TAG at North Star
Testing for TAG
As soon as school begins, testing begins for those students recommended for the TAG program. Previous-year teachers, current teachers, and parents can request consideration for students who appear qualified for the program. Placement is based on more than test scores - students must be talented academically, but also maintain exemplary behavior and demonstrate dedication to additional tasks of learning and creating beyond the basic curriculum.
TAG groups meet at various times through out the week for about an hour. TAG students are expected to maintain all classroom requirements while attending TAG groups.
The Talented and Gifted Program at North Star Elementary
At North Star, all of our students are stars. Our faculty strives to differentiate the expectations for all students, based on the talents of each student. Everyday in every classroom, students who require more challenge have many opportunities to work above basic expectations.
Students in certain grades participate in Enrichment classes as part of the "specials" rotation. This enrichment class forms the first tier of our TAG program. During Enrichment class, students are introduced to topics that enhance the classroom/grade curriculum. Students discuss ideas in economics, problem-solving, presentation skills, creative habits, and topics such as “today in history.” As students demonstrate interest in certain topics, they may choose to delve further and can opt to complete additional assignments.
Some students in third through fifth grades can be chosen to participate in our talented and gifted program, referred to as the TAG program. These Shining Stars are students who can qualify for this tier of the program after careful consideration of the following criteria:
- Standardized test scores
- Additional gifted screening tests (OLSAT)
- Behavioral inventory
- Report card grades
- Previous teacher recommendation
- Current teacher nomination
- Parent nomination and permission to test
- Optional self nomination
- Optional peer nomination
Nominations are accepted early in the school year and testing begins in the fall as well. Special situations can occur which allow for students to be tested and admitted to TAG at any time during the school year. When a student’s TAG nomination file is complete, the school placement committee makes the determination upon which placement in the TAG program is made. Parents/guardians must formally give written permission for the student to participate in this tier of the TAG program.
Many projects and activities compose the TAG program at North Star. Projects are designed to add another layer of challenge to the existing curriculum. Examples of projects completed in the past include:
- a geographical study of landforms, climate, and population of a country (in conjunction with the third grade cultures of the world unit)
- a study of seed dispersal (fourth grade science unit on life structures)
- a written journal from the time of the American pioneers created from the point of view of a prairie dog or a buffalo (fifth grade social studies unit)
Shining Stars are given choices in their investigations and in their methods of reporting on their findings. Creative habits are taught and implemented in every aspect of these projects. Students investigate learning styles and begin to try out different ways of thinking about their learning. Because the topics in this TAG tier relate directly to the curriculum, this part of TAG is often referred to as the “push-in” program, pushing into the curriculum.
A few students who have exceptionally high test scores, grades and consistent task commitment are invited to participate in an additional, separate class meeting of TAG students. These students come together, often in a mixed-age group, to share their special interests, talents, and to share concerns and issues related to being gifted. This group selects additional independent assignments and is expected to perform consistently as higher-level thinkers creating outstanding products. This portion of TAG is often referred to as the “pull-out” group, as we pull them out of the standard curriculum and offer choices of investigations.
All students in the North Star TAG program are expected to be self-sufficient in keeping up with classroom assignments as well as their TAG projects. They must be responsible in keeping track of the times for their TAG class meetings. In every aspect of the work they do, TAG students are expected to demonstrate the following:
- Task commitment
- Strong academic ability
All three aspects of the program are evaluated by the TAG teacher, and student self-evaluation reflects upon these aspects at the conclusion of every task. To stretch thinking skills and learn how to solve problems, TAG students are given many opportunities to work on quick puzzles and problems in their weekly TAG class meetings.
Students and parents have the option to withdraw or step out of the program temporarily at any time with written notice to the TAG teacher. Classroom teachers may request a review and/or re-evaluation of a student’s placement at any time. If a student receives a grade lower than a B on any report card, the student must be placed out of TAG until the grade is improved. Because task commitment is vital to success in the TAG program, any lack of effort or infrequent attendance can be grounds for out-placement.
Through the three tiers of our TAG program, North Star strives to meet the needs of all students. We challenge and nurture our outstanding thinkers through Enrichment class for all. We provide two additional tiers of TAG for those who qualify; with the full TAG group for extending the curriculum with extra challenges and lunchtime groups for additional opportunities for those who can benefit from the extra rigor of individually designed projects or certain special-interest activities.
Additional information regarding tests and placement in TAG can be directed to Mrs. Becker, the Talented and Gifted teacher.