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Committed to Excellence

Excel Gifted Education

Islip Middle School
211 Main Street
Islip, NY 11751
Phone: 631-650-8570
Fax: 631-650-8508

Excel Assistant: Regina DiPrima

Mrs. J. Johnson


About The EXCEL Program In Islip

The EXCEL Program is Islip School District's Gifted and Talented Program. The EXCEL curriculum is created to be sufficiently rigorous, challenging and coherent to meet the needs of diverse students. The goal of the EXCEL Program is to produce well-educated, knowledgeable students who have worked hard to master substantial bodies of knowledge; who thought clearly and critically about that knowledge; and who can demonstrate presentational skills used for authentic purposes. This model emphasizes developing a sincere interest in learning for students in which they are challenged to reach higher order thinking skills through methods of inquiry. The content of EXCEL curriculum is interdisciplinary and related to broad-based themes, allowing for in-depth learning within an area of study. The process of learning activities evoke higher level thinking, as curriculum is open-ended and encourages self-discovery. Group interaction and proof of reason are encouraged to help students strive for supporting answers with evidence and there is a high emphasis on social-emotional learning and metacognition along with the learning process allowing students ownership of their learning.


The EXCEL Program is designed to stimulate and challenge the academically gifted student. Therefore, objective instruments which measure academic ability and academic achievement are used to determine if a student is eligible for the program. The following criteria is used:

Level I Any student scoring 130 or more on the School Ability Index (SAI) of the Otis-Lennon School Abilities (OLSAT) test is invited into the program. All students are tested in the spring of their third grade year.

Level II Any student having an SAI of 125-129 and scoring a level 4 in both math and ELA on the New York State tests is invited into the program.

Level III Any student recommended by the classroom teacher, other professional staff or parent as exhibiting exceptional behavior as described on the Rating of Gifted Attributes Scale modified from the Renzulli-Hartman Scale is presented to the EXCEL Advisory Council. The Council analyzes the behaviors scale score, the SAI; the levels in reading and math; as well as any other available portfolio information.


Who is EXCEL for?
The EXCEL Program is Islip School District's Gifted and Talented Program. The program is designed to meet the needs of Gifted and Talented students who require challenge beyond the scope and sequence of what is offered in the general education classroom.

What is "Level III entry"?
When a student who does not meet the requirements of level I or level II entry pursues entry to the EXCEL Program.

My child does very well in school. Does this mean that he/she is a good candidate for EXCEL?
Not necessarily. Not all good students are Gifted and Talented students and not all high performing students belong in EXCEL. If a student's needs are being met in the general education classroom setting, it may be in his/her best interest to maintain focus on achieving goals through regular academic classes.

What is the structure of the EXCEL Program?
EXCEL is a pull-out program. Students are pulled from their academic classes to come to EXCEL on a weekly basis. *Students are still responsible for all work missed while attending EXCEL.

Once a child enters the EXCEL Program, does it matter if they entered through level I,II or III?
No. There is no differentiation between entrants of the EXCEL Program.

How do I start the process to have my child reviewed as a potential level III entrant to the EXCEL Program?

  1. Address a letter of intent to the EXCEL Program Coordinator explaining why you feel your child is a candidate.
  2. Attached to the letter, include any documents/artifacts which you wish to have reviewed by the EXCEL Committee. Documentation submitted may be from any/all subject areas and may include (but are not limited to) the following: homework assignments, assignments completed in school, projects completed at home, evidence of independent studies/endeavors. *Please be sure to include a description of any submissions (ex: "this assignment was completed at home with limited assistance").

How does the level III process work?

  1. Upon receipt of official request for level III consideration, the student's classroom teacher will be asked to complete a Renzulli-Hartman Scale of Gifted Attributes. (Should the review be taking place early in the academic year, the committee may choose to request the teacher from the year prior to complete the scale in lieu of or in addition to the current year teacher). If the student is in Middle School, the Renzulli-Hartman Scale may be sent to more than one teacher.
  2. The EXCEL Advisory Committee has meetings throughout the school year set by administration. Once all completed documents are received, the level III entry is presented at the next scheduled Advisory Committee Meeting. The Committee is comprised of teachers, administrators, community members and students. The documents are reviewed confidentially and anonymously- with the name and gender of the student unknown to the members of the committee. The following documents are reviewed by the EXCEL Advisory Committee:
    * The letter requesting level III entry
    * Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test Scores
    * NYS Test Scores
    * Documents submitted for review by parent and/or teacher/(s) and/or student
    * Renzulli-Hartman Scale
  3. Considering all presented documents, the committee renders a decision to include the student in the EXCEL Program as a level III entrant or advises that the student not enter the EXCEL Program at the present time. Official letter will be sent home to communicate the decision of the Committee.