Paterson Public SchoolsPaterson Public Schools

Accelerated Programs

  • Welcome

  • Accelerated
    of Services
  • Gifted &
    PAGT at
    School 28
  • Gifted &
  • Gifted &
    Process 2021 
  • Accelerated
    Cohort/ IB

  • IB

  • AP

  • AP

  • S.T.E.P.S

  • Dual

  • Policy
    2464 &
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Welcome to Accelerated & Innovative Programs

(Gifted & Talented, Accelerated Cohort, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Honors and Dual Enrollment)

Core Belief

Department of Accelerated Programs recognizes that there are students who require differentiated programs and services beyond the core curriculum because of their exceptional abilities in a particular area. Our goal is provide a variety of learning opportunities, designed to meet the needs and challenge of these learners in various dedicated program settings. The district believes that these students should have a comprehensive articulated educational program, designed to maximize their unique abilities and to enhance personal growth. 

Guiding principles that will influence accelerated programs in their design, development and implementation focus on the importance of flexibility in the provision of services, ensuring that all students who could would, or should benefit have access to high level learning opportunities. 


Accelerated Programs Continuum of Services

In Grades K- 1 advanced abilities can shine early. Students in Grades K-1 who learn and comprehend at a faster pace and more complex level than their age peers are considered advanced learners. These students often acquire skills earlier and progress at an accelerated rate.

The district relies on teacher observations and professional judgment rather than being standardized or norm referenced with numbers and scores to identify these students. Examples of informal assessment measures to determine potential in a primary student could include portfolios, behavior checklists, teacher assessments, work samples, products and performances.

Teachers should provide early enrichment for those whose talents must be nurtured in order for those talents to fully develop. These students are not automatically identified as gifted once they enter Grade 2.


Grades 2-8 (Paterson Academy for the Gifted & Talented)

• High ability instructional grouping in mathematics, reading and language arts, and science
• Interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary learning around key concepts and issues
• Accelerated or specialized academic programs and independent study based upon individual educational needs
• The development of leadership skills and habits of mind
• Participation in Academic Competitions
• Counseling services that include psychosocial development, academic planning and career development
• Clubs incorporated into the school day in order to enable teachers the opportunity to service the students outside of the formal academic classes. The purpose is to provide extracurricular outlets within the course of the school day in order to enable our student population to maximize their unique abilities, to enhance personal growth and to enable the students to develop talents in the areas of greatest aptitude or that interest them.
• Service Learning which is an educational opportunity that combines SERVICE with LEARNING in intentional ways. Students learn and develop through active participation in organized service experiences that meet community needs.


Grades 9-12

• Accelerated Cohort Courses (Grades 9-10)
• IB Courses (Grades 11-12)
• Honors Courses (Grades 9-12)
• Advanced Placement Courses (Grades 10-12)
• Dual Enrollment courses in cooperation with colleges and universities (Grades 11-12)
• STEPS (Students Taking and Early Pathway to Success) Grade 12
• Accelerated or specialized academic programs and independent study based upon individual educational needs
• The development of leadership skills and habits of mind
• Academic, athletic and performing arts competition and/or performing groups;
• Opportunities for community-based learning, mentorships and internships
• Counseling services that provide psychosocial development, academic planning, and career development
• Clubs in order to enable teachers the opportunity to service the students outside of the formal academic classes. The purpose is to provide extracurricular outlets within the course of the school day in order to enable our student population to maximize their unique abilities, to enhance personal growth and to enable the students to develop talents in the areas of greatest aptitude or that interest them.
• Service Learning and CAS Creativity Activity Service which is an educational opportunity which combines SERVICE with LEARNING in intentional ways. Students learn and develop through active participation in organized service experiences that meet community needs.


About the Program

The Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented at School 28 is for students throughout the city in grades 2-8 who have qualified at the highest level through the gifted screening and identification process. These students need the challenge of a curriculum with highest rigor and expectations that will meet the students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. Students are grouped together in classrooms with other high achieving students where they work at an accelerated pace in all core subject areas, as well as engage in additional differentiated lessons, activities and project based learning.





Nomination, Screening, Identification & Selection of Students

All students not previously identified shall be eligible for nomination for the program each year. Nominations may be submitted by students themselves, teachers, parents or any person familiar with a student's abilities, potential, performance, and/or past records. Nominations shall be based on evidence of high level reasoning ability and/or the development of unique products that demonstrate unusual academic ability.

The screening stage creates a pool of students twice the size which will be selected for the program.  It uses existing data on the students at target grade levels.

  • Spring NJSLA results will be used for students currently in Grades 4-7 as a screening measure for achievement in academic areas assessed. *Some adjustment for ELA scores may need to be made in order to balance the size of the pools for each area.
  • Unit Assessments will be used for students currently in Grades 1-3 as a screening measure for achievement in academic areas assessed.


