Gifted & Enrichment Program

Elmwood’s enrichment program is based on the belief that all students should be challenged to reach their full academic and intellectual potential.

For students in grades 1-6 who have been identified as enrichment candidates — that is, for students identified as Advanced Learners based on standardized assessments and references — these challenges come in a variety of ways:

► Level 1 — Differentiated instruction from their regular classroom teachers

► Level 2 — Special group instruction from the school’s enrichment teacher

► Level 3 — Individualized services

These learning opportunities challenge the intellect with higher-order questioning. They also build upon the core curriculum through independent projects, and they expand student independence via earned responsibility.

In addition to these opportunities, during the school year we provide parents with information about the Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search, or “NUMATS” for short.

Our enrichment teacher is Ms. Annina Wanzung.


Elmwood students are identified as Advanced Learners by their performance on a variety of assessment measures, including the following:

► Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

► Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS)

► NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)

Detailed information about the criteria used in identifying enrichment candidates can be found on our Selection Criteria page.

Transfer students may be screened at any time after transfer materials are reviewed.

Once identified as Advanced Learners and placed in the enrichment program, all selected students will receive Level 1 instruction. A smaller group will also receive Level 2 programming. Level 3 services are reserved for an even smaller group.

Level 1: Differentiated Classroom Instruction

The regular classroom teacher, supported by our enrichment specialist, is often the primary source of instruction that challenges students who are identified as enrichment candidates.

Our classroom teachers accomplish this through a differentiated curriculum — that is, by modifying the regular curriculum to make it more appropriate for identified students with respect to abstractness, complexity and the degree of critical/creative thinking involved.

One or more of the following curricular elements may be modified:

► Content — what is being taught

► Process — the methods used and the thinking/working procedures students are expected to use

► Product — the tangible outcomes that result from the interaction of content and process

The work students do is not in addition to the regular work assigned, but the work is adjusted to a difficulty level commensurate with the identified student's achievement and ability.

In other words, the work is designed to challenge and engage identified students at a level that enables them to grow academically and intellectually.

Differentiated instruction strategies include tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, open-ended projects, learning centers, independent study and extension choices.

Level 2: Special Group Programming

Based on referral data, select students are eligible for special group programming (Level 2) in addition to differentiated classroom instruction (Level 1).

Special group programming is when students are pulled from their homeroom classrooms twice a week to receive instruction from Ms. Wanzung. They participate in enrichment instruction and activities for a total of approximately 80 minutes per week.

Level 2 encompasses independent study, small group inquiry, co-curricular activities (academic contests or conferences) and extracurricular activities relating to student interests.

Independent study fosters responsibility and allows students to be creative by exploring a new area of academic interest in order to share their understandings with peers, staff and the community.

Small group inquiry incorporates debate, discussion, questioning, problem solving and creating projects.

More information about our special group programming can be found on our Enrichment Curriculum page.

Level 3: Individualized Services

In rare cases individualized services are considered for students who meet strict requirements according to the referral data.

Students selected for Level 3 individualized services will receive those services in addition to Level 1 and Level 2 instruction.

A Level 3 learning plan can include but is not limited to mentorships, independent research and subject or grade acceleration.

Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS)

Ms. Wanzung also coordinates Elmwood’s NUMATS (Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search) program, which provides provides information to parents who are interested in having their children participate in NUMATS testing.

NUMATS allows eligible students to take internationally recognized tests before the grade levels at which those tests are normally administered. For example, NUMATS students in grades 3-6 take the PSAT 8/9, which is designed for 8th and 9th graders. Students in 6th grade take the SAT and ACT, designed for high school juniors and seniors.

Through these tests, NUMATS identifies academic ability, measures growth, helps parents better understand their children’s needs and connects children to resources and opportunities for advanced students.

District 401’s Policy on Gifted Education

Elmwood’s procedures and practices in this area are governed by District 401’s policy on gifted education, which can be found in Section 6:130 of the Board of Education’s Policy Manual:

The Superintendent or designee shall design an education program for gifted and talented students that is responsive to community needs and is within the budget parameters as set by the Board.

Eligibility to participate in the gifted program shall not be conditioned upon race, religion, sex, disability, or any factor other than the student’s identification as gifted or talented learner.

The Board of Education will monitor this program’s performance by meeting periodically with the Superintendent or designee to determine and/or review the indicators and data that evidence whether the educational program for gifted and talented learners is accomplishing its goals and objectives and is otherwise in compliance with this policy.

A searchable online version of the Board of Education’s complete Policy Manual can be found here.