GRO Program

About GRO Program

 

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Schools gifted program is called Gifted Reach Out or GRO.  It serves the identified population of gifted students in grades one through five.  This enrichment pullout program offers students the chance to interact with peers of similar ability, while remaining a part of the regular classroom setting.

 

Multiple criteria are used to identify gifted students for GRO.  Two tests of academic ability, a classroom teacher evaluation, and a parent evaluation complete each child’s assessment.  Acceptance is conditional and contingent upon completion of program goals and objectives.

 

Once admitted into the program, the students meet with the GRO teacher for small group instruction.  These groups provide the opportunity for the gifted child to interact with, stimulate and be stimulated by his/her peers, while enjoying individual or small group attention.

 

Students meet with the GRO teacher for ninety minutes per week, usually divided into two forty-five minute periods.  The interdisciplinary, differentiated curriculum for the students in GRO is intended to be high interest, while at the same time enhancing the present core curriculum.  Issues arising from the units are relevant to our times, expose students to new subjects and broaden student interests.  Activities are adjusted in pace and depth to meet the needs of the children in each group.

 

GRO encourages independent learning, research, and individual product development.  Creative problem solving and critical thinking skills are stressed.  Students are challenged to become consumers and producers of knowledge. 

 

Progress reports are sent home after each of the core units.  Literature from various organizations serving the gifted can be found on the Internet.  Parents are encouraged to join Parents of Gifted and Talented, known as PGT.  PGT is an organization dedicated to the special needs of children enrolled in GRO.

 

GRO is a special program dedicated to nurturing and supporting the unique gifts and talents of our highly capable students in the Parsippany-Troy Hills elementary schools.

 

Curriculum evaluation and revision are ongoing, as the team of GRO teachers make consistent efforts to deliver a quality program.  Any questions concerning GRO should be directed to your school’s GRO teacher.

 

 

 

Qualities of a Potentially Gifted Child

 

Bright Child

Gifted Learner

Knows the answers

Asks the questions

Is interested

Is highly curious

Is attentive

Is mentally and physically involved

Has good ideas

Has wild, silly ideas

Works hard

Plays around, yet tests well

Answers the questions

Discusses in detail, elaborates

Top group

Beyond the group

Listens with interest

Shows strong feelings and opinions

Learns with ease

Already knows

6-8 repetitions for mastery

1-2 repetitions for mastery

Understands ideas

Constructs abstractions

Enjoys peers

Prefers adults

Grasps the meaning

Draws inferences

Completes assignments

Initiates projects

Is receptive

Is intense

Copies accurately

Creates a new design

Enjoys school

Enjoys learning

Absorbs information

Manipulates information

Technician

Inventor

Good memorizer

Good guesser

Enjoys straightforward, sequential presentations

Thrives on complexity

Is alert

Is keenly observant

Is pleased with own learning

Is highly self-critical

 

 

GRO Curriculum Units 2013 - 2014

 

Grade

Subject

Unit Dates

Grade 1

Explorations

Jan- May

Grade 2

Medieval Times

Sept - Dec

Grade 2

Math Challenges

Jan - May

Grade 3

Architecture

Inventions

Sept - Dec

Jan - May

Grade 4

Shakespeare & Dramatics

Sep - Dec

 

GRO Investigators (GIs)

Jan - May

Grade 5

Archaeology

Sep - Dec

 

The Brain

Jan - May

 

December: Testing qualified students new to district and grade 1

June: Testing qualified students in grades 1-4

 

GRO Teachers (2012 – 2013)

 

Teacher

School

When

Janet Armstrong

Rockaway Meadow School

Thursday & Friday

 

Intervale School

Monday, Tuesday & Wed morning

Jeffrey Bourlier

Northvail School

Monday, Tuesday &  Wed morning

 

Lake Hiawatha School

Thursday and Friday

Laura Long

Knollwood School

Monday,  Tuesday & Thurs afternoon

 

Troy Hills School

Wed morning, Thurs morning, and Friday

Terry Murphy

Littleton School

All week days

Stephanie Dasti

Lake Parsippany School

Mon afternoon, Tues morning, Fri morning

 

Eastlake

Wednesday and Thursday morning

 

Mount Tabor (5th Grade only)

Monday morning and Thursday afternoon

Madeline Brown

Mount Tabor (1st ñ 4th Graders)

Monday, Tuesday &, Wed  morning

 

 

 

Board of Education Policy regarding GRO

 

The Parsippany Troy Hills Township Schools gifted program is called Gifted Reach Out or GRO. It serves the identified population of gifted students in grades one through five. This enrichment pullout program offers students the chance to interact with peers of similar ability, while remaining a part of the regular classroom setting.

 

Multiple criteria are used to identify gifted students for GRO. Two tests of academic ability, a classroom teacher evaluation, and a parent evaluation complete each child’s assessment. Student work folders, portfolios, and standardized test scores are also examined. Acceptance is conditional and contingent upon completion of program goals and objectives.

 

Once admitted into the program, the students meet with the GRO teacher for small group instruction. These groups provide the opportunity for the gifted child to interact with, stimulate and be stimulated by her/his peers, while enjoying individual or small group attention. Students meet with the GRO teacher for ninety minutes per week, usually divided into two forty-five minute periods. The interdisciplinary, differentiated curriculum for the students in GRO is intended to be high interest, while at the same time enhancing the present core curriculum. Issues arising from the units are relevant to our times, expose students to new subjects, and broaden student interests. Activities are adjusted in pace and depth to meet the needs of the children in each group.

