Lauren Mentzer


Enrichment Program Overview (Talented and Gifted, TAG)


Teachers at St. Francis of Assisi School are charged with the task of providing educational programming within a Catholic environment which meets the unique needs of all students and works to maximize each child’s individual potential.  The enrichment program as well as enrichment activities are extensions of what happens in the classroom.  They are designed to assist in this endeavor.   


Initial Referral Form 




According to Iowa Department of Education Code 257.44 Gifted and talented children defined, “Gifted and talented” children are those identified as possessing outstanding abilities who are capable of high performance.  Gifted and talented children are children who require appropriate instruction and educational services commensurate with their abilities and needs beyond those provided by the regular school program.  Gifted and talented children include those children with demonstrated achievement or potential ability, or both, in any of the following areas or in combination: 

  • Specific ability (subject) aptitude 
  • General intellectual ability
  • Creative thinking
  • Leadership ability 
  • Visual and performing arts ability 


The Enrichment program provides a challenging and differentiated curriculum for the top 3% – 5% of gifted students at St. Francis of Assisi.  Our teacher team, composed of the Enrichment teacher and classroom teachers, collaborate when planning to ensure activities are appropriate for each student’s unique needs.  Many students in the top 15-20% receive service in various ways and at various times throughout their school experience.  Be assured that all students’ needs are being addressed daily by our well equipped teachers.  


Identification Process


To see that best practices for identification are met, the identification team consisting of the classroom teacher, administration and enrichment teacher will work together to review the students data.  The goal is to triangulate the data. This data includes, but is not limited to: 



All students are screened for Enrichment services in third grade and sixth grade. 


Personal Education Plan (PEP)  


If a student is deemed in need of modified programming, the classroom teacher, administrator and enrichment teacher will work together in communication with the parents to create a written PEP to meet the needs.  This may include, but is not limited to: 

  • Differentiation in the classroom
  • Curriculum modification or substitution
  • Mentorship
  • Independent Study
  • Acceleration in a specific subject area through dual-enrollment at Dowling Catholic High School (7th and 8th Grade only) 

Services are reviewed on an on-going basis and adjusted as necessary. 

Personal Education Plan (PEP) Template at St Francis 


Acceleration Process 


Here at St. Francis of Assisi, a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) process is used within the Acceleration Process.  Typically, acceleration is considered in the subject of math or whole grade acceleration.  This is how the MTSS process works: 


  • Core instruction and differentiated small group practice is based on student needs.  These groups are flexible based on formative assessment.  
  • Running records are kept for students showing enrichment for more than the core concepts being taught. 
  • When the grade level teacher team determines that a student needs more then what is provided via whole group and small group instruction, the teacher starts building a student portfolio to begin the Acceleration Process. 
  • Summative and formative assessment data is analyzed by the MTSS team.  This team includes the grade level teacher team, Enrichment teacher, administration, parents, guidance counselor, and sometimes the AEA professional.  Together, they determine what the students’ needs are and how to best serve them.  
  • After a plan is developed for acceleration a follow-up meeting is set.  The plan begins.  
  • Acceleration Referral Form 
  • Student Interview will be done in a one-on-one sitting with the enrichment teacher.  Parents will see responses at the acceleration meeting.  
  • Written Acceleration Plan


Dual Enrollment Policy at Dowling Catholic High School 


Dowling Catholic High School has set criteria for what middle school students are eligible to take their high school placement test (HSPT).  The criteria that they have set is: 




Step 1 – In November, Dowling will send a request to elementary principals to provide a list of 6th and 7th grade students that they would like to recommend for consideration for dual enrollment the following school year.  Recommended students must have at least a 3.7 GPA in the desired content area, be deemed mature enough to handle high school work/requirements, and in need of academic acceleration.  


Step 2 – Students who have been recommended by their principal will receive letter invitations to take the High School Placement Test (HSPT) at the beginning of January.  The cost to take the HSPT is $25.  Any student not taking the HSPT on this date will not be considered for dual enrollment.  


Step 3 – In late January, lists will be sent back to the elementary principals showing which students have qualified to move on in the approval process for dual enrollment.  These lists will be based on which students have met the appropriate HSPT benchmark scores in the subjects of math, science, and/or English.  The Fall MAP scores will be added to the HSPT results.  Students must meet all criteria in order to be accepted into the program.     


Kindergarten – 3rd Grade Enrichment Program


Our kindergarten through third grade students are not formally identified as talented and gifted.  The Enrichment teacher does provide small group instruction for high-level learners.  These groups are flexible and fluid based on the skills that the classroom teacher is teaching. 


  • High-level learners are considered after reviewing reading levels, formative assessments and daily work with the classroom teacher. 
  • The enrichment teacher will work with your student once or twice a week.


All elementary students will be taught whole class lessons using the Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS) Curriculum.  This is a systematized enrichment and diagnostic thinking skills program.  It has a dual purpose: helping in identification of talented learners and developing higher level thinking skills in students of all abilities.  The enrichment teacher will be in your students classroom once a month to teach a 30 minute lesson. 


4th – 5th Grade Enrichment Program 


Between the third and fourth grade year, students are identified formally as gifted and talented through the identification procedures.  The main content area of focus is reading/writing and math.  

  • Small group instruction will take place at least once a week for both reading and math.   
  • This may occur within the students classroom or as a pullout group. 
  •  The enrichment teacher provides opportunities for students based on students needs and interests.  


6th – 8th Grade Enrichment Program 


Identified TAG students are primarily served through advanced course placement in middle school.  Prior to starting sixth grade, student performance and achievement scores are examined to determine the appropriate course placement.  In addition to appropriate course placement at the middle school level: 

  • Small group instruction is provided when needed. 
  • The enrichment teacher collaborates with classroom teachers during planning time to provide support in planning lessons and activities meant to challenge high level learners.  
  • The enrichment teacher provides independent projects to work on during seminar, or study hall, time.  


Saint Francis of Assisi Documents