REACH (Gifted and Talented)

Interim Associate Superintendent
Scott Grens
Director of Curriculum & Instructional Support
Kerry Leuschel
Administrative Assistant for Learning and Teaching
Leslie Davisson

Elmhurst District 205's rigorous curriculum meets the needs of most students. However, some students demonstrate exceptional intellectual ability and need experiences extending beyond the regular curriculum. REACH provides curriculum enhancements based on academic needs and augments classroom instruction with enrichment and/or acceleration. Elmhurst District 205 provides enriched services in two programs: English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.

REACH ELA is designed to meet the needs of students demonstrating academic strengths in the area of literacy in Grades 3 through 8. REACH math is an accelerated math program and begins in 3rd grade for qualifying students; REACH ELA identification is not required for advanced math.

New to District 

Families who are new to District 205 may request that their child(ren)'s information and data be reviewed for placement in the REACH gifted program. Please contact Kerry Leuschel ( for information. New to District testing took place on August 2nd from 9:00am-12:00pm as well as August 3rd from 1:00-4:00pm.  If you missed either of these testing windows, please reach out to Kerry Leuschel ( to see if there are any additional opportunities.
New-to-District Student Placement Guidelines 

New to REACH Informational Meeting 

The New to REACH virtual informational meetings were held on June 3rd & August 23rd at 7:00 p.m.  The presentation from the informational sessions is below, and please feel free to contact Kerry Leuschel ( if you have any questions.

REACH Program Overview

Summer Bridge Opportunity

Any student who has qualified this school year for placement in a REACH  math level course for the 2021-22 school year will be able to participate in a Summer Bridge course. This is a 6-week course from June 14-July 23rd. It is an optional course and students will be assigned specific tasks through Khan Academy that will help them bridge some of the skills they will need for the upcoming school year. It is a self-paced course that will be completely online. A teacher will be assigned to students and available weekly to work through and support students as needed through virtual office hours. Information will be sent to all eligible families the first week in June. Please check your spam or junk mail if you have not received information as of yet. 

REACH Initial Identification

The REACH identification process consists of a review of achievement data, cognitive assessment data and teacher rating scales based on student performance in the classroom. Each school year, both second and fifth grade students take the CogAT (Cognitive Ability Assessment) and MAP assessment and are reviewed for REACH placement the following school year. This is typically completed in January with an appeal process in March. 

Rubrics for the 2021-22 are being finalized and will be posted when available.
REACH Grade 3 Placement Rubrics: 

REACH 6th Grade Placement Rubrics: 


Gifted Instruction Program Analysis and Recommendation Presentation

On Tuesday, March 16th, 2020 information was shared with the Board of Education in regards to the Gifted Instruction program analysis that has occurred as well as recommendations for gifted instruction services. The presentation is available below. At this time, the Gifted Instruction Program recommendations have been placed on pause until the new Administration team has collaborated and discussed next steps. 

Gifted Instruction Program Analysis and Recommendation Presentation   

Illinois Definition of Gifted & Talented

Children/youth with outstanding talent who perform or show potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with other children/youth of their age, experience, and environment. A child shall be considered gifted and talented in any area of aptitude, and specifically, in language arts and math, by scoring in the top 5% locally in the area of aptitude.

Illinois General Assembly, Illinois Compiled Statues Section 5, Public Act 094-0151, Article 14A

Curriculum Overview


English Language Arts


K-Grade 2

Classroom enrichment

Classroom enrichment

Grades 3-5



Grades 6-8 REACH English

Single-Accelerated Math

Double-Accelerated Math

Grade 9-12

Honors English

Advanced Placement© (AP©) English

Advance College Project (ACP) English

Honors Math

Enriched Math

Advanced Placement© (AP©) Math

Advance College Project (ACP) Math



The REACH teacher meets with grade-level teams throughout the year to provide enrichment opportunities and differentiated curricular resources that are implemented in the general classroom by the classroom teacher.


REACH ELA is an enrichment program for which students meet for 30 minutes daily with the REACH teacher during the Acceleration Block. The curriculum is an extension of grade-level curriculum, which is developed using ELA Common Core State Standards (CCSS). A variety of resources, both in print and virtual, are utilized.

REACH Math at the elementary level is an accelerated program in which students receive a compacted curriculum that leads to students working on above-grade-level content. Elementary REACH Math covers through Grade 7 Common Core Math Standards, preparing student to enroll in Grade 8 Math Common Core State Standards, or PreAlgebra, in Grade 6. REACH Math in elementary school prepares students for the Double Accelerated math pathway in Middle School.

MIDDLE SCHOOL (Grades 6-8)

REACH English is a middle school-level course providing students with enhanced learning opportunities utilizing complex texts and tasks while employing grade-level ELA Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

REACH Math in middle school is differentiated in two accelerated pathways. The single-accelerated pathway is intended for students who demonstrate academic readiness for an accelerated and compacted curriculum in their 6th grade year, and which covers through the equivalent of high school Algebra in Grade 8. The double-accelerated pathway is a continuation of the elementary REACH Math pathway covering the equivalent of high school Geometry in Grade 8.

