Talented and Gifted – TAG

About Us

photo of two female elementary students

TAG Services Goal

The general goal of TAG services is to provide a differentiated educational experience for gifted and talented students in the district.

The Round Rock ISD Programs for Talented and Gifted (TAG) students provide instructional opportunities and other services designed to meet the unique needs of students with significantly advanced general intellectual ability and/or specific subject matter aptitude in language arts, science, social studies and/or mathematics. These programs shall provide an appropriately differentiated curriculum and ensure the students are instructed in all essential elements and demonstrate an acceptable degree of mastery. As needed, the services will modify delivery of instruction for students by accelerating and/or providing for greater depth, more complex content, and enrichment activities. TAG classes and/or services are available in kindergarten-12th grades. Teachers serving identified TAG students have met the state requirements necessary for assignment of gifted and talented students.

  • Identify students in kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) to be served in Talented and Gifted Programs.
  • Identify the abilities and needs of each gifted and talented student to provide appropriate services.
  • Implement evaluation procedures to assess student progress/performance in services and to evaluate procedures for effective services, service continuation, service refinement, and service expansion.
  • Develop and/or identify appropriate curricula, instruction, and materials to support services and student goals.
  • Provide trained professionals, teachers, administrators, and counselors on each campus with knowledge and skills necessary to provide services for the gifted and talented students and implement services for identified students.
  • Involve parents and community members in the implementation of talented and gifted services.

TAGPAC (TAG Parent Advisory Council)

The goal of the Talented and Gifted Parent Advisory Council is to assist the Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) by providing insight, support, and encouragement for the programs and services directed towards children identified as Talented and Gifted (TAG) in the district.

Campus Reps

TAGPAC Campus Representatives are parents or guardians of children identified for gifted services in Round Rock ISD. They are selected by their child’s campus TAG Selection Committee to represent the campus on the TAGPAC. Each campus may have up to three Campus Representatives.


TAGPAC Committees

All TAGPAC Campus Representatives are encouraged to serve on a TAGPAC committee. There are two TAGPAC committees: Communication and Outreach Services.


TAGPAC and Parent Events Calendar

TAGPAC and Parent Events Calendar

 

TAGPAC Executive Board

The Council is governed by an Executive Board. The Board officers include President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. TAGPAC Slate of Officers

 

Bylaws

TAGPAC Bylaws

Gifted Services

National Association for Gifted Children

In 1998, NAGC developed the Pre-K – Grade 12 Gifted Program Standards which were designed to assist school districts in examining the quality of their programming for gifted learners. The NAGC Program Standards detail a framework that include both minimum standards and exemplary standards in seven key areas: Program Design, Program Administration and Management, Student Identification, Curriculum and Instruction, Socio-Emotional Guidance and Counseling, Professional Development, and Program Evaluation. Districts throughout the United States use the standards for both evaluating and improving programs and services.

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students
State Goal for Services of Gifted Students
“Students who participate in services designed for gifted students will demonstrate skills in self-directed learning, thinking, research, and communication as evidenced by the development of innovative products and performances that reflect individuality and creativity and are advanced in relation to students of similar age, experience, or environment. High school graduates who have participated in services for gifted students will have produced products and performances of professional quality as part of their program services.”

 

RRISD School Board Policy

In the elementary grades, identified gifted students are clustered together with Talented and Gifted (TAG) trained teachers in otherwise heterogeneous classrooms. An ideal cluster is 6-8 students. The campus TAG specialist(s) works closely with the grade level cluster teachers to meet the needs of each identified child. They determine the best learning plan for him/her including aligned TEKS-based lessons which explore content in depth and with complexity. Some differentiated lessons occur in the regular classroom with the cluster teacher and/or the TAG specialist, and some occur in the TAG resource room. Opportunities exist for students to engage in independent study options that allow them to go into great detail in their areas of interest and strength. Students may also compact and accelerate through the curriculum commensurate with their abilities. Specific services may vary based on campus and student needs.

Primary Grades
At the primary level (K-2) services are primarily provided by the cluster teacher within the regular classroom with support from the TAG specialist. As time allows, enrichment activities in the TAG resource room are encouraged. In addition, kindergarten enrichment is provided which involves the TAG specialist rotating through the kinder classrooms providing at least one lesson per class per month in creative/critical thinking.

