Gifted,  Talented and Differentiation (GTD)


Oak Park Elementary School District 97 recognizes that outstanding talents are present in children from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavors.  Services for students who are academically talented must be part of an overall educational program.  It is our responsibility to discover, nurture, and develop the potential of each student.

We encourage continuous staff development and collaboration among teachers, parents, and administrators, to better meet the needs of the academically gifted and talented students through the philosophy of differentiated instruction, strategies, and practices associated with differentiation.


  • To identify outstanding intellectual potential in students and recognize that demonstrated exceptional abilities require differentiated educational services that match student needs.
  • To offer a continuum of services designed to challenge academically gifted and talented students and to provide opportunities for the development of intellectual behaviors.
  • To integrate differentiated services into the school environment through collaboration, implementation, and evaluation among all teachers, parents, and administrators.
  • To support the district’s commitment to this program by providing educators with appropriate staff development and resources to meet the needs of academically talented students.
  • To communicate the nature and needs of academically gifted and talented students within the school and community in order to build awareness and develop an understanding of talented students’ needs.


Academically gifted and talented students must be given educational experiences appropriate to their level of ability if they are to reach their potential.  Appropriate rigor and challenge in the curriculum may include, but not be limited to, acceleration, advanced content, a higher degree of complexity, flexible grouping, curriculum compacting, in-depth studies, enrichment opportunities, flexible pacing, and differentiated content, process, and/or products.

Click the headings below to learn more about the Elementary School GTD Program by grade level.

The GTD resource teacher will work with the classroom teacher to deliver a flexible model of academically gifted instructional programming. The GTD resource teacher and classroom teacher will develop a plan to ensure that the needs of our academically talented students are met with this flexible program. The GTD resource teacher and the regular classroom teacher will have opportunities to provide fluid experiences for all children.

  • Formal identification will not take place in K-2
  • GTD resource teacher will push-in to regular classrooms on a regular basis
  • GTD resource teacher will provide support and resources to address differentiation needs of high learners
  • The CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) will be administered to 2nd grade students in the spring

The needs of these children are met through a direct service model combining the GTD resource teacher and the regular classroom teacher. The classroom teacher through differentiation will match the unique needs of each child with the curriculum. Additionally, the GTD resource teacher will provide direct services through a pull-out and/or push-in framework.

Students may qualify for direct services in fall of 3rd grade. Inclusive identification procedures using multiple criteria are used to ensure that all students are identified and nurtured in the program. Students are required to meet two out of the three criteria listed below.

Language Arts and Math Identification Criteria:



MAP Assessment

95th percentile+ on 2 of the 3 most recent assessments

CogAT Standard Age Score


Teacher Observation Checklist

Reviewed by GTDs

Coherence is one of the key principles upon which the Illinois Learning Standards in math are built. It helps connect the learning that takes place across grade levels, and enables students to build upon and deepen their mathematical knowledge and understanding as they move from one grade to the next. That is why it is considered best practice to have students follow the progression of skills and concepts. It is also why third graders who are identified for GTD services are no longer skipping grade level instruction. Instead, they are being given the opportunity to participate in math enrichment units with their peers and receive additional support in concepts they find difficult or challenging.

Please follow the link below to view a math progressions table that was produced by the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, was adapted and revised based on the Common Core State Standards, and demonstrates the coherence within and across the math standards.

Math Progressions Table

The GTD resource teacher will provide progress reports in subject areas where they provide instruction to students or report card grades may also be a collaborative effort between the regular classroom teacher and GTD resource teacher.

Parents, Guardians, or teachers may submit an appeal request for Direct GTD Resource services in the subject areas of math and/or language arts on behalf of 3rd-5th grade students who do not qualify for the program as outlined in the GTD Program Guidelines.