This stage of the process requires the use of more off-level assessments to discern who top students are in each domain.  The Cognitive Abilities Test is used at all grade levels to find the most promising students in three domains: verbal, mathematical, and nonverbal.  Since the program will be organized in the three areas of Mathematics, English, and Science, these aptitude scores will be useful in rank ordering the students within each area for selection of the top 10% in a given grade level.  In addition to the COGAT, it is important to obtain teacher recommendations on these learners in their area of strength, with appropriate indicators for aptitude in these areas.

Students in the Paterson Public Schools will be assessed for Gifted and Talented starting in mid-February of each school year, using multiple measures that may include:
• Cognitive Abilities Test
• NJSLA scores
• Teacher Questionnaire/Recommendations
• Student Essay
• Unit Assessments
• Grade Point Average (Report Card)
• Attendance/Lates

A selection committee, whose members have received training in gifted education, will review all applications as they are received. This committee makes the final decision as to which students qualify for the program. It is important to ensure that underrepresented groups, inclusive of English language learners and those with Individualized Education Plans or 504 plans are considered for selection. The use of nonverbal measures and the use of domain-specific scores should help with inclusion. However, a selection committee will review the files of students selected for the program to ensure that these groups are represented, and evidence considered that would be important to their inclusion. Any new students entering the Paterson Public Schools who are identified from another school district and miss the spring identification sessions will be screened during the first six weeks of the school year. Students must be enrolled and attending to participate in the Identification Process. Parents/Guardians should call the Deputy Director of Accelerated & Innovative Programs to plan to have their child screened.

Gifted and Talented Application Process 2021 


View our pre-recorded Virtual Open House below to learn more about our exceptional Gifted & Talented Program at the Paterson Academy for the Gifted & Talented at School 28.

GT Application Process Timeline for Parents and Guardians 2021








About the Program

The Accelerated Cohort at International is designed specifically for students who have the motivation and habits of mind to meet above-grade level academic standards. The mission of this program is to provide a rigorous academic experience for students who have demonstrated high achievement across content areas in middle school and would like to begin exploring our more advanced curriculum and content in their ninth grade year. ACI students stand ready to make a commitment to their education and the culture of scholarship at International High School.  ACI fosters student preparedness for International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment courses in Grades 10-12.  The Accelerated Cohort maximizes students’ learning experiences and their opportunities for admission to selective colleges and universities.

In addition to the PPS graduation requirements, ACI students will:
1)    Participate in a family orientation prior to acceptance into the program.
2)    Maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average each quarter.
3)    Complete subject-specific summer assignments/readings.
4)    Participate in freshmen orientation
5)    Participate in at least one extracurricular activity/sport each year/National History Day.
6)    Complete 50 hours total community service hours.
7)    Apply and interview for summer academic experiences on college campuses after freshman year (International staff will support students through this application process). 


Application Process
Advanced credit programs such as the International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment require mastery of pre-requisite skills to achieve the highest levels.
Applications for the Accelerated Cohort/International Baccalaureate Program at International High School will be available on the Accelerated Programs website beginning December 1st, 2021.
All initial applications will be reviewed by the IB Committee and scored based on multiple measures that may include:
1)    Academic Record (Report Cards) 
2)    Most recent NJSLA Scores    
3)    Cognitive Abilities Test (where applicable)
4)    Teacher Recommendation (2 recommendations required from a current Math, ELA, Science and/or Social Studies)
5)    Guidance Counselor Recommendation
6)    Attendance Record
7)    Portfolio or Student Work

We are looking for students that are committed to academic excellence and growth.
Approximately 125 students will be selected for admission to the Paterson Public School Accelerated Cohort/ International Baccalaureate. Students selected for the program will be admitted to an honors program aimed at preparing students for the rigors of advanced coursework during their 11th and 12th grade years. The selection committee at International High School will review applications.

This year the IB Applications process will be done completely online. After you submit your application online please email your guidance counselor informing them of your application.  Guidance counselors will share the link with the teachers you have selected to complete your recommendations.     
Student Application (Please click on the link below to complete your application)

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program spans grades 11-12 and affords students the opportunity to study six subject areas in-depth. The courses offered at International are Language A1 (English), Language B (Foreign Language – Mandarin, Spanish, or French), History of the Africa and the Middle East, Environmental Systems and Societies or Physics, Math (studies and standard level), and Visual Arts. To qualify as an IB DP candidate students must also fulfill 150 Community Action and Service hours, complete a research paper (Extended Essay: 2500 – 4000 words), and take a Theory of Knowledge course (philosophy). This course of study and success in the International Baccalaureate Organization’s external assessments allows students to receive the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma in addition to their New Jersey State High School Diploma.

pdf Choosing an International Baccalaureate or IB Program


Advanced Placement Program

The AP Program gives you a chance to experience college-level classes in high school and opens the door to earning college credit before you ever set foot on campus. You will get to dig deeper into subjects you love while building the skills and confidence you need to succeed in college.