Intermediate Grades
For 3rd-5th grade math instruction, the TAG math curriculum, a combination of accelerated pacing and depth/complexity which takes the 3rd-8th grade TEKS and compacts them into 3rd-6th grade, is taught through TAG academic classes with the TAG specialist. Accompanying benchmarks for the TAG students are administered in place of regular grade level benchmarks to ensure proper delivery of the TAG curriculum occurs.

For 3rd-5th grade language arts instruction, the TAG LA Curriculum is currently under development. The delivery of this curriculum will be through TAG academic classes as much as possible, although due to staffing constraints at some campuses, the cluster teacher may need to incorporate some components of the curriculum in the cluster classroom.

Science and Social Studies
At all grade levels, science and social studies differentiation will mainly occur in the cluster classroom with the support of the TAG specialist as needed. This should also include independent study opportunities, which may be facilitated by the TAG specialist.

Affective Needs
To address the affective needs of TAG students, a social and emotional needs curriculum which includes one lesson at the end of the year for newly identified kindergarteners, four lessons for first graders, eight lessons each for second and third graders, and nine lessons each for fourth and fifth graders exists. A kit of all needed materials to deliver this curriculum exists at each campus in August and is processed through the campus librarian. The curriculum may be delivered by the campus counselor or by the TAG specialist or some combination thereof.

In regards to working with other students on campus, TAG specialists are encouraged to provide enrichment opportunities to whatever extent possible. Due to their skill set and focus, it is not advisable to utilize TAG specialists as tutors for students needing remedial assistance.

Middle School
In middle school, Talented and Gifted (TAG) courses are available using curriculum designed specifically to meet the special needs of gifted students with emphasis on modifications in content taught, processes used for learning, and student products. Students in these courses are required to complete guided as well as independent research.

Middle School TAG Courses Progression

High School
At the high school level, programs are provided for students who demonstrate talent in academic areas. These programs are designed for students who wish to delve into the disciplines in more depth and expand their understandings at a faster pace. The structure of the classroom encourages students to be more involved in the direction of their learning, and to approach their studies as though they were professionals in the field. In addition, TAG high school students may be interested in several programs including Pre-Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate (Westwood High School and Stony Point High School), Virtual High School, and Dual Enrollment. Classes are offered in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, foreign languages, art, music, and computer science. College credit may be received after participation in AP classes and successfully passing the appropriate AP exams. Select Virtual High School courses are also offered.

On an annual basis, the Campus Placement Committee will evaluate the progress and review the placement of students served by the program.

As part of the annual review process, a member of the committee or person designated by the campus principal will complete the RRISD TAG Annual Review Form.

After review of the updated data and discussion (as needed) with the student, teacher(s), counselor(s), parent(s)/guardian(s), and others regarding the progress made during the year, the Campus Placement Committee will recommend that a student proceed in the gifted program, be furloughed or be exited.

A copy of the Annual Review Form will be filed in the student’s TAG folder and one copy will be sent to the Director of Gifted and Advanced Academic Services.

Why do you give so many tests?
The Texas Education Agency requires that districts assess students using a minimum of three criteria. RRISD uses more than three because multiple indicators tell more about the different facets of students’ abilities, therefore providing more opportunities for students to meet a minimum of three criteria.

Why do we have to refer so early in the school year?
By the end of November, when referral forms are due, students will have been in school for four months; almost half of the school year. Early referral is necessary so that adequate time exists for the Screening and Placement Committee to review student files and collect needed information to initiate testing which takes place in January and early February. Testing must be scheduled then to avoid a number of end-of-the-year tests that take place in March, April, and May. Tests given in January and February are machine scored outside the district and require six weeks to process. Placement forms are then developed and Campus Screening and Placement Committees review the new data. Final determination of the student’s status is made and notices sent by the end of the school year for placement the following school year. Without early referral and testing,placement decisions could not be made until after school begins in August.

Why does the district not use TAKS/STAAR scores to determine placement?
The TAKS/STAAR test is an inappropriate measure for identification for a gifted program. TAKS/STAAR is a criterion-referenced test designed to determine if a designated, core curriculum is being taught to Texas students. As a result, the test does not look at knowledge and/or skills that are above the students’ grade levels. Identifying students for a gifted program requires determining if they are functioning significantly above grade level; something the TAKS/STAAR test does not indicate.

