There are several programs related to curriculum and instruction that fall under the umbrella of Special Programs. This department provides information and analyses that support continuous improvement from an academic as well as an operational perspective in the Bridgewater-Regional School District. The areas that are handled through the Office of Special Programs are:
- Support for Struggling Learners (Response to Intervention)
- NJ Standardized Testing (NJASK and HSPA)
- English as a Second Language
- Gifted and Talented Programs (AI and E, Honors and Advanced Placement)
Most areas in Special Programs are supervised by Mr. David Matonis, Supervisor of Special Programs. NCLB and Title I are administered by the Superintendent or his designee.
Subject: Special Programs
908-685-2777 ext. 3252
"Title I" refers to Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act. The name of the title is: Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged. The purpose is defined as, "The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments." It is designed to provide additional financial resources to meet the needs of children who attend schools where the poverty level is greater than the poverty level in the district as a whole. Two schools in the district have programs that are supported by Title I funds: Adamsville Primary and John F. Kennedy Primary. Other schools are eligible for Title I funds, but are supported with equivalent district funds: Hillside Intermediate and Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School.
Response To Intervention
This program uses a multi-criteria system which identifies students who would benefit from additional instruction from Intervention Specialists (certified teachers) in the areas of mathematics and/or language arts due to skill gaps that cause them to perform below grade level. A broad spectrum of strategies is employed for diagnosing learning areas of strength and specific skills gaps, prescribing specific learning interaction, and monitoring and sustaining student academic performance. Interventions may include planned differentiation by classroom teachers as well as focused direct instruction in push-in/pull-out, small group/individualized instruction.
The goal of the RTI program is to intervene regarding student learning concerns, resolve those concerns, build success, and release the student gradually toward independence. The RTI program does not track students into alternate ability-level groupings; instead, it endeavors to identify and address the specific learning and neuodevelopmental strengths and weaknesses as well as the experiential knowledge gaps in the profiles of individual students. In turn, instruction is scaffolded into guided, independent, and applied practice, and assessment of skill acquisition and content application is ongoing. As such, RTI maximizes student understanding and academic potential.
Note that the High School RTI program does not replace Language and Literature English courses or Mathematics courses; instead, it supplants an elective.
English as a Second Language
The Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District has a comprehensive program that is designed to assist English Language Learners (ELL) students in grades K-12 and help them to achieve the goal of communication in their home and school environments in English. The major goal of the program is to prepare students to participate fully in the English speaking world while encouraging students to maintain their cultural identity, native language, and cultural heritage as they learn a new language and adapt to a new cultural environment. Curriculum implementation supports the goals of developing language skills, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills. Teachers utilize intensive English instruction to help students develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in the English language.
Students who participate in the ELL program are identified by examination of multiple measures, including a state approved assessment (ACCESS). Intensive language instruction in a pull-out setting, language support during content area instruction, student-clustering in classrooms, and sheltered instruction classes that combine subject area/content specific instruction concurrently with language instruction according to the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model are the mechanisms employed to address the range and variety of individual students' language service needs. Students who are successfully exited from the ELL program continue to be taken into consideration, with the ESL teacher as a resource for recommendations regarding differentiated instruction. In addition, at the high school level, Language and Literature Transition and Language and Literature Transition 2 bridge language study and literature study for advanced and former ELLs.
According to state administrative code (N.J.A.C. 6:8-4.5(a)4i), “The district shall make provisions for identifying students with gifted and talented abilities and for providing them with an educational program and services.” The Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District defines “Gifted and talented” students as those students who are capable of high academic performance and who require differentiated programs and/or facilities beyond those normally provided in order to fully develop their gifts and talents, lead more satisfying lives, and enhance the quality of life in their communities. The BRRSD offers a range of programs to meet the needs of these students. Some of the programs involve ability-grouping or homogenous classes. Please click on the links to the left for more information on each of these programs.
Gifted and Talented Programs
- Academically Independent (AI) Classes: Grades 2-6
- Enrichment (E) Classes: Grades 5-8
- Honors Classes: Grades 9-12
- Advanced Placement (AP) Classes: Grades 9-12
District Policy 2464 - Gifted and Talented Students (M)
The AI program was developed to challenge the intellectually advanced student through a multi-dimensional teaching approach involving special curricula, enrichment activities, and accelerated course content.
The selection of students is determined by Board of Education Policy and outlined in 6290.1R. Please review the policy for specific information regarding timelines, screening process and appeal procedures.
The program provides the students with the following opportunities:
- To acquire the skills as outlined in district curriculum guides.
- To achieve the objectives of the differentiated curriculum in reading, language arts, science, and social studies through independent learning, individual instruction, small group instruction, and whole class instruction.
- To apply higher-level critical thinking skills in all subject areas, emphasizing convergent, divergent, and abstract thinking.
- To enhance elements of creative thinking: fluency, flexibility, elaboration, and originality.
- To interact productively with peers, both classmates and school mates, on social and intellectual levels.
- To develop independence in learning.
- To use complex multidisciplinary resources and materials for self-directed, open-ended exploration of real life issues.
- To attain advanced levels of skills and concepts in the content areas.
- To evaluate his/her own progress based on self-knowledge of needs and interests.
- To pursue individual topics of interest in greater depth.
Beginning in fifth grade, students with specific ability in either mathematics or language arts literacy can be assigned to ability-grouped sections. The identification of students for these sections begins in the fourth grade. Beginning in sixth grade, students with specific ability science and/or social studies can be assigned to ability-grouped sections in these content areas. Screening takes place every year for new applicants and students in the program must meet the grade criteria (B- or higher) in order to remain in the program. The district utilizes multiple criteria in the identification process. For more information on the selection of eligible students, students’ responsibilities for participation in the program, and the design of the program please refer to Policies 2464 and R2464.
High School Advanced Placement and Honors courses are designed to meet the needs of students whose abilities and achievements in the subject area indicate ability to succeed in academically challenging environments. Advanced Placement and Honors courses, offered in English, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, business, and fine and performing arts provide enrichment both in scope of material presented and in depth of exploration.
Students are placed in Advanced Placement and Honors courses by demonstration of ability through marking period grades.
For specific courses and eligibility criteria, see High School Program of Studies, available on the High School website or in the High School Counselors’ Office.