Gifted and Talented Students
At Torah Day School, we recognize that gifted and talented students are part of the special needs population, and we strive to challenge them appropriately. Approximately one-third of our student body is eligible for talent search programs based on their standardized test scores.
Our Academic Dean, Dr. Chana Ruderman, has a master’s degree in gifted and talented education, and works with teachers to meet the needs of these students in various ways, including the following:
- Our primary aim is to make sure that the student’s regular courses offer an appropriate level of challenge. Research shows that intermittent pull-out programs, while often exciting, are not the most important way to address a gifted child’s needs. Teachers are asked to differentiate with learning contracts, special projects, and small group work on challenge materials.
- We have an open-minded attitude toward grade acceleration, and follow an identified process to make these decisions. Single-subject acceleration, particularly in math, is another path that we sometimes choose for a particularly advanced student.
- TDSD’s resource coordinator is a certified Gifted and Talented instructor, and will be doing a pilot program in targeted lower grade classes this year that will offer identified students the opportunity to apply higher order thinking skills toward projects that interest them.
- At the middle school level:
- TDSD is proud to be part of the widely-acclaimed Excellence 2000 program sponsored by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE). We offer this weekly pull-out program, which focuses on math and science, to gifted and talented students in grades 6 and 7. Teachers here received training in New York and in Israel in the special methods used to stimulate student thinking skills in these important subject areas.
- In partnership with the Avichai foundation, we are able to offer opportunities for accelerated math in a blended learning environment for certain middle school classes. We expect to expand this program to include all of our middle school over the coming years.