How many students are in the RRISD TAG program?
Currently, there are about 3,900 students, which is approximately 8% of the total district population, being served by the TAG program.

Identification for Gifted Services

Considerations:

  • Maturity of your child (especially for primary)
  • Learning style of your child (self-directed, able to handle open-ended tasks and long range planning)
  • Length of testing (especially for younger children, 6-8 hour process)
  • Nationally-normed tests scores are valid for 2 years (students may not be nominated again for 2 years)

How Do I Refer My Child for Talented and Gifted (TAG) Screening?

  • Meet with your child’s teacher to discuss student’s progress and learning style.
  • Teachers may recommend screening, but that does not guarantee that the student will demonstrate a need for program services during the screening process.
  • If you decide to refer your child for screening, complete the Referral Form in the Identification Packet during the next district-wide referral opportunity and submit it to the school office before the deadline posted (Grades K-5).

Why Do I Have to Refer So Early in the School Year?

By the end of November, when referral forms are due, students will have been in school for four months; almost half of the school year. Early referral is necessary so that adequate time exists for the Screening and Placement Committee to review student files and collect needed information to initiate testing which takes place in January and early February. Testing must be scheduled then to avoid a number of end-of-the-year tests that take place in March, April, and May. Tests given in January and February are machine scored outside the district and require six weeks to process. Placement forms are then developed and Campus Screening and Placement Committees review the new data. Final determination of the student’s status is made and notices sent by the end of the school year for placement the following school year. Without early referral and testing,placement decisions could not be made until after school begins in August.

Why do you give so many tests?
The Texas Education Agency requires that districts assess students using a minimum of three criteria. RRISD uses more than three because multiple indicators tell more about the different facets of students’ abilities, therefore providing more opportunities for students to meet a minimum of three criteria.

Why does the district not use TAKS/STAAR scores to determine placement?
The TAKS/STAAR test is an inappropriate measure for identification for a gifted program. TAKS/STAAR is a criterion-referenced test designed to determine if a designated, core curriculum is being taught to Texas students. As a result, the test does not look at knowledge and/or skills that are above the students’ grade levels. Identifying students for a gifted program requires determining if they are functioning significantly above grade level; something the TAKS/STAAR test does not indicate.

The Campus Screening and Placement Committee will be primarily responsible for the placement of transfer students. Students transferring into the district who bring written documentation of previous identification as gifted/talented in another district will be assessed within 30 school days of enrollment. If testing is declined at this time, the student may be referred during the next district-wide referral opportunity.

Written documentation from the student’s last district must be available to show the student was in an academic gifted program, not one for creativity, honors or high ability students. If that documentation includes two screening instruments comparable to RRISD screening instruments that meet district criteria, the student may be temporarily placed in the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program. Parents must approve of the temporary placement. The student must meet district criteria to be placed or remain in the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program.

After initial review of the data collected on each referred student and notification of parents/guardians by the Campus Screening and Placement Committee, a formal reconsideration may be filed (Level I, Policy FNG-Local) with the campus principal.

Formal reconsideration (Level I) may be initiated by RRISD personnel, parents/guardians, students, and/or significant others in the child’s life on behalf of students who do not initially meet qualifying criteria for the program. Formal reconsideration may be filed for the following reasons:

  • The home language of the student is not English and the student in other ways exhibits the need for Talented and Gifted (TAG) services;
  • The student has a disability, which may have impacted testing, as identified through special education ARD or 504 committees, and the student in other ways exhibits the need for Talented and Gifted (TAG) services;
  • The student qualifies on two or more of the screening measures and in other ways exhibits need(s) for Talented and Gifted (TAG) services.

A completed Talented and Gifted (TAG) Reconsideration Form, available from the campus, a letter requesting formal reconsideration, a description of the concern and evidence supporting the remedy sought must be filed with the campus principal within five (5) working days after placement recommendations have been communicated to the parent.

Within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the request for formal reconsideration, the principal shall schedule a meeting of the Campus Screening and Placement Committee. The person initiating the appeal shall appear before the committee in person and/or submit written testimony and evidence supporting the reconsideration.

