In its attempt to meet the educational needs of each student, the Nodaway Valley CSD believes that every student is entitled to an educational program that meets their learning needs. Because of this mission, the school district supports the following core beliefs in relation to gifted education:

• Students who exhibit exceptional academic skills are entitled to an educational program that meets their learning needs. 
• Educational learning opportunities should be designed to meet the unique educational needs of talented and gifted students.
• The district will provide specially designed instruction and related activities through cooperative efforts of the TAG teacher and general education teachers in the general education classroom.

The TAG Program facilitators/teachers and the classroom teachers plan and provide differentiated programming for those students who have needs beyond the existing grade level curriculum. The TAG program is designed to assist these students in reaching their greatest academic potential/cognitive needs and fulfilling their affective needs so that they will be prepared for productive, successful lives beyond school as stated in the district mission statement.

Nodaway Valley identifies in the areas of general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, and creativity.  The target population is those who possess outstanding abilities or talent beyond age and grade-level peers and/or are capable of high performance, require an appropriate instruction and educational services commensurate with their abilities and needs that go beyond those provided by the general school program.


1. To help students gain an understanding of themselves, their abilities, and giftedness.
2. To provide an extensive learning environment which will enable each child to fully develop his/her intellectual and creative abilities through challenging instructional activities.
3. To provide for the development and utilization of students’ thinking abilities, creativity, research skills, and problem-solving techniques.
4. To help students accept responsibility for self-directed learning.
5. To help students recognize and develop their cognitive and affective skills and promote awareness of support services for these skills.
6. To provide students with additional extended learning opportunities, support, and resources to enhance their education.


1. To gain an understanding of his/her abilities, giftedness, and affective needs.
2. To develop his/her cognitive and affective abilities, talents, and skills.
3. To develop and utilize problem solving and critical thinking abilities.
4. To be self-directed, independent, life-long learners.


Primary Students-Grades K-2

Students needing enrichment in grades K-2 are served in the regular classroom and in pull-out small group sessions.  Students are identified as needing extended learning opportunities through classroom teacher observations and recommendations.  Extended learning opportunities to support individual learning needs are identified and provided through collaboration with the classroom and TAG teacher in "small group" meeting times.  The TAG teacher and classroom teacher involve and report progress to parents. At this level, classes with the TAG teacher are simply called "enrichment" or "small group" as it is not a formal identification process.

Identification for K-2 enrichment includes:

  • noticing that students are excelling at grade-level standards
  • teacher nomination for above-level learning
  • use of "characteristics of gifted children" checklist by teacher

Elementary/MS Program-Grades 3-8

Identified talented and gifted students in grades 3-8 are served in the regular classroom through differentiated curriculum and in small group sessions with the TAG teacher for extended learning program.  The TAG teacher works cooperatively with classroom teachers to identify appropriate curriculum and extended learning opportunities.  Classroom differentiation in reading, math, science, and technology is provided on an individual basis depending on student skills and individual learning needs.  The TAG extended learning program includes exploratory activities, thinking skills, problem solving, individual development, independent investigations and interpersonal skills.

Identification for TAG is a complex task with many factors considered and combination of 3 required, including:

  • 95% on subject-area ISASP (Iowa Assess.) test
  • subject-area teacher recommendation 
  • 120 SAS (standard age score) on Cognitive Abilities Test (reasoning skills test)
  • FAST reading test - 2 years above grade level proficiency
  • high creativity, motivation or learning characteristics as measured by Renzulli scales
  • Superior products/performances in the classroom

Secondary Program Grades 9-12

The TAG program for secondary TAG students includes differentiation in the regular classroom, TAG Seminar, possible academic acceleration, and extra-curricular offerings such as entering STEM or writing competitions, elementary mentoring, or producing a student magazine. A class termed "TAG Seminar" is offered each semester (1 elective credit) for highly motivated students to pursue passion projects of their design. Any student who has been served in the TAG program in previous years is eligible for high school TAG offerings.


Student nominations for the Talented and Gifted program can be made by parents, staff, peers, and a self nomination by the student.  If you would like to nominate your student for this program please use the links below to download a nomination form.  Forms can also be picked up at the NV Elementary School office.  Please contact Laura Britten at 743-6136 or if you have any questions.

NV TAG Parent Nominatin Form

See what we've been doing in NV TAG! 

Here's a recent presentation about our program!

TAG Board Mtg slideshow

Gifted Literature for Gifted Students

Need a resource for great books that your gifted student may enjoy?  Head over to the Mensa For Kids website where they host an "Excellence in Reading" program, complete with reading lists for various grade spans.

