Students Accelerated in Learning - SAIL

Presented at Board Meeting of June 6, 2018

See the following information presented as a PDF.

Presentation Goals

  • Describe the difference between highly able students and gifted and talented students
  • Explain New Jersey's statutes relative to gifted and talented education
    • SAIL: Name for Montclair's gifted and talented (G&T) program
  • Outline the SAIL Steering Committee's work since October of 2017
  • Describe the proposed identification and program considerations for 2018-2019 school year and beyond

The following was presented by our Gifted and Talented Consultant, Dr. Lenore Cortina of Rutgers University.

Academic Characteristics of Gifted Learners

  • Rapid Learners
  • Highly Curious
  • Advanced Readers and Writers
  • Many Interests
  • Abstract & Complex Thinkers

Social & Emotional Characteristics

  • Asynchronous Development
  • Over-Excitabilities
  • Expectations of Idealism/Justice
  • Multipotentiality

A Bright Child …

  • Knows the answers
  • Shows interest in topics
  • Has good ideas
  • Works hard
  • Top group
  • Learns with ease
  • 6-8 repetitions for mastery
  • Understands ideas
  • Absorbs information
  • Copies accurately
  • Enjoys school
    Good memorizer

A Gifted Learner …

  • Asks the questions
  • Is highly curious
  • Has divergent, sometimes wild ideas
  • May not have to work hard to test well
  • BEYOND the group
  • Already knows
  • 1-2 repetitions for mastery
  • Constructs abstractions
  • Manipulates information
  • Creates a new design
  • Enjoys learning
  • Inventor
  • Keenly observant
  • Good thinker

Provide advanced learning opportunities for those who need it, when they need it… (Curriculum)


  • Board approved G&T program
  • Ongoing K-12 identification process including multiple measures; compared to local peers, developmentally appropriate, non-discriminatory and related to programs/services
  • Appropriate K-12 services; appropriate curricular and instructional modifications addressing content, process, products and learning environment
  • Consider K-12 gifted program standards – NAGC

NJDOE Definition of Gifted Children

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.

*Montclair, West Orange, Paterson

Our Journey to This Moment

  • Shifts in one essential measure used to make an objective assessment of students' readiness for SAIL programming
  • Change in Central Office leadership
  • Convened a SAIL Steering Committee in October 2017. The Committee members who were available attended the Rutgers University Gifted and Talented Conference in November 2017
  • SAIL Steering Committee met regularly until June 1, 2018
    • Intentional Decisions
      • No cognitive/ability assessment as universal screener (although this is a standard practice)
      • Use of a writing assessment as a prerequisite for grade 6-8 English Language Arts identification

SAIL Identification

English Language Arts (ELA)

  • K-2 = Renzulli Scales (Learning Motivation & Reading) + DRA Level + Average ELA Grade
  • 3-5 = Renzulli Scales (Learning Motivation & Reading) + STAR Reading (RL Percentile Rank) + Average ELA Grade
  • 6-8 = Renzulli Scales (Learning Motivation & Communication) + STAR Reading (RL Percentile Rank) + Average GPA in ELA + District Writing Sample Score


  • K-2 = Renzulli Scales (Learning Motivation & Math) + enVisions Math Score
  • 3-5 = Renzulli Scales (Learning Motivation & Math) + STAR Math (RL Percentile Rank) + Average Math Grade
  • 6-8 = Renzulli Scales (Learning Motivation & Math) + Average GPA in Math + Math Placement

SAIL Services


  • SAIL toolkit (created internally by district teachers)
  • Differentiated materials (purchased centrally for teachers)

Delivery of services:

  • Differentiated instruction in the classroom
  • Cluster grouping instruction in the classroom


  • SAIL toolkit (created internally by district teachers)
  • Differentiated materials (purchased centrally for teachers)

Delivery of services:

  • Differentiated instruction in the classroom
  • Cluster grouping instruction in the classroom
  • Exploring personalized learning opportunities

SAIL Implementation Timeline

  • November 2018: Identification (K-5)
  • January 2019: Services (K-5)
  • April 2019: Identification (6-8)
  • September 2019: Services (6-8)

Stakeholder Voice

  • For the month of June, 2018, solicit feedback from advisor administrators.
  • For the month of July, 2018, the PowerPoint and draft SAIL handbook will be posted on the district's website for review.
  • The SAIL Steering Committee will reconvene in August 2018 to review feedback and incorporate feedback as deemed appropriate.
  • Repost the final SAIL handbook on the district's website for all in September 2018.
  • Hold SAIL stakeholder engagement meetings (teachers and parents/guardians of identified SAIL students). This work will convene after the identification of students.

Next Steps and Considerations

  • Finalize selection of differentiation materials to support the teachers and students. Create SAIL toolkit.
  • Incorporate feedback, as appropriate, into the final SAIL work.
  • Work with the Board Policy Committee to revise policy.
  • Provide ongoing staff professional development.
  • Continue to engage stakeholders.

Dr. Kendra V. Johnson, Superintendent
Dr. Lenore Cortina, Gifted and Talented Consultant

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