The Stretch Program
Damian LaCroix, Superintendent and member of Futures Council 21, states, "We can't educate today's students for tomorrow's world with yesterday's schools." In the Flemington-Raritan Schools, the Stretch program strives to prepare students for a future that has yet to be clearly defined. As such, our students need to develop the essential skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving and perseverance.
Gifted learners possess the capacity for high achievement in intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or specific academic fields (No Child Left Behind, 2002). They require flexible instruction that nurtures the development of their strengths and talents and that meets their academic, social, and emotional needs. Gifted programs enable gifted learners to make continuous progress in school (National Association for Gifted Children, 2015).
The Flemington-Raritan Stretch Program supports the specific needs of gifted children. We support all learners in kindergarten through 4th-grade classrooms by offering professional development for teachers and push-in enrichment activities and book clubs for students. In the push-in model, each school's Gifted Specialist conducts enrichment lessons within the classroom setting, thus, exposing all learners to enrichment opportunities. Then, in grades 3-8, the Stretch program also offers a specialized program beyond the push-in lessons. The Stretch replacement program (grades 3-8 only) is intended to allow students time to explore, create, and discover by offering an enrichment curriculum beyond the core classroom.
The goals of the program are as follows:
- To teach students to become masters of their own learning through reflection and metacognition;
- To teach students to become problem solvers who take risks and challenge themselves;
- To become responsible digital citizens who are producers as well as consumers of information;
- To teach students to communicate in a variety of multimedia forms;
- To provide a novel, challenging curriculum that includes higher-order thinking skills;
- To provide students with the opportunity to explore topics in great detail, research a topic, create a product, and present and discuss the product over several curriculum areas;
- To provide students with the opportunity to learn in an interdisciplinary context;
- To teach students that mistakes are a part of learning;
- To provide students with a place to “belong”;
- To foster a positive attitude about school;
- To build students’ self-confidence;
- To help students understand their learning differences.
In February of every year, the formal process for identifying potentially gifted learners begins for students in Grades 2-7.
- Students in 2nd grade can be nominated by their parents and/or teachers. All nominees will be offered the opportunity to take the CogAT screener assessment.
- Students in 3rd and 5th grades are all screened for giftedness and participate in CogAT testing.
- Students in 4th, 6th, and 7th grades can be nominated by their parents and/or teachers but must meet the District's minimum criteria.
The district uses multiple criteria for entry into the Stretch program. The following assessments are used as part of the identification process:
- the CogAT assessment
- the SAGES-3 assessment (language arts/social studies and the two reasoning assessments)
- the NJSLA and/or NWEA MAP assessment results (students must score in the "exceeding expectations" range)
- Renzulli Scales - (scales for rating the behavioral characteristics of superior students)
For more information about the Stretch program or entrance criteria, please contact your school's gifted specialist:
Barley Sheaf School
Copper Hill School
Francis A. Desmares School
Leigh Anne Cascio
Robert Hunter School
Reading-Fleming Intermediate School
JP Case Middle School
Supervisor for Stretch Program
Dr. Michelle Cook