Bay Head School educators have been differentiating instruction for years: assessing and evaluating students and using that data to offer individualized instruction. Typically this has involved the creation of 3 leveled groups during small group instruction of Language Arts in K-5: below grade level, on grade level, and advanced learners.
Our school’s Advanced Academics & Enrichment program allows for even more targeted instruction in Language Arts, and an opportunity for all students to reach their fullest potential. Participating students can develop meaningful enrichment experiences that focus on their strengths beyond general education classroom content, using an interdisciplinary approach. While our current program is Language Arts-based, the long term goal is to expand the program into other subjects, as well.
Below are some frequently asked questions about AA&E. If you have a question you don't see addressed, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (732) 892-0668
Why AA&E and not "Gifted Education?"
The goal of the AA&E program is to identify students who would most fully benefit from individualized instructional opportunities outside their general ed classroom. The goal is not simply to identify students who fit the criteria of being "gifted." Many educators operate under the belief that all students are gifted in various ways and address this in the general ed classroom through differentiated instruction. Our school's specific AA&E program is most ideal for students whose needs, in comparison to their grade level peers, are in a different skill level in Language Arts or Math: so-much-so that a separate setting would most suitably address their academic needs. Children who do not participate in AA&E should not be considered “not gifted:” their needs are being met in the general education classroom by a teacher who recognizes their gifts and talents. (see "Thoughts" tab for more on this)
How are students identified as being candidates for the program?
Research shows that multiple measures of assessment- both informal and formal- should be collected and examined. For our program, these measurements include Developmental Reading Assessments, standardized test scores, teacher feedback, subject grade point average and/or work samples. No one factor (eg teacher recommendation or a high score on the PARCC) can determine whether a student can benefit from the special education services offered in AA&E. There is no minimum “score” to qualify for services, as it varies based on the levels of instruction offered in the general ed classroom. Please see the ID AA&E (Identification of AA&E) tab on this website for more! Because the AAE program is Language Arts based, the identification criteria is also Language Arts based.
How does NJ Administrative Code define a student who is gifted?
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.
Where does AA&E take place and who teaches it?
AA&E takes place in Ms. Meyer's classroom located near the cafeteria, formerly the computer lab. Ms. Meyer has taught a variety of ages and subjects over the last 21 years and in December 2018 received certification at Rutgers in "Teacher of the Gifted."
Who serves on the school's AA&E committee?
Mr. Camardo, Ms. Wills, Ms. Kiss, Mrs. Fallivene, Ms. Meyer
How often will identified students attend AA&E?
Students will attend twice a week: one session will address the advancement of their academic studies and the other session will provide an opportunity for enrichment. Advanced Academics may involve reading instruction at a student's exact DRA instructional level or more in-depth coverage of skills and concepts. Enrichment includes project-based learning (PBL) STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) activities. See "links" section for more on PBL.
Will AA&E students be responsible for work they miss in the general ed classroom?
AA&E students are not responsible for work (centers, stations, assignments) they miss during their classroom's small group instruction time.
Is it fair that my child goes to AA&E and another does not?
Meeting the needs of all our learners is a high priority. Needs are not the same, and services are varied for each learner. As the adage goes, "fair" does not mean "the same." Additionally, all K-5 classrooms experience the Enrichment component by participating in PEP (Pupil Enrichment Program). PEP is a whole group version of the PBL-STEAM (Project Based Learning -Science Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) enrichment activities offered during AA&E, and are offered to all students in grades K-5 once a week, similar to Art or Music.
Is AA&E the same as special education services?
Many people are surprised to learn that gifted education is listed as one category under special education services. Currently in NJ there are no requirements for IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) related to gifted learners. However, the state does require that schools provide appropriate educational services for gifted and talented students in grades K-12. It may also be surprising to note that students can also be "twice exceptional." Twice exceptional, or "2-E," refers to students who receive special education services in more than one area. For example, a student may have an IEP for dyslexia, and may also be identified as gifted.
Is this AA&E program similar to any other schools?
The format of our AA&E program was created in collaboration with professors and fellow graduate students at Rutgers University. Additionally, the administration at Antrim School and Mrs. Kimberly Hoffman, the Gifted Education Teacher, generously shared their experiences in beginning a similar program in their district.
My child is in AA&E this year. Will they automatically be in it next year?
No. Identification will take place yearly, as identification depends largely on examining data related to peer performance and what level of instruction is being offered in the general ed classroom. Rates of progress of students and their peers also play a factor.
My child is in AA&E this year. Does this mean he/she is in it all year long?
Students can exit the program for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, parental request or teacher recommendation.
How will I know what/how my child is doing in AA&E?
Anecdotal progress reports will be sent home each marking period.