Guidelines and Program Philosophy


    Guidelines for the Gemini Elementary Program


    Philosophy of the Program


    It is the stated philosophy of the Herricks Public School to provide an educational program that is responsive to the needs, interests, and abilities of all its students. Such offerings as our accelerated, enriched and special education programs, provide ample evidence that our practices reflect this philosophy. The GEMINI Program is designed to challenge the abilities of the academically talented student. The statement which follows attempts to define the characteristics of such students and is largely adapted from a New York State Education Department statement.


    -         Gifted children are those who, by virtue of outstanding abilities, are capable of high academic performance. These are children who may require different programs and/or services to realize their contribution to self and society.


    -         The gifted as a group possess varied as well as specific abilities, interests, and talents, which are complex and advanced far beyond the ordinary. A program for such children should focus on those with truly outstanding abilities and exceptional potential. 


    -         Research has identified certain traits which tend to characterize the gifted. They include quickness to learn, depth of understanding, independence, originality of thought and exceptional skill at communication. In addition the gifted explore ideas at an earlier age than their peers and tend toward activities involving intellectual skills. They deal with broad concepts and produce creatively at advanced levels. They frequently show interest in social, human, and spiritual problems sooner than others of the same age, becoming concerned with issues of morality, religion, aesthetic expression, and values when quite young. They are able to express themselves in a variety of ways by drawing on their many interests and abilities. 


    -         Verbal ability and communication skills are categories in which gifted persons particularly tend to excel. These abilities and skills need to be developed and refined at high levels.



    Not every gifted person has all the characteristics discussed here; nor are these characteristics apparent at every stage of development.


    Goals of the GEMINI Program

    A.    In recognition of the special abilities and needs of the gifted child, the goals of the GEMINI program are:


    1.     Identification of special talents and abilities.

    2.     Development of academic achievement and related skills.

    3.     Development of independence.

    4.     Development of study skills.

    5.     Development of self-awareness and understanding.

    6.     Development of interpersonal skills.

    7.     Development of communication skills.

    8.     Development of ways to retrieve, manage and use information.

    9.     Development of skills necessary for conducting independent investigative study.

    10. Development of skills necessary for the retention and transfer of learning.


    In summary, the goals are to identify and nurture special talents and abilities, and to develop creativity, leadership ability, critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills.


    Curriculum Design and Program Schedule


    The GEMINI Elementary Program is a district-wide program. GEMINI teacher(s) meet with students in small groups each week. The program develops talent by:


    -         Building a strong sense of self-efficacy

    -         Emphasizing the advancement of content for the gifted learner

    -         Providing for higher order thinking skills and processes

    -         Focusing learning experiences around major issues and themes with real world applications, and theoretical modeling within and across areas of study.

    -         Integrating national standards of gifted education

    -         Underscoring problem solving and decision making

    -         Encouraging divergent, flexible, and metacognitive thinking

    -         Facilitating inquiry-based discussion and student-generated high quality products


    Students are guided in their studies and provided with human and material resources. Teachers act as facilitators of information and direct students so that their learning is appropriately differentiated. The general GEMINI curriculum stresses cooperation, group work, and development of leadership skills through core units. Students are exposed to new areas of knowledge and capitalize on their interests and abilities.


    Extending the program outside of the school, by taking relevant field trips and by bringing students in contact with community resources and mentors, is essential to the development of gifted children. Therefore, in addition to the permanent GEMINI staff, parents, high school students and professionals within the district can be involved with students. Learning theories for the gifted, developed by Sternberg, Costa, Tannenbaum, Renzulli, Eisner, Feldhusen, Bloom, Karnes and others, are used as frames of reference as individual plans are developed with the students to meet their unique social, emotional, and academic needs. The curriculum is used to assist in the identification of special talents or abilities as defined by Gardner.


    Guidelines for GEMINI Students



    Students who qualify and accept the GEMINI program must fulfill the following commitments:


    -         GEMINI is considered a regularly scheduled assignment.


    -         GEMINI students are responsible for all classwork and home assignments given in their regular classes. Make-up work should be completed as soon as possible.


    -         GEMINI students are responsible for all tests given in their classes.


    Student performance in the GEMINI program is monitored closely and evaluated and reported periodically through the use of parent and teacher conferences. If withdrawal from the program is a consideration, a meeting with the parents, GEMINI teachers and other relevant school personnel is held before a final decision is made.