Special Programs

Enrichment & Advanced Academics

Quest Program

Curriculum Updated July 2014

The Mendham Township Elementary School offers two programs through Gifted and Talented Services, Quest and Gateways. Students who are identified as needing advanced programming in a given content area i.e Math/ELA/SS/Science will be provided with appropriated leveled series that meet the needs of the individual. Programming will be determined on an individual basis. Parents will be notified and consulted if a student is identified for the Quest or Gateways programs.


The Elementary School’s grade 3 and 4 Quest programs engage students in advanced collaborative and critical thinking to problem solve real-world STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) based learning activities. Students are challenged to use effective oral and written communication skills to research, collect data, analyze information and provide strong rationale for outcomes and proposals.

The Quest Program engages students in collaborative work that requires high levels of critical and creative thinking. Students are identified and screened during the spring of grade 2. The CogAt, SAGES-2 assessment as well teacher recommendations are used to identify students that are demonstrating readiness to participate in this program. Students attend Quest one period per week during their Mastery/Enrichment block, and one zero period before school. Students participating in the Quest Program are expected to maintain academic classroom performance and appropriate behavior throughout the school year.

The grade 3 and 4 Quest classes meet weekly during Mastery Enrichment periods. Quest students may also participate in additional special programs, competitions, or field trips coordinating with their units of study. In addition to the Quest program, all students in grades K-4 participate in weekly enrichment classes delivered by the G&T and classroom teachers.

Overview of Eligibility

All MTES students in grade 2 will be screened for Quest services beginning with CogAt Testing. Students found eligible for Quest services in grade 2 will remain eligible for Quest services through grade 8.

All students will again be screened for Quest services in grade 5. The grade 5 screening shall not terminate Quest eligibility for any student regardless of score, rather, grade 5 students who earn in the 96th percentile (CogAT) Composite or Non-Verbal will be added to Quest service rosters for grade 6. In grades 7 and 8, all “interested” students shall have the opportunity to participate in Quest 7 and 8 based upon successful completion of preliminary summer projects.

**Students new to the district may be recommended for participation upon registration, however must be screened and meet minimum eligibility criteria.

Grade 2 Eligibility Process for Grades 3-8

Stage 1 - Screening

Step 1

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is administered to all students in grades 2. Students receiving a (CogAT) Composite or Non-Verbal Standard Age Score of 125 or above continue to step 2.

*A Standard Age Score of 125 represents scores in the 8th stanine and 94th percentile of national scores.

*A standard Age Score of 130 represents scores in the 9th stanine and the 98th percentile of national scores.

Step 2

Students are assessed using the Sages-2 Aptitude Assessment (Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary School Students) *Parent permission is required.

Step 3

Two teachers will complete the Renzulli-Hartman Checklist.

Stage 2- Identification

*Students must meet the minimum score requirements listed below to be eligible for Quest services:

CogAt: Standard Age Score of 125 or higher on the Composite or Non-Verbal sections.

Sages-2: Aptitude score of 125 or higher (on either section)

Renzulli-Hartman Checklist: Students must receive at least 68 out of 72 points on one or both of the Checklists.

*A score of 68 out of 72 indicates the student consistently demonstrates 95% of the critical and creative behaviors listed on the Renzulli-Hartman Checklist.

*Appeal Process

If a child does not meet the entrance requirements for Quest services, a parent or teacher can request the student be assessed through the appeal process. All appeals must be filed in writing to the principal by June 30th for consideration for the following school year.

*Students must demonstrate above local average ability on the CogAT Composite Standard Age Score (125 or above) to be considered for appeal.

  • The appeal will consist of administration of the SAGES-2 test (if not already taken) and an opportunity for the student to demonstrate critical and creative thinking skills in a given performance task.
  • The students will be able to select from either a linguistic (language based) or mathematical/spatial performance task.
  • The students will complete the task in a small group setting, and be assessed using the Creative and Critical Thinking rubric.
  • The student must receive a score 27 on the rubric to receive Quest services.



Gateways (Language Arts)

Grades K-4 *

Gateways is an advanced academic program which provides parallel or accelerated instruction in language arts for students who need additional or advanced coursework to continue his or her academic growth. If a student has shown academic skills far beyond his or her peers, his or her teacher may recommend the child for additional language arts or cognitive assessments.

Eligibility is determined on an as need basis for students in grades K-2.