Within ten (10) working days of the hearing, the Campus Screening and Placement Committee will make a decision and communicate it in writing to the person requesting the reconsideration. Should the person requesting reconsideration disagree with the Campus Screening and Placement Committee decision, a written request should be forwarded to the Superintendent within ten (10) working days following communication of the Committee’s decision (Level II). The Superintendent or designee will appoint a hearing officer.

The Level II decision may be appealed to the Board of Trustees (Level III, Policy FNG- Local). The timeline, as outlined in the respective policy for Level III complaints, shall be followed.

Students in the RRISD Talented and Gifted (TAG) program may be furloughed at the request of the student, parent/guardian, or school personnel.

Once a furlough is requested, a conference between the parent(s), principal, Talented and Gifted (TAG) teacher, and the student (if appropriate) will be scheduled and the furlough form will be completed.

The Campus Screening and Placement Committee must approve all requested furloughs.

Elementary and middle school furloughs are in effect for the remainder of the school year in which the furlough was initiated. In May, secondary students may request a furlough for the following school year. High school students with schedule conflicts that prohibit their participation in Talented and Gifted (TAG) classes are placed on furlough for the semester of the conflict.

The furlough may not be extended past one year. If the student is not ready to reenter the program by the beginning of the following school year, the student must exit the program.

Students placed in the Round Rock ISD’s Talented and Gifted program may be exited when it is determined that it would be in the best interest of the student and/or the program to discontinue the student’s participation.

One or more of the following conditions must be met:

  • The student may, with parental permission, request to be removed from the program. In such cases, a conference between the parent/guardian, principal, Talented and Gifted (TAG) teacher, and the student (if appropriate) must be held before the student is exited. Appropriate documentation, signed by the parent/guardian and the principal is placed in the student’s TAG record at the conclusion of this process. The student must remain out of the program for one school year and must be rescreened, tested, and re-qualify before re-entry into the program.
  • The parent/guardian may request that the student be removed from the program. In such case, the procedure outlined above is followed.
  • The TAG teachers, principal, or counselor may recommend the exiting of a student who, in their opinion, is not benefiting by continued participation in the program, or who may have extreme behavioral problems that distract from the education of others in the class. In such cases, a conference between the parent/guardian and appropriate school personnel will be held, and the student may be exited upon recommendation of the majority of the members of the Campus Placement Committee.
  • A student is exited from the TAG Program if he/she fails to meet the criteria of the annual review, including attainment of satisfactory progress. Satisfactory progress is defined as demonstrable development of a student’s abilities in higher level thinking skills, mastery of major concepts and skills of relevant disciplines, development of the skills necessary for research and independent study, and development of self-concept and leadership. Student progress in these areas will be measured by the Campus Placement Committee through the use of a variety of instruments (mastery of district standards, appropriate improvement of achievement test scores, student products, successful completion of the program components, etc.).
  • If at any time a student is not performing at expected levels, the teacher sends a report to the parent/guardian no later than the mid-point of a reporting period or more often if necessary. Copies of all reports are filed in the TAG folder and reviewed by the Campus Placement Committee.

If a student’s work or behavior does not improve, a conference is held with the student, his/her parent/guardian, the classroom teacher, assistant principal and/or principal, and other staff as appropriate. This is done at the end of a grading period or sooner, as needed. If exiting is considered, a written plan for improvement is developed. The school personnel, student, and parent/guardian work together to develop a growth plan to assure that the optimum situation is created for the student to improve. The plan specifies what the student must do to improve and what school personnel and parents will do to help.

At a time designated in the written plan, a re-evaluation of student progress is made relative to the expectations established for the student in cooperation with his/her parent/guardian and teachers. If the student has shown improvement, but not fully achieved expectations, another growth plan is completed with a new timeline.

If the student fails to make a reasonable amount of progress toward the goals and objectives in the plan, the Campus Placement Committee, after review, will place the student in an appropriate regular school program. If exiting from the program is recommended, the principal will notify the parent/guardian who may request a conference and re-evaluation of the student’s progress through the reconsideration process.

Students removed from the program must remain out of the program for one school year and must be rescreened, tested, and re-qualified before re-entry into the program.

Students exited from the program may be recommended by the Campus Placement Committee for other appropriate programs (e.g. at the high school level, the Advanced Placement programs or International Baccalaureate program).