 

GRO encourages independent learning, research, and individual product development. Creative problem solving and critical thinking skills are stressed. Students are challenged to become consumers and producers of knowledge. GRO is a special program dedicated to nurturing and supporting the unique gifts and talents of our highly capable students in the Parsippany-Troy Hills elementary schools. Progress reports are sent home after each of the core units.

 

Parents are encouraged to join Parents of Gifted and Talented, known as PGT. PGT is an organization dedicated to the special needs of children enrolled in GRO. Literature from various organizations serving the gifted can be found at the PGT meetings.

 

Curriculum evaluation and revision are ongoing, as the team of GRO teachers make consistent efforts to deliver a quality program. Any questions concerning GRO should be directed to your school’s GRO teacher.

 

The Issue of Students in the Gifted Program who miss class Work

 

The underlying attitude in dealing with the issues related to children in the gifted program and who miss regular class work is one of professional discretion. When addressing the issue, the following should be considered:

 

  1. If the class work is basically a “practice” activity (repetition of skills which were taught previously), and if the student has demonstrated skills associated with the activity, the student need not make up the work.

 

  1. If the class work is preparatory (activities associated with a lesson to be taught the following day), the student should be expected to do the assignment. However, the teacher needs to convey the purpose of the assignment to the student and make adjustments according to the child’s needs.

 

  1. Pertinent aspects of the work should be reviewed during one-to-one conferences between the student and teacher.

 

  1. A buddy system should be employed to bring the gifted child up to date as to what went on during the time she/he was out of class.

 

  1. Students have a responsibility to check assignments with the teacher before or after each gifted and talented class.

 

  1. The student should be involved in the decision at to whether she/he needs to make up the missed work.

 

  1. If the classroom work is part of an extended assignment or integrated activity, the student should be expected to complete the activities according to an announced timeline. Most certainly, if the work is part of a collaborative effort, the student should be doing his/her assignment as his/her fair share of the group project.

 

  1. If it is ascertained that the student has an extraordinary amount of homework, the work the student needs to make up should be adjusted accordingly, or the time for completion of the work extended.

As much as possible, the fear of negative consequences should not dominate the issue. Since children differ as to their ability to learn, teachers should employ differentiated makeup assignments as a way to have students realize that, indeed, the teacher has individualized instruction. All class work has a purpose. However, when dealing with a particular student, the missed class work can take on all the aspects of an individual prescription, which is adjusted according to the academic skills of an individual student.

Board Policy 6081

Adopted: 3/14/91

 

Frequently asked questions by Parents of Gifted Reach Out (GRO) students:

 

Q:            Are children retested each year?

A:             No, once a child is identified, retesting is not necessary.

 

Q:          Can a child be removed from GRO?

A:             Yes, a child can be removed from GRO if he/she does not fulfill the requirements for both the program and their classroom teacher.

 

Q:            What happens when the GRO student misses work in the classroom?

A:             There should be a system developed by the teacher to tell the GRO student(s) what they have missed.  If the student has mastered the subject area, repetition is not necessary.

 

Q:            How involved should a parent get in their child’s project?

A:             Parents should provide materials, escort child to the library and/or museums, encourage creativity, help with necessary Internet research, supervise and assist with the completion of the project, check folder/binder regularly for ongoing communication, and remind students of dates and deadlines.

 

Q:            Is there homework for GRO?

A:             Other than the unit project, most work and activities are done in school.  Because of time constraints, there may be work that needs to be finished at home, along with reading and project related work. 

 

Q:            How many students are in a GRO class?

A:             GRO class consists of small groups that may vary depending on the number of students and needs of the grade level in addition to the school’s master schedule.

 

Q:            Do you combine grade levels?

A:             Sometimes GRO classes are multi-aged to help facilitate discussion and meaningful interaction.

 

Q:            What kind of enrichment activities can we do at home and where can we get them?

A:             Enrichment activities can include brainteasers, logic puzzles, thinking games, word games, etc.  These are available at libraries, bookstores, online, and catalogues.  Several colleges and gifted organizations offer Saturday and summer classes.  These are usually advertised on the PGT website. Family trips to museums and cultural events are also beneficial.

 

Q:            Are there Parent-Teacher conferences for GRO?

A:             We do not schedule conferences during the regular school schedule.  However, we are available during those times if needed.  We will conference at any time during the year – we are just a phone call or e-mail away.

 

Q:            Where do the GRO units come from?

A:             All of our units are researched, developed, and written by the GRO teachers prior to Board approval.  We also review, evaluate and revise each unit at its completion.  This is an ongoing process to keep our units current and relevant.

 

 

Q:            Are all GRO teachers teaching the units in the same way?

A:             Not necessarily. Each school’s individual schedules vary which include many activities and assemblies that might disrupt the GRO schedule. Therefore, time lines will be different depending on many school related factors and scheduled days off from school.  In addition, as talented and gifted as our GRO teachers are, their approach to teaching varies.  Our journey can be somewhat different, but our destination remains the same.

 

Q:            What is the policy regarding my child attending all GRO classes?

A:             GRO students are required on a State and Federal level to attend all scheduled GRO classes to ensure they are receiving the challenges provided by the GRO program.

 

Q:            How are GRO Field trips handled regarding transportation and costs?

A:             District busses are usually used to transport the children.  If the field trip is at the PAL building on Baldwin Rd., parents may be requested to arrange transportation before the start of school and end of school day.  Additionally, parents may be asked to contribute money toward field trips to help defray costs.