Our district offers the following AP Courses: AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Economics MACRO, AP Environmental Science, AP Language & Composition, AP Literature & Composition, AP US History, AP World History, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP Research, AP Seminar, AP Spanish Language & Culture, AP Statistics, and AP Studio Art each of which culminates in optional exam in May. If you score a 3 or higher (on a scale of 1-5) you could earn college credit, skip intro level course, or both at thousands of U.S. colleges and universities. Earning credit in high school means paying for fewer credits in college. It also opens up your schedule, allowing you to take more electives, pursue a second major, or study abroad.

Regardless of your AP Exam score, taking AP courses can have a positive impact on your college applications. Admissions officers know college faculty play a big role in developing AP courses, so they know students who took AP pushed themselves to take challenging, college-level courses. This is something colleges like to see.

The Department of Accelerated Programs is committed to enhancing the Advanced Placement program in the district. As a result, we restructured the AP process, expanded course offerings, and identified more students for Advanced Placement coursework, as well as offered professional development through the College Board to existing and new AP teachers.


Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma Program


In keeping with the district’s mission of preparing students for college and career, select high schools began to offer the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma Program at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. These schools are among the approximately 1,800 schools worldwide that offer the program which allows students to develop research, collaboration, and communication skills to help them achieve success in college and in their careers.

The AP Capstone Diploma Program consists of two courses taken in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research. Students who score a 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP exams of their choosing earn the AP Capstone Diploma. This signifies outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills. Students who score a 3 or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research (but not on four additional AP Exams) earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

AP Seminar, typically taken in 10th or 11th grade, is a project-based learning course. Students choose and evaluate complex topics. They identify credibility and bias in sources. They develop arguments in support of a recommendation. Official AP Seminar assessments include research reports, written arguments, and presentations completed during the academic year.

AP Research is also a project-based course. Students design, execute, present, and defend a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest. They build on skills developed in AP Seminar by learning how to understand research methodology and employ ethical research practices. They also collect, analyze, and synthesize information to contribute to academic research. Each student’s official AP Research score is based on their academic paper, presentation, and oral defense.

STEPS: Students Taking an Early Pathway to Success


Senior Year at Passaic County Community College (PCCC)

STEPS is an educational alternative for up to ten students from the Paterson Public Schools. Paterson Public Schools has partnered with Passaic County Community College to provide approximately 10 juniors an opportunity to complete their senior year on campus at PCCC while obtaining college credits.

All tuition and fees will be paid for by the district.



Participant Profile

Current juniors who will have completed History, Science & Math requirements by the end of their junior year.



• The STEPS program will feature a close partnership between Paterson Public Schools and PCCC.
• Students will complete their high school English Language Arts requirement and Physical Education requirement at PCCC while accumulating college credits.
• Students will still be allowed to participate in High School Sports and all senior year activities, such as Prom, Graduation, etc.
• Students will follow a PCCC schedule.
• Mentors from PCCC and from Paterson Public Schools will be assigned to meet with the students.
• Guidance Counselors will continue to meet with the students.
• The students will meet as a cohort two times during the year. (December and May)



See attached. It is from last year but put there as a reference.



Applications for STEPS will be reviewed using multiple measures that will include consideration of the following:
• ˃460 Reading Writing on PSAT (College Readiness Benchmark for 11th grade)
• ˃510 Math on PSAT (College Readiness Benchmark for 11th grade)
• Algebra I NJSLA Scores
• Geometry NJSLA Scores < br/>• Grade 10 ELA NJSLA Scores
• GPA 3.0 or Better (unweighted)
• Teacher Recommendations/Teacher Evaluation Form
• Essay
• Attendance
• Extra-Curricular Activities/Community Service


Dual Enrollment Program


According to the U.S. Department of Education, dual enrollment is defined as "...students enroll in postsecondary coursework while also enrolled in high school..." in other words, it is when high school students (usually juniors and seniors) earn college credits while enrolled in separate courses that are not part of their high school curriculum.

Paterson Public Schools has established partnerships with the following post-secondary institutions:
• Passaic County Community College
• Fairleigh Dickinson University
• Rutgers University
• William Paterson University


Dual Enrollment opportunities are also available for English Learners to take college courses and accumulate college credits from William Paterson University. Students in Grades 11-12 enrolled in the following 2 courses are eligible to earn 3 college credits per course.

WPU Course/Credits
ESL 3100 Advanced ESL Reading - 3 credits
ESL 3110 Advanced ESL Writing - 3 credits


Rita Routé

Deputy Director of Accelerated
& Innovative Programs

Paterson Public Schools
90 Delaware Avenue
Paterson, NJ 07503
(973) 321-0819



Catherine Forfia-Dion                   

International Baccalaureate Principal
International High School
200 Grand Street
Paterson, NJ 07502

Nancy Castro

Principal of Paterson Academy
for the Gifted & Talented School 28

200 Presidential Boulevard
Paterson NJ 07522








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