Horizons / Gifted & Talented

Horizons Program Description

The Camden Rockport Middle School’s Horizons program aims to serve two distinct middle school populations, those specifically identified as gifted and talented and those who are well-above grade level.  There are screening and identification processes for both populations that are described in a separate document.  The majority of CRMS Horizons programs and course offerings address the needs of both groups simultaneously, although there are further opportunities available to identified G/T students. The goal is to help students access a variety of appropriate learning opportunities available to them throughout their school day.  Program options may include pullout groups; grade based acceleration; subject acceleration; advanced or honors classes, independent study; differentiation and instructional grouping within the regular classroom. 

Given the above, we believe that most students’ needs can be met in the general education classroom through differentiation, tiered instruction, cluster groupings and enrichment activities. These avenues provide opportunities for more in depth, individualized learning.



GOAL: To identify the 2% to 5% of a population of students who are intellectually or artistically gifted and in need of special programming, whether that be advanced or accelerated specialized programming.


GOAL:  To recognize the tier of highly capable students (top 5 - 10% of the class), just below the gifted identification range, for whom the Horizons program can also provide curriculum and instruction that are advanced, conceptually complex, and carefully differentiated beyond the classroom curricula.

 Horizons Program opportunities for these populations at CRMS can include the following and are outlined in further detail below:


  • Clustered math groupings
  • Accelerated course work (typically G/T only)
  • Subject specific grade level advancement  (typically G/T only)
  • Enrichment classes
  • Independent Study (typically G/T only)
  • Participation in Continental Math League
  • Participation on the Math Team

 Language Arts

  • Clustered Language Arts groupings
  • Advanced Language Arts Classes
  • Spelling Bee
  • Writing Competitions and Extensions

Foreign Language

  • High School Spanish l , II


  • Independent Study
  • Color Theory/Mixed Media (grade 7 and 8)
  • Consultation
  • Enrichment

o   Guest Artist Residencies

o   After School Art Club

o   Youth Arts

o   Art Contests


  • District III Band and Chorus
  • Consultation


 A.  Opportunities for high ability math students

  • Clustered Math Groupings – Academic peer groups of 3+ students are placed in designated classes. These groups of students work together through differentiated extensions.
  • Enrichment Math – Enrichment is offered to students who show a strong aptitude in Math in Grade 5.  The enrichment class provides students an opportunity to deepen their understanding and flexibility with number relationships as well as problem solving. 
  • Accelerated Math Classes – Students who demonstrate a particular aptitude for Math may enter the Accelerated Math Program beginning at any grade level where it is appropriate.  This may mean advancement to the next grade level math program or the next grade level Horizons math program.
  • Grade 8 Honors Algebra – Students who demonstrate readiness for a full Honors Algebra course in grade 8 typically go through the regular program in grades 5 -7, but demonstrate readiness for a high level Algebra course and an aptitude for abstract thinking by the end of 7th grade.  These students have mastered traditional middle school math concepts.

B.  Opportunities for students identified as Gifted and Talented in Math

  • Accelerated Math Classes – This is for students who demonstrate an early mastery of arithmetic and who are ready for a faster pace.  Students begin to prepare at CRES by condensing the 5th grade curriculum into the 4th grade year.  Qualifying students will continue grade level acceleration in grades 5-8 at their level of readiness.  Course options include anything from single grade advancement to high school Calculus depending on student need. This may involve online learning.
  • Independent Study – This option is available to students for whom other programs at CRMS are not appropriate, either due to pacing or content.  A student doing independent study in Math may use the Aleks.com program or Khan Academy at an appropriate level and proceed at his/her own pace.  This option may afford some students the opportunity to complete Algebra ll by the end of grade 8.

C.  Enrichment and Challenge opportunities offered to all students at CRMS:

  • Math Team – students in grades 5 – 8 who want more challenge in math are encouraged to participate on the CRMS Middle School Math Team.  We compete in the Central Maine Middle School Math League, with three competitions against other schools (Saturdays) each year.


A.  Opportunities for high ability Language Arts students (not limited to G/T)

  • Clustered Language Arts Classes – Students who demonstrate a particular aptitude for Language Arts (both reading and writing) are clustered in instructional groupings of 3+ peers with similar ability.  The G/T teacher works with the grade level teacher to develop and implement enrichment and extension activities. The G/T teacher may co-teach, design enrichments, pull small groups, provide written feedback to students and coach the classroom teacher.
  • Advanced Language Arts Classes – In grade 8 students who demonstrate a particular aptitude for Language Arts (both reading and writing) are identified for an Advanced Language Arts class  The pacing is faster, the analysis deeper, and the work load more demanding than a regular language arts class.  Designation of class assignments and/or formats are based on and responsive to data of each student group.

B.  Opportunities for students identified as Gifted and Talented 

  • Enrichment – Identified G/T students will have an opportunity to participate in a once a week enrichment to further develop their critical thinking skills through debate, simulation, and critical discussion in a variety of areas.  

C.   Enrichment and Challenge opportunities offered to all students at CRMS:

  • Differentiation – The G/T Language Arts teacher collaborates regularly with teachers in grades 5 – 8  in a variety of content areas. The differentiation may include: Team-teach units of study, support small group enrichment and share resources to support differentiation.
  • Spelling Bee – Students in grades 5 – 8 who are interested compete in the annual national spelling bee competition.  The school winner proceeds to the county Bee.