HIGH SCHOOL (Grades 9-12)

Myriad opportunities for enrichment and acceleration are available to students at York High School. Options include, but are not limited to Honors, Enriched, Advanced Placement© (AP©), and Advance College Project (ACP) courses.

ELA Enrichment

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) defines enrichment as "activities that add or go beyond the existing curriculum. They may occur in the classroom or in a separate setting, such as a pull-out program."

The classroom teacher is the primary source of enrichment, providing extension opportunities for all students. S/he works with flexible groups of students who demonstrate through classroom performance the need for learning extensions in ELA. REACH teachers support classroom teachers with differentiating instruction and developing rigorous activities to meet children’s learning needs.

The REACH program provides various academic enhancements based on the age and academic needs of students. REACH ELA (grades 3-5) and REACH English (grades 6-8) are enrichment programs that augment grade-level standards and promote critical and creative thinking.


Grade Level




Classroom enrichment (CCSS K)


Grade 1 ELA (CCSS 1)

Classroom enrichment (CCSS 1)


Grade 2 ELA (CCSS 2)

Classroom enrichment (CCSS 2)


Grade 3 ELA (CCSS 3)

Grade 3 REACH ELA* (CCSS 3)


Grade 4 ELA (CCSS 4)

Grade 4 REACH ELA* (CCSS 4)


Grade 5 ELA (CCSS 5)

Grade 5 REACH ELA* (CCSS 5)


 English 6 (CCSS 6

REACH English 6 (CCSS 6)


English 7 (CCSS 7)

REACH English 7 (CCSS 7)


English 8 (CCSS 8)

REACH English 8 (CCSS 8)


English 9

English 9 Honors


English 10

English 10 Honors


English 11

 AP© Language & Composition 


 Senior English Elective 

AP© Literature & Composition


*Elementary REACH ELA meets during the Acceleration Block.

Elementary School

Enrichment (K - Grade 2)

REACH teachers support early elementary teachers with instructional strategies and resources to help enhance curriculum in Kindergarten through Grade 2. The ELA curriculum is based in the respective grade-level ELA Common Core State Standards.

REACH ELA (Grades 3-5)

Students in REACH ELA meet for 30 minutes daily, during the Acceleration Block and work directly with the REACH teacher. REACH ELA augments grade-level standards using above-grade-level texts and requiring students to complete complex tasks. 

Middle School

REACH English (Grades 6-8)

REACH English is a middle school course that meets daily. REACH English enhances grade-level standards by utilizing resources and materials that are above grade level in content and complexity. 

High School

Honors English

Honors English prepares students for Advanced Placement© (AP©) English. Honors English courses require students to demonstrate a sophisticated ability to read and analyze texts. Expectations of Honors-level students include analysis of more than one text concurrently as well as quicker acquisition of skill targets or objectives, especially in the area of writing.

Advanced Placement© (AP©) English

Advanced Placement© (AP©) English courses expose students to the type of scholarly environment and rigor that is comparable to an introductory college course.  Students are strongly encouraged to take the AP© exam in spring.

Advance College Project (ACP) English

The Advance College Project (ACP) at Elmhurst District 205 is a partnership with Indiana University in which students may enroll in a college-credit bearing course while in high school. Students receive an Indiana University transcript upon completion of their high school academic career. 

Math Enrichment

The classroom teacher is the primary source of mathematics enrichment, providing extension opportunities for all students. S/he may work with flexible groups of students who demonstrate, through classroom performance, the need for learning extensions in mathematics. REACH teachers support classroom teachers with differentiating instruction and developing rigorous activities to meet students' learning needs.

Math Acceleration

Acceleration, as defined by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), is "a strategy of progressing through education at rates faster or ages younger than the norm." 

Beginning in Grade 3, REACH Mathematics is an accelerated program in which standards are compacted, resulting in students covering more content than is typically covered in a school year. This leads to students completing curriculum ahead of grade-level standards.


Grade Level

 Single Accelerated 

Double Accelerated


Grade 3 Math (CCSS 3)


Grade 3 REACH Math (CCSS 3 & 4)


Grade 4 Math (CCSS 4)


Grade 4 REACH Math (CCSS 4 & 5)


Grade 5 Math (CCSS 5)


Grade 5 REACH Math (CCSS 6 & 7)


Math 1

(CCSS 6, 7



(CCSS 8)


Math 2

(CCSS 7)


(CCSS 78




(CCSS 8)




Geometry (Honors)

Algebra 2 & Trig Honors/Enriched



 Algebra 2 & Trig

Algebra 2 & Trig H

PreCalculus Honors

Enriched & AP Stats


Algebra 2