Click Here for the TAG Parent Night Slideshow (Includes Video)
What is the TCAPS TAG program?
Our program is geared towards students who learn at a faster pace and are academically strong, generally in the top 10-15% of their peer group. NWEA and CogAT scores above the 85th percentile are good indicators of success. Students who score on the lower end of this range are not by definition gifted students, but may benefit from the accelerated pace and higher level content offered within the TCAPS TAG program. The TCAPS Board of Education expanded the parameters of acceptance so that high achieving students, not just gifted students, have access to programming that will help them reach their full potential.
What curricula is taught in TAG?
TCAPS TAG accelerates language arts by one year. We use the Journeys curriculum (4th will use the 5th grade level and 5th will use the 6th grade level).
Math is also accelerated by about one year. Technically, the students complete three years of math over two years. 4th grade uses the Math Expressions curriculum. The first year in TAG, students do a streamlined version of fourth grade content, and then move onto the first half of fifth grade standards. The fifth grade uses the Math Expressions and Connected Math curricula. As fifth graders they will wrap up the fifth grade content during the first trimester and complete all sixth grade units by the time they leave the TAG program.
The TAG science units are all aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. We are using all of the NGSS Foss Units. In TAG, we have a full science class each day and also incorporate STEM objectives (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
4th Grade Science Units: Earth Science: Soils, Rocks, & Land forms Physical Science: Energy Life Science: Environments
5th Grade Science Units: Earth Science: Earth & Sun Physical Science: Mixtures & Solutions Life Science: Living Systems 5th grade Science Curricula is enhanced with 3D Engineering & Science Fair
The social studies topics are the same in TAG as general education classes, but more extensions are used and the content is more in-depth. TAG uses the Social Studies Alive curriculum units. 4th grade content focuses on the regions of the United States. 5th grade starts with early Native Americans and continues through the Revolutionary War and establishing a new government. It is a very interactive program with hands-on activities such as act it outs, projects, interactive websites, creative outlets such as writing jingles/songs or creating skits, advertisements, debates, research, etc.
TAG students do all the same specials classes (i.e. music twice per week, gym twice per week, art is one 45 min period) as any other TCAPS elementary student.
A Special Note About Mathematics
Please note that mathematics tends to be more of a challenge in terms of adjustment to pace and content than the other core subject areas. It is essential that students know their basic multiplication and division facts. Since we do three years of math content within a two year period, we move fast. The most beneficial thing you can do for your child over the summer is have them solid and fluent with multiplication and division facts when they arrive in the fall. We jump into computation with multi-digit numbers quickly and not knowing basic facts is a huge hindrance to attacking more advanced concepts.
How will students adjust to moving from their home school?
A positive classroom community is essential in any learning environment. We do many team-building activities at the beginning of the year so that students get to know each other and adjust well to their new school. When coming to TAG your child has the opportunity to participate in LEAP sports, scouts, Girls On The Run, etc. at his/her home school or here at Central Grade. That way they can still maintain relationships with peers at their home schools. TAG students participate in recess and lunch with all other 4th or 5th grade classes, both the general education and TAG classes. We encourage friendships beyond the TAG classrooms.
Can siblings attend Central Grade too?
Many families chose to open enroll TAG siblings at Central Grade. You would need to fill out open enrollment paperwork in the Central Grade office.
Is there more homework in TAG?
There tends to be more homework in fourth and fifth grade no matter what school or program you are in. There is no more or less homework in TAG, but all work given is at a higher level. The purpose of homework is to teach students to be responsible as well as reinforcing school curriculum. We realize students may have extracurricular commitments to balance with the demands of school. Math homework will typically be sent home twice weekly; however, other work may be assigned as necessary. Throughout the year, there will be special projects to complete at home. Students will be given ample time and guidance to complete these projects.
If your child falls on the lower end of the acceptance scale, or nearly missed our qualifying criteria and is still interested in joining TAG there are some points to consider:
It may be tough to decide if it is best for your child to be at the lower end of a TAG population or the higher end of a general education class. Within the TAG community there is the possibility of greater frustration and higher level of struggle, but they may get pulled up by high achieving peers. In the general education setting, your child could gain confidence by demonstrating greater proficiency than his or her peers and taking on more of a leadership role. Each child is unique and would be better served in different ways. Think about what makes the most sense for your child. As teachers, we worry about setting students up for failure by not placing them in the correct learning environment. We encourage you to consider both the academic and psychological pros and cons of joining the TAG community.