III.  Foreign Language

A.  Opportunities for high ability Language Arts students (not limited to G/T)

  • High School Spanish I and II – CRMS offers a rigorous track in Spanish that is aligned to national high school standards.  Students take the National Spanish Exam at the end of each year and may begin high school in Honors Spanish II or III, which is also aligned to national standards.


A.  Extended Opportunities Artist of all abilities

  • Enrichment – The Horizons Art program brings guest artists to work with interested students in grades 5 – 8. 
  • After School Art Club – There is also an After School Art Club that runs six sessions during the year open to any student in the school.
  • Guest Artist Residencies – There are usually guest artist residencies during the year at each grade level, sponsored through the local Youth Arts program.  A recent collaboration between the school and Youth Arts resulted in a 20’ x 5’ tile mosaic installment in the style of Eric Hopkins.
  • Art Contests – There are numerous announcements throughout the year, either through the school newsletters or through classroom teachers. Past examples include Doodle 4 Google Contest, National Conservation Poster Contest, Lions International Peace Poster Contest

B.  Opportunities for high ability Arts students

  • Color Theory/Mixed Media Painting – In grade 7 (Color Theory) and 8 (Mixed Media Painting), highly motivated and talented art students can apply for a special art class that meets during Schooner and is taught by a professional artist.
  • Independent Study – In grade 7 and 8, a limited number of passionate students will have the opportunity to do an independent study in Art during Schooner Time.


A.  Extended Opportunities for Musicians of all abilities

  • Band/Chorus – CRMS offers a full instrumental band Program and a separate Chorus program to students in grades 5 - 8.  There are two concerts each year for each program and the schedule is designed to enable students to participate in both programs.  Over half of the student body participates in these robust programs.
  • Musician residencies – At times the school sponsors residencies with professional musicians to work with either the band or chorus.  A recent example is working with composter Terry White to create an original composition for the Mosaic project that will have its debut at the Spring ’14 band concert.  Another is a bi-annual residency in chorus with the UMaine Steiners.
  • Talent Show – Any student interested in performing can practice and participate in the Spring Talent Show.

B.  Opportunities for high ability Music students

  • Jazz Band – Students who are proficient on their instruments and motivated to play more challenging pieces can audition for the school’s Jazz Band that typically meets before school once or twice a week.  Audition required.
  • Brass Ensemble – Brass players who are proficient on their instruments and motivated to play more challenging pieces can join the school’s Brass Ensemble that meets outside of the school day. (Flexible year-to-year)
  • Wind Ensemble - Students who are proficient on their instruments grades 6 – 8 and motivated to play more challenging pieces can audition for the school’s Wind Ensemble that typically meets afterschool once or twice a week.  (Flexible year-to-year)
  • District III– In grade 7 and 8, musically talented students have the opportunity to audition for District III and/or All State, which is a statewide honors-level band and chorus experience.
  • Bi-annual Musical Performance – There are various levels of participation in the musical, including solo as well as ensembles parts. Students in grades 6 – 8 have the opportunity to audition for lead parts in this musical, but it is open to any participant.


  • Geography Bee- All grade levels 
  • Science Expeditions- Grade 6 Mount Battie & Chewonki, Grade 7 Tanglewood, Grade 8 Kieve
  • The needs of gifted students in science and social studies will be addressed either through differentiation. Students who are identified are clustered into classrooms whenever their schedule permits. 


Guidelines for inclusion


  • 530 or above on VRT test
  • Writing Portfolio: at least 7 total combined score


Must meet 3/4 of the following:

  • MEA 4
  • NWEA Reading: 92%
  • Writing Prompt: 7
  • Teacher Questionnaire: 52

Screening Criteria for Mathematics 

MATHEMATICS CRITERIA and Process for Advanced Mathematics

a.  Grade 5 Enrichment

  • CRES Staff send a letter to qualifying students who will be screened.
  • NWEA 90% and above
  • CRES Staff Administer the Test of Basic Skills to the top 15% of the 4th grade class 
  • Convene CRMS Screening committee to determine: 1) who qualifies for the Horizons program, and 2) the most appropriate programming (grade advancement, 5th enrichment, independent study) for each student.
  • Parents are notified by mail about math programming for the fall

 b. Pre-Algebra  (grades 6,7)

  • 93% or above on NWEA (typically 235-240 and above) 
  • Scoring 4 on MEA (can be used as a complimentary criteria if NWEA is close)
  • Teacher recommendation (based on HOWL's and class performance) 
  • Student are screened on the Pre-Algebra Screening Test (38 and above is the goal)
  • Convene CRMS Screening committee to determine who qualifies for the Pre-Algebra.
  • Parents are notified by mail about math programming for the fall

 c. Grade 7 or 8 Algebra Placement


  • Score of 42 or above on the Algebra Placement Test

Two of the three: 

  • Scores of 245 or above on NWEA (Avg/Hi or Hi on Algebra Strand required) 
  • Scoring 4 on MEA (can be used as a complimentary criteria if NWEA is close)
  • Habits of Work and Learning at 3 or Above 
  • Teacher recommendation 

d. Continuation in Advanced Math Programming (Early placement in Pre-algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Alg II, Calculus, etc...

Students who are already on the path for these courses will continue as long as they continue in good academic standing. Grade of 3 or higher on both individual assessments AND Habits of Work and Learning qualify as good academic standing. Teachers may recommendation students placement changes if these critiera aren't met.