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Identification and Programming for "Talent Pool" and "Chapter 104" Students

As part of a Schoolwide Enrichment model, RSU #34 recognizes that both "Talent Pool" and "Chapter 104" identified students may need to access supports and services to develop and fully grow their skills and talents.

Identification

Students are identified as part of the "Talent Pool" or for "Chapter 104" services by an identification committee consisting of the school's Chapter 104 Resource teacher, other school staff, and the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Students may be referred for consideration for "Talent Pool" or "Chapter 104" services by anyone, at any time. The referral may come from staff, parents, community members, self-referral, or a peer referral. The identification committee meets annually and also on an "as needed" basis throughout the year. All students in RSU #34 are screened annually for services.

Referral forms are available from any Chapter 104 staff member upon request. Due to copyright laws, we are unable to make the referral forms available online.

The committee considers all available information to determine whether a student should be considered for identification in one or more areas. Information considered usually includes assessment data, student profiles, statements by parents and teachers, characteristics rating scales, and results from the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) administered during students' 3rd grade year.

Identification as "Talent-Pool"

The "Talent Pool" includes students who often need different lessons or activities than their age peers. Common characteristics include high ability, academic success, quick mastery and recall of information, early reading ability, and consistently scoring in the 92nd or above percentile in one or more areas. Our program includes focused curriculum development to create lessons that meet the needs of this population, while studying topics similar to their age peers.

"Talent Pool" identification may happen in all grades (K-12), while "Chapter 104" identification will occur in grades 3-12. Research shows that identifying very young students as "gifted and talented" often proves to be inaccurate later. Early learning opportunities and nurturing activities (preschool, story time, enriching toys, etc.) heavily influence children's performance in early grades, leading to some cases of over-identification of students as "gifted and talented."

Identification as "Chapter 104"

We identify some students for Chapter 104 services when it has become clear to staff that their needs are so exceptional that their educational needs to be carefully and individually monitored for appropriate challenge and support. There is no single “picture” of a gifted learner, but exceptionally quick mastery (often mastering a new skill with 1-2 repetitions), exceptional recall of information, exceptional abstract thinking ability, consistent scoring in the 97th or above percentile, etc. are common characteristics. Historically speaking, many programs nationwide required tested IQ above 130 for admission.

If a parent or student disagrees with the identification committee's decision, they may elect to appeal that decision to the Superintendent. A "blind" process is used in identification (e.g., Student A, Student B, etc.) to reduce possible influence of bias.

Programming

If it is determined that a student should access Chapter 104 services as part of their educational programming, that child will be provided with services and support which is to be determined on an individual basis. The school's Chapter 104 Resource Teacher leads this process with the support of an advisory committee.

Talent Pool and Chapter 104 Advisory Committee

The staff responsible for programming will be advised annually by the “Gifted and Talented Advisory Committee." The committee includes:

  • An administrator representing each grade span
  • RSU #34's Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • A School Board member
  • A teacher representing each grade span
  • Parents of 1-3 students in RSU #34
  • A student

Discussion topics will include:

  • The process of identifying Gifted and Talented students
  • Programming
  • Use of community resources
  • Professional development
  • Staffing
  • Goal-setting for the next year

Although programming is individualized for each student, RSU #34 offers several popular programming opportunities for high-ability and high-achieving students. In addition to mentoring, flexible groupings, and differentiation strategies we also offer advanced courses at both the middle and high school level. In addition to the specially trained Chapter 104 Resource Teachers, a growing number of classroom teachers in RSU #34 have earned certification in gifted and talented education to gain understanding of student needs and use research-supported strategies. 

At Old Town High School, there are two diploma programs students can achieve beyond traditional diploma requirements (these programs are not restricted to Chapter 104 students).

OTHS Honors Diploma Program

OTHS STEM Leaders Diploma Program