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Creative Learning Program


The Creative Learning Program, North Haven's gifted and talented program, identifies gifted and talented students K-12 and provides differentiated educational opportunities suited to their needs.  The program is overseen by a facilitator at each level:  Paul Castiglione handles all elementary school students, Kristen Baron works with the middle school, and Thomas Marak is at the high school level.  Kristen Baron also serves as the district facilitator and coordinates efforts with the Student Services office.

There are two parts to the Creative Learning Program:  identification of students and programming for students.  The State of Connecticut requires districts to identify students, but does not require programming.  North Haven has been able to maintain limited programming for students over the years, thanks to the dedicated efforts of parents, students, teachers, and administration.

The identification process looks for students who have above-average ability, show creativity, and have high motivation.  When those three elements combine, gifted behaviors tend to exhibit themselves.  In the 4th and 8th grades, all students are screened for this program using a combination of CT Mastery Test scores and teacher recommendations.  A maximum of 5% for each grade level are identified using this process.

The Creative Learning program philosophy has always been that the 4th and 8th grade identifications are a starting point.  Students come to school showing their strengths and talents in a variety of ways, so the whole grade process does not always identify all the students who need this program.  The Individual Identification process, therefore, allows students to be nominated by parents, teachers, their peers, or themselves.  This process is open to students in all grades (K-12).  Nomination forms are available from the Creative Learning program facilitators listed above.  Each student is asked to fill out the application completely and return it to their facilitator.  A district-wide team reviews the applications and makes a decision.  Sometimes the committee decides to defer a decision and asks that the student to participate in the programming for up to a year so that more data can be collected.

The programs that are offered through Creative Learning strive to address the interests of students.  For the elementary and middle schools, these programs are offered as after-school activities.  Each activity has its own facilitator/coach who sets the meeting times and locations.  Program offerings currently include Future Problem Solving, Scenario Writing, Math League, History Day, Poetry, STEPS (Science and Technology Experimental Problem Solving) and Wordmasters.  Jazz Band, Special Chorus and the Art Workshop are also a part of the middle school program, but these programs have their own selection process to identify talented art and music students.  At the high school level, students start in their freshman year taking a course in Future Problem Solving which eventually runs more independently for them.  Students may also participate in Scenario Writing, Community Problem Solving, and several musical groups.  The Educational Center for the Arts program and the opportunity to take college courses also run through the Creative Learning program at the high school.  Students who are not in the Creative Learning program may participate in many of these programs with a teacher recommendation if space exists.  If you have any questions in regards to the Creative Learning Program, please contact the facilitator at your child's grade level.