Over the years, many names have been tried out for the gifted program at Riverside. GATE (Gifted And Talented Education), GEAR (Gifted Education At Riverside), and ELP (Extended Learning Program) have all been considered but none of them have stuck like TAG (Talented And Gifted.) This year, however, the program will be known as HAL.
HAL stands for High Ability Learners. This name better reflects the students being served in the Riverside program as the school incorporates a talent development model. “Talend development focuses on the whole child and recognizes that providing appropriate opportunities for learning and achievement enhances psychological health. Gifted children can have special psychological needs due to a mismatch between their abilities and propensities and available environmental supports.” That is from the National Association for Gifted Children position statement, November 2, 2015.
Local norms are used for placement rather than comparing students to statewide or national norms. Without state-level standardized assessment scores due to COVID-19, data gathering looks a bit different than in previous years, but literacy and math achievement, as well as higher-order thinking skills and creative thinking skills demonstrated in the classroom, are all considered, as well as motivation to learn.
Riverside HAL program currently has 85 students on the roster, with 51 of those currently being served in a once-weekly pullout program centering around independent interest-based projects ranging from dolphins to the scientific method, binary numbers to entrepreneurship. They will be utilizing technology tools and communicating with experts in the community or through services like Skype-a-Scientist.
Those not in pull-out groups still have needs met through accelerated class choices, extracurricular activities, and monthly check-ins from the HAL coordinator--Mrs. Bonnie Kramer.