a later date may be warranted. These students or students not previously nominated may be recommended for the program at any time after third grade.

Extended Learning Porgram Audit 2010