TAG News - 2013 Winter Newsletter
Talented and Gifted News from Mrs. Britten

We are halfway through our first year of working with our revised and updated TAG program plan.  Students in grades 3-8 are continuing to meet with Mrs. Wolfe and Mrs. Britten in small groups for critical and creative thinking skills, and independent project work.  Small group enrichment has also been started with Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders.

Here’s a sampling of the various independent projects being pursued by our older students:  writing plays, studying Greek mythology, researching atoms, making Keynote presentations, publishing a school newsletter, a Hurricane Sandy service project, clothing design, and many more wonderful projects!  A team of 5th/6th graders also competed in the Iowa Quiz Bowl and placed 11th out of 30 teams statewide.  Well done!

About 25 parents attended the informational TAG meeting on Thursday, January 17th.  Information about our district offerings for gifted education was presented, as well as details about how students are identified for the gifted program.  Helpful websites and books were recommended for parents who want more information on raising gifted children.

These parenting tips make my top 5 list for developing your child’s intellect:

  1. Read extensively with your children.  Even when they are older and independent readers, establish and insist on reading time.
  2. Travel.  Cross-country or a day trip.  Getting children out into other surroundings opens their minds to new information, helps build background knowledge, and invites curiosity.  When travel is too expensive, children can hone their geography, math, reading, research, and technology skills by going on a “virtual” trip you help them plan.  They can be delighted to then someday take that trip.
  3. Play games.  Nothing makes learning more fun than to learn by playing.  Great old games like Chess, Risk, Checkers, Monopoly, and card games like Hearts, Canasta, Euchre, and Pitch are fantastic for developing strategic thinking.  Many good video games offer strategy and creativity; be selective.
  4. Music lessons.  Learning an instrument activates more areas of the brain than any other single activity!  Hearing and learning good music also helps children develop sensitivity and discipline.
  5. Schedule - or rather unschedule - plenty of down time.  Don’t plan, hover, offer suggestions, or overprotect.  Keep the electronics off.  When children play, explore, get bored, overcome boredom, fail, overcome failure - they tend to be more creative, elaborative, original, and flexible.  We do them a disservice by filling all their time for them.
  6. I just couldn’t keep it to 5 I guess! :)    “The surest way to make it hard for children is to make it easy.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

From the Desk of Mrs. Britten . . .

The classes in gifted education that I am taking are opening my eyes to all kinds of amazing information.  I in turn feel like celebrating the ways I've supported gifted learners in my career, then have regrets for what I didn't know and didn't do in my years in the regular classroom as well as in raising my own kids.  What I wouldn't give to have a "do over" for some of those times!  If you aren't familiar with the principles of gifted education, I'll bring you along with me as I learn!  :)

One misconception we absolutely must get over is that "gifted kids will flourish on their own, no matter what I do as their teacher".  THEY WON'T.  They won't become all that they have the potential to be without being given appropriately challenging work!  What is grade-level appropriate isn't necessarily gifted-level appropriate.  Talented and gifted kids have as unique of learning needs as our most struggling students, but the strugglers have ready interventions, accommodations, para-educators, and special teachers, while the gifted are mainly served in regular classrooms their entire school career.  

A teacher in my current online class posted an observation this week that I thought was eloquent and profound.  He was reflecting on how No Child Left Behind has changed the ways schools, the community and the government think about what an effective school does - it meets a minimum proficiency requirement for its students.  If it doesn't, it is deemed a School in Need of Assistance.  No one can argue with the need to have all students at least proficient, and we must continue bringing those bottom students.  But what about schools who don't have enough kids performing highly?  What if the government decreed you will be a SINA if you don't have a certain percentage of kids reading above grade level, or in the 90th percentile on math or SS or science tests, or being served in TAG programs, or enrolled in challenging courses?  Wouldn't that be just as worthy a goal??  We'd have more students ready for college or challenging careers or creating and inventing or contributing great things to society.

Our teachers do amazing things in our classrooms and I know we have some of the most caring staff in the world right here.  I know that many (maybe all!) of them differentiate in some ways for kids' specific needs.  The state reading initiatives we've subscribed to in the last 10 or so years provide some automatic ways to differentiate!

This article has some convincing, succinct reasons to challenge kids, told from the child and parent perspective.  I found it insightful.

Laura Britten, TAG Coordinator 
Nodaway Valley CSD 
324 NW Second Street 
Greenfield, IA 50849