In grades 3-4, students who qualify will participate in a pull out social studies program. The parallel curriculum will address the same essential questions and standards as the grade level social studies curriculum but will utilize a language based approach to enhance reading and writing skills.

*Assessment needed prior to participation.


Ms. Dori Smyth G&T/STEM


Math Enrichment


Text art for Math

Math Enrichment is designed to stretch the mathematics skills of those students who demonstrate advanced math abilities for their grade level. This program challenges students and expands their math knowledge of basic concepts, operations, applications, critical thinking, and problem solving.


Mrs. Nancy Fuller, Math Teacher


Advanced Math

Grades K-4 *

Advanced Math

Students demonstrating advanced math aptitude will be assessed for advance math work. Students who perform exceptionally well on grade-level benchmark assessments, unit tests and standardized tests scores are administered further testing to determine eligibility for placement in the Advanced Math program. Students are advanced typically one grade level ahead, (i.e. grade 4 students receive gr. 5 math curriculum). Students will attend math class separately from their regular classroom with the math specialist and are required to complete the advanced math curriculum in line with other students of that same grade.

*Assessment needed prior to participation.


Mrs. Nancy Fuller, Math Teacher


Advanced Artists

Please click here for Advanced Artists Program Presentation

Student Artwork Student Artwork

Art Media Explorers

Exploring Art Media

Art Media Explorers
Special Project– Fall/Winter/Spring

Student using plaster

With the creation of the Advanced Artist Group we began to notice the need of students, very motivated, to learn through exploration. The Art Media Explorers program offers students who are interested in the process of artistic creation the chance to experiment with new and different mediums. The Art Media Explorers art program is designed to bridge the gap between the regular grade level art curriculum and the Advanced Artist Program. Student are assessed prior to admission to the Program

  • Interested students may sign up with a limit of 16 students between 2nd and 4th grade.
  • Teacher Recommendation
  • A lottery system will be used if it is necessary to keep the class at a reasonable size.


Content and Program Expectations

  • 3-Dimensional Design Techniques
  • Digital Art
  • A Collaborative installation sculpture
  • Objectives will reflect age appropriate elements and principles: NJCCCSA varying between 2nd and 4th grade levels.
  • We will hold a special presentation at the culmination of the project.



  • Teacher Assessment will be based on rubrics designed for each project.
  • Student Assessment will be rubric and checklist generated by the students at the beginning of the assignment and completed on conclusion of the project.
  • The students will reflect ton their finished work using Artist Statements
  • The students will participate in group critique discussions. Logistics
  • Offered to 2nd - 4th grade students.
  • 16 students maximum per group.

The course will run for one (1) morning per week beginning in October.

Click here for Advanced Artists and Art Media Explorers Presentation.


Mrs. Sarah Bizzarro, Art Teacher




Tiger Leaders

Students in grade 4 that interested in giving back to their community may show their interest in join our Tiger Leaders group. Students are ask to submit an essay to our Tiger Leaders Coordinators explain why they feel that would be a good Tiger Leader for our school. Students are engaged in service for our school and surrounding community and participate in fundraising and awareness effort for charitable organizations.

Support Services


I&RS Information and FAQ's

Frequently asked questions . . .

What is Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS)?

I&RS is a state mandated system of clearly defined steps that are taken to assist a struggling student in improving educational outcomes. These steps are taken by a multi-disciplinary team, which meets, regularly, to monitor the success of students identified through the referral process, as needing specific academic and/or behavior “interventions” in order to be successful. These interventions are monitored over a period of time and may be modified, enhanced or discontinued as indicated by the needs of the student involved. The I&RS team aids students in the general education program, but also provides support for students determined to be in need of special education programs.

What are the functions of Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS)?
As stated in N.J.A.C. 6A:16-8.1, the functions of I&RS are as follows:

Identify learning, behavior and health difficulties of students;

Collect thorough information of the identified difficulties;

Develop and implement action plans which provide for appropriate interventions based on the information collected and the desired results;

Provide support, guidance and professional development to school staff to properly identify and implement interventions designed to address student difficulties;

Actively involve parents and guardians in the development and implementation of I&RS action plans;

Coordinate the services of community-based social and health provider agencies and other community resources;

Maintain accurate records of all requests for assistance and all I&RS action plans;

Review and assess the effectiveness of the I&RS action plans in achieving the outcomes identified and make modifications as necessary; and,

Make recommendations to the school principal for improving school programs and services.