Does my child need to test again for Honors classes at the middle school?
Students who attend the TAG program are automatically placed into the Honors (formally called AT) classes at the middle schools, unless discussed prior to middle school on an individual basis. Other students who did not attend TAG will be integrated into these classes as well. There is no longer testing to enter Honors classes at the middle school level. It is self-select/parent choice.
What if students do not attend TAG, but choose to attend Honors in the middle school?
The TAG program accelerates across the board in all subject areas. Some students elect not to enter the TAG program but join the Honors classes at the middle school level. In Middle school students can “a la carte” the Honors opportunities. They can do math/science Honors classes but not language arts/social studies, or vice versa. (The middle schools tend to pair the Honors classes in this way to aid with scheduling. They can be broken apart further, but there can be a scheduling conflict.) For most student the transition to Honors classes from general education fifth grade is smooth. The only area with significant concern is joining Honors math without having gone through the TAG program. TAG students are on track to move into seventh grade curriculum whereas students coming from a regular fifth grade class will not have had any of the sixth grade concepts. TAG students go into 7th grade Honors class with 7th grade content. There is an accelerated 6th grade Honors class for non-TAG kids, which does not contain 7th grade curricula.
We make class lists over the summer when we have a confirmed student roster. Since we do not know many of the students coming to our program it is simply balancing boys and girls equitably. One consideration we do make is trying to put students with one or two kids from his/her home school. If there is a child that you feel would be a particularly good learning partner, or a situation where different classrooms would be beneficial for both students, please feel free to let us know and we will take that into consideration when making class lists.
Drop off and pick up:
The D Door, near the corner of 8th Street and Pine, will be where all TAG students enter and exit the building. Doors will open at 7:45. Students may enter at this time and proceed to their classroom where their teachers will be supervising. Class begins at 8:00 a.m. Students will be marked tardy at 8:05 a.m. Our school day ends at 2:52 p.m. Any student not picked up at the time of dismissal will be sent to wait in the office. Half-day dismissal is at 11:07.
In addition to classroom newsletters and weekly email updates, students will be filling out planners daily to share with you their homework, assignments, and project deadlines. You will also be notified of upcoming field trips and other important dates. This will be the primary source of daily communication between home and school. Please review the planner every evening.
Our TAG website is another form of communication. Check it often for important announcements, homework, a class calendar, and appreciations.
Feel free to call us, but email is a more efficient tool. Due to our daily schedules, we are likely to respond to emails in a timelier manner.
A snack time will be provided each day for students. Please send in a healthy, nut-free snack to eat during this time. We encourage students to bring water bottles daily.
Field trips will be planned throughout the school year. Advanced notice will be given regarding cost and volunteers needed for these trips. Fundraising opportunities will be available to offset some of these costs.
Decision Making Process:
85th percentile and above on NWEA is a general guide for teachers and parents to recommend testing for TAG.
There is not really a cut-off score to be in or out. We have criteria that we use to narrow down the list until we fill our spots and have a wait list established. (cogAT Standard Age Scores below 110 are generally not accepted unless there is strong NWEA evidence to counter that score.) We prioritize cogAT because we have found it to be a really good indicator of success in our TAG program. It rates an aptitude for learning whereas NWEA is academic content. We start with cogAT scores and then reference the last 3 NWEA scores. We look at percentiles for NWEA and the Standard Age Score for cogAT (only verbal and quantitative are used, the non-verbal score does not generally figure into our decision). In general, we are looking for both cogAT scores to be above 120 (or high teens) and narrow it down from there. What scores get in varies year to year because of the kids. Some years the overall group has higher scores. A kid who might have been invited the year before does not because of a larger number of students who scored higher in that particular cohort.
Mrs. Ann McDonough
4th Grade TAG
Mrs. Jennifer Wohlfert
4th Grade TAG
Mrs. Julie Clark
5th Grade TAG
Mrs. Annette Cole
5th Grade TAG
Mr. Toby Tisdale
Central Grade Office
Please let us know if you would like any other information added here. Thank you!