Gifted & Talented
Welcome to the RSU 1 Gifted and Talented web page.  This page describes our services in grades K through 12,  outlines the procedures for identification, and provides resources and information for students, parents, teachers and families.

Staff

The Gifted and Talented teaching staff for RSU1 is comprised of Elise Copeland, Judi Mansfield and Lawrence Kovacs.  Each of us works in a number of different schools within the district, but our home base is at Fisher Mitchell School.   


Services

The shape and scope of Gifted and Talented services in our district vary depending on factors such as grade level, group size and area of study.  Some students receive differentiated instruction from their teacher within the classroom, others meet with a Gifted and Talented teacher in their regular classroom, and others are pulled out of their regular classroom to participate in accelerated or compacted lessons.  These opportunities for expanding and deepening the curriculum cover the core academic areas (language arts, humanities, science and math) and the arts (music and visual arts).

Identification

For the identification of Gifted and Talented students, RSU 1 relies on parent/teacher referrals along with the results from an assortment of assessments.  According to the Maine Legislation on Gifted and Talented Education, in order to identify a student one piece of subjective evidence (parent/teacher referral) is needed along with two pieces of objective evidence (norm-referenced or criterion-referenced assessments).  

Beginning in Kindergarten, teachers and parents are encouraged to fill out a Gifted and Talented Referral Form if they suspect a child may be gifted.  According to the Maine Department of Education Gifted and Talented website, gifted children are those "who excel, or have the potential to excel, beyond their age peers, in the regular school program, to the extent that they need and can benefit from programs for the gifted and talented." 

In the spring of each student's second grade year they are administered the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test®.  This is a pencil-and-paper cognitive ability test, similar to an Intelligence Quotient Test, but in standardized form.  You can read about the test here.  The results of this test become part of the students' cumulative records and are referred to during the identification process. 

Beginning in third grade, all students take the computer-based MAP Test (Measures of Academic Progress) as well as the pencil-and-paper based NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program).  The results of these assessments also become part of
the students' cumulative records and are referred to for identification.  An important distinction between the MAP and the NECAP is that the MAP is a formative assessment administered three times per year which provides nearly immediate feedback on student performance.  The NECAP is administered once per year and its results arrive months after the testing date.  The MAP is a tool for teachers to better meet the instructional needs of their students while the NECAP's primary purpose is to rank schools and track their progress.  Those differences aside, the information from both assessments is useful in identifying Gifted students.

Each spring a Gifted and Talented Committee consisting of RSU 1 teachers and administrators is convened and charged with the task of reviewing nominees for GT services after looking at their test scores and the comments and observations written about them by teachers and parents.  All student names are removed from the information being analyzed in order to maintain the anonymity of each candidate and ensure the objectivity of the process.  According to the state mandate, it is permissible for each school district to identify up to 5% of their student population for Gifted and Talented instruction.  Additionally, schools are permitted to identify up to  5% in visual arts and music combined. 


Dismissal and Appeals Process

When a student is identified as Gifted and Talented, they do not automatically carry that distinction with them until graduation.  Each student who is identified will be reviewed every three years to establish whether or not they should continue to receive services.  In cases where a student is not showing adequate growth, is unable to accomplish work, or wishes to part ways with the Gifted and Talented Program for some reason, she or he may be dismissed.  The criteria for this re-identification is the same as that for original identification:  one piece of subjective evidence and two pieces of objective evidence. 

If any stakeholder (parent, teacher, student, administrator) disagrees with the dismissal of a student from the GT program, she or he can make an appeal.  The appeals process is initiated by sending a letter directly to Assistant Superintendent Judy Harvey stating the nature of your disagreement with the decision.  Ms. Harvey and the GT staff will address the question(s) in the letter and will look for evidence of student work/achievement  for all parties to analyze.  Depending on the results of the analysis, the student may or may not be re-admitted into the program. 


If you have any questions, comments or concerns I can be reached at lkovacs@rsu1.org.