How can we determine if a student needs to be referred to the I&RS Team?
If a student exhibits specific observable behaviors that indicate that he or she is experiencing learning, behavior or health difficulties, he or she may benefit from a referral to the I&RS Team.

What are some of the specific observable behaviors to look for?
Any of the following may indicate that a student is experiencing difficulties:

Failing grades


Not completing assignments

Falling asleep in class

Chronic absenteeism

Poor participation

Erratic behavior

Defiance of authority

Bullying behaviors

Eating disorders

Alcohol, tobacco or other drug use

Poor personal appearance and hygiene

Suicide attempts

Anything out of the ordinary for that student


What are the steps that are taken in the I&RS process?

1)Teacher request for I&RS intervention;

2)I&RS meeting is held;parents are invited

3)Action Plan is designed and implemented; and,

4)Action Plan is monitored and reviewed; this plan is revised, expanded, or discontinued depending on need.


Who participates in the I&RS process?
The regulations requiring I&RS allows the building I&RS teams to be as flexible as necessary in order to perform the necessary functions. Typically, the following individuals participate:

Principal and Teachers

Support staff: School Counselor, Nurse, Learning Disabilities Consultant; Psychologist; Social Worker

Other: Parent; Community Agency Representative

What happens if the I&RS Action Plan succeeds or does not succeed?
If the I&RS Plan is successful in meeting the needs of the student, then the Plan may continue to be maintained and monitored or the Plan may be discontinued. If the I&RS Plan is not successful, then additional information is collected, additional professional advice is secured and additional resources are identified. In some instances, referral to a basic skills or a special education program may be necessary.

What if I need more information?
Any of these district employees will be able to give you more information:

  • MTES School Counselor Ms. Carolyn Johnson cjohnson@mendhamtwp.org
  • Principal Mrs. Julianne Kotcho jkotcho@mendhamtwp.org
  • Reading Specialist Mrs. Jean Sosna jsosna@mendhamtwp.org
  • Math Specialist Mrs. Nancy Fuller nfuller@mendhamtwp.org

Math Lab

Mathematics Learning Lab

Welcome to the Mathematics Learning Lab!

The Mathematics Learning Lab is a resource to assess strengths and weaknesses of essential mathematical concepts and skills. Early morning math support is also available.

Math Blasters

Skill Builders



Frequency of attendance depends upon severity of need of remediation and/or beyond grade-level enrichment. Length of participation in the Lab depends upon progress made towards benchmark goals.

Criteria for identifying needs and selection for participation in the various Lab programs come from either below or above expected grade-level results on the following assessments, as well as teacher recommendations:

NJSLA  3rd and 4th grade

GO MATH! Benchmark Assessments

Classroom Performance

Fact Fluency Scores

Students may then be assessed using the Key Math Diagnostic Assessment.

Specific strengths and weaknesses for each student are identified to determine the appropriate individual or small group instruction plan. Objectives are determined and progress monitored for each individual student, tracking achievement towards and/or above grade level performance.

Meeting the needs of each and every student is our goal, while ensuring self-esteem, building confidence in learning, and making math fun!

Special Education

Special Education services are available for students with diverse learning needs through the multidisciplinary Child Study Team. Students eligible for Special Education receive special academic services to meet I.E.P. learning goals. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years are serviced by the preschool team which includes an integrated preschool class and PSD classroom. Resource educators in grades K-4 collaborate with general education classroom educators to instruct and support students eligible for special education services in small groups and within their classrooms. Regular education teachers are provided professional development to implement progressive interventions to meet the needs of diverse learners in the general education classroom.

Please contact our Special Services Office for additional information.


Click for more information

Mr. Robert Koroski, Director of Special Services



ELA Learning Lab & SMART Time

ELA Learning Lab & SMART Time

The ELA Learning Lab is designed to provide remedial support services in language arts. Students are recommended for Learning Lab based on teacher recommendation and benchmark assessments. Students participate 1-3 periods during the day in place of a special area class. Please contact Mrs. Sosna directly for specific information.

Our SMART Time program is available for students in grades 3 & 4 needing additional support in reading and writing up to three (3) early morning periods per week. Students are invited to attend 1-3 morning periods per week upon recommendation of the classroom teacher. Please contact Mrs. Jean Sosna, Reading Specialist for additional information.

Mrs. Jean Sosna, Reading Specialist