73 Harlow Street
Bangor, ME 04401
Since the full adoption of the Gifted & Talented (G/T) Program requirements by the Maine Department of Education in 1991, the Bangor School Department has been a leader in the G/T programming across Maine.
Bangor opts for “exceptional need” programming at the early primary level; for students whose academic development extends two years or more beyond their grade peers, consideration is given to the strategies (cross-grade groupings, specialized materials, small group tutorial support) that will most appropriately continue to accelerate the individual student. Such decisions are a collaborative effort of the classroom teacher, the building principal, the Director of G/T, and the parent(s).
Formal screening, identification as Gifted and Talented and recommended programming options take place in the spring of the third grade year. All students take the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (8th Edition), and these data are coupled with other objective (BSD curriculum) and qualitative (student learning characteristics screening) data to determine G/T identification in the area of General Intellectual Ability, which remains through grade 8. Grade 3 also marks the beginning of the identification process for visual art and voice. At grades 5 and 8, GT instruction for band and strings are added. Protocols for identifying a student as G/T in the arts are a similar combination of objective (curriculum products, portfolio/audition) and subjective (characteristics screening / nominating statement) measures taking place at the school transition grades (3,5,8) with identified students participating in a differentiated instructional program through the grade span following initial identification.
Bangor believes in an accelerated group instructional model beginning in grade 4 at Fairmount School and Mary Snow School. Under this model, both G/T-identified as well as non-identified students can elect to participate in Accelerated Language Arts and Accelerated mathematics, classes that meet daily during each school’s instructional blocks. In addition to students who are identified through the G/T screening process, the class is designed and paced for students with high levels of ability, achievement, interest, and independence in the content area(s). Both courses are designed to cover three years of content area standards in two years. G/T endorsed teachers instruct the courses and also serve as coordinators, offering their instructional expertise to classroom teachers and monitoring student progress.
Beginning in grade 6 and continuing through grade 9, G/T identification focuses on Specific Academic Aptitude, with student performance on national and state assessments along with grades serving as the primary factors in G/T identification. Similarly, the instructional model expands with offerings of accelerated courses in science and social studies at the two middle schools and a wide array of Honors and AP course offerings at Bangor High School.
One indicator of Bangor’s strong G/T program is the scope of the Advanced Placement (AP) Program at Bangor High School which, in many ways, is viewed as the culminating experience for students in an achievement-driven school system. Bangor High School offers 20 AP courses with 30 sections, and 2015 AP Examination data reveals that nearly 90% of course participants opted to take the exam in their course(s). In addition to participating in high numbers, the AP scholars at Bangor High School consistently outperform their state peers and many earn college credit for scoring 3, 4 and 5 on AP examinations. In fact, 81% of Bangor High School students who took an AP exam scored 3 or higher compared to 60% for Maine students according to 2015 results. It is the belief of the Bangor School Department that AP courses appropriately meet the needs of G/T students as they manage high-level content and build college-readiness skills.