ACPS believes that students among all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups should be provided with an education that enables them to achieve excellence, developing their abilities to the fullest. Differentiated services beyond the regular curriculum will be provided for children in grades K-12 whose accomplishments and/or demonstrated abilities indicate the need for such services.
"Gifted students" means those students in public elementary and secondary schools, beginning with kindergarten through graduation, whose abilities and potential for accomplishment are so outstanding that they require special programs to meet their educational needs.
Overview of TAG Program Process:
- Permission for Assessment
- Data Collection
- Placement Committee Review
- Student placed in appropriate curriculum
- Appeals possible within ten (10) school days
Who can be eligible for the TAG Program?
A student who shows evidence of superior performance and exceptional academic potential. This includes:
- All ACPS students, K thru 12
- All genders, cultures & backgrounds
- All English Language Learners
What does my child do to qualify for TAG?
Students are referred to the TAG Program. Referrals may result from ability tests given to all students in grades 1 and 3, along with assessment data in K thru 5. Referrals may also be submitted by parents, teachers or community members during the first ninety (90) days of the school year.
Once referred, students must show evidence of superior performance in at least three of the qualifying criteria, one of which MUST be a standardized test (including):
- Ability Test
- Achievement Test
- Classroom Grades
- Characteristics & Classroom Behaviors
- Advanced Transfer Tasks
When does the TAG Program support students?
Kindergarten through 3rd grade: those who exhibit superior General Intellectual Aptitude (GIA)
4th through 12th grade: those who show superior achievement in Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA) (in language arts, math, science or social studies)
ACPS TAG Program services include:
Grades K-3: General Intellectual Aptitude (GIA)
Enriched & integrated classroom activities designed to enhance creativity and problem-solving without being specifically tied to any one subject area.
Grades 4*-5: Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA)
Math and Language Arts
Direct instruction from a teacher who specializes in teaching talented and gifted children with curriculum that is accelerated and significantly above grade level expectations.
Science and Social Studies
Differentiated Educational Plans (DEPs) which outline individual enrichment & extension activities to be completed in the general education classroom.
* For rising 4th grade GIA students, a new referral is required to transition to SAA services, otherwise GIA services continue.
Grades 6-12: Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA)
- Online Courses
- Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) Classes
- Independent Study
- Dual-Enrollment in college courses
- Access to Summer Residential Governors School
Here are responses to the questions we are most frequently asked by parents and guardians.
How much homework should I expect my child(ren) to bring home?
The Alexandria City Public School Board’s policy is that homework be an important and positive part of the educational experience, because it strengthens basic skills and helps students become independent learners and develop a sense of responsibility. Creative assignments allow students to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Homework is assigned regularly in Grades 1-5 and is appropriate to the age and stage of development. It is for the student to complete independently, as it is an extension of teacher-directed lessons. Children usually get homework four nights a week. Excluding independent reading time, the following guidelines 12 have been established by the School Board for homework: Grades K – 2: 10-20 minutes, Grades 3 – 5: 30- 60 minutes.
Whom do I contact to ask about Special Ed? Speech concerns?
Ms. Oliver coordinates all of the special education meetings at George Mason. Feel free to contact her should you have questions regarding your child’s current special education services or concerns. You can also contact your child’s special education teacher and case manager, or speech pathologist.
Whom do I contact to ask about TAG?
Our school counselor, oversees the Gifted and Talented program at George Mason. You can contact Ms. Lombardo with any questions you have about the process. It’s always a good idea to start by speaking with your child’s teacher.
What is the process for being identified for the TAG program?
The TAG plan as well as other information on the TAG program will be found aon the ACPS website.
Reading issues? Developmental or social concerns?
Please talk with your child’s teacher first. He/she will direct you to the appropriate staff member who can best assist you with addressing your needs.
What supplemental reading support is offered to students?
Reading Intervention is provided to first-grade students who meet the requirements of the program. Ms. Kristin Landell and Ms. Leanne Dellibovi, our reading specialists, will be assigned to work with students who are identified as needing reading support. Teachers may also refer students to our after-school tutoring program.
Does George Mason have a tutoring program? If so, how can my child participate?
Westminster Church and the George Mason PTA sponsor our after school tutoring program that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the library. Teachers recommend students in need of academic support. Community volunteers, church members and parents participate in the program and tutor students in grades 2-5. Parent volunteers are always welcome to tutor. If interested contact the front office. In addition, George Mason works closely with Community Lodgings, a non-profit that provides tutoring and enrichment. There will be a Fall informational night for families to review the components of the newly revised ACPS TAG plan and information will be posted on the district’s website. It’s always a good idea to start by speaking with your child’s teacher.
What is Family Life Education?
As instructed via the Virginia Department of Education, age-appropriate Family Life Education in grades K- 5. The following content areas may be covered: 1. Family living and community relationships; 2. Development of positive self-concepts and respect for others; 3. Parenting skills; 4. Substance use and abuse; 13 5. Education about and awareness of mental health issues. If you have additional questions, please see the classroom or PE teachers. If you wish to “opt-out” please work with the school principal, Mr. Brian Orrenmaa.