Excel Program

For further information, please contact:

Smith Horn Mr. John Smith-Horn
Gifted and Talented Coordinator
Phone: (860) 474-1610

EXCEL is the South Windsor program for gifted and talented students in grades 6-8, with additional after school activities provided for gifted and talented students in grades 4-5. The EXCEL Program is designed to:

  • Eliminate the need for a pullout program for identified gifted students.
  • Provide program support to classroom teachers so that the needs of gifted and talented students are addressed through differentiation of instruction.
  • Increase the number of students served by addressing the multiple intelligence needs of all students.

EXCEL meets the needs of identified gifted and talented students through the application of multiple intelligence concepts and principles. Student needs would be met through differentiation of instruction. Differentiation of instruction includes:

  • Using appropriate diagnostic tools in identifying student needs to determine meaningful differences among students.
  • Compacting instruction to accelerate learning by providing open-ended activities and assignments with options, alternatives, and choices for students.
  • Using a variety of flexible, small-group instructional strategies.

Howard Gardner's conception of intelligence serves as the framework in support of differentiation of instruction. Currently, one EXCEL teacher at Timothy Edwards Middle School coordinates and provides instruction to teaching staff and for various programs for students in grades four through eight.


The South Windsor Public Schools follows the guidelines set forth by the Connecticut Department of Education for the identification of gifted/talented students. Initial gifted/talented identification will be based on data gathered from grade three. Subsequent identification will reoccur in grades four, five, six and seven. Historically, the South Windsor Public Schools has used various practices to identify the top level of academically advanced students. Below are the steps utilized for the 2018-2019 academic year:

  • Step 1. The student is nominated by the classroom teacher or any staff member who thinks the student should be considered for the screening process. This individual completes the student nomination form and rating scale and submits it to the building principal by May 18, 2018.
  • Step 2. The principal forwards the nomination forms to the EXCEL coordinator for review by May 25, 2018.
  • Step 3. Following the release of the final Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) scores and Scholastic Math Inventory (SMI) scores, the EXCEL coordinator applies a numerical rating for students in grades three through seven based on a weighted matrix.
  • Step 4. The EXCEL coordinator reviews the tabulated results with the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction to determine a "threshold" score.
  • Step 5. Parents of students identified as academically gifted will be notified of the district's decision and provided with information about the EXCEL program. (Annually, this decision is made after the end of the academic year. Notification to families of newly identified students will be made in July 2018.)

Students new to the district who have not taken the above exams will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

If a student is not identified as academically gifted at this time, he or she may be nominated and considered for program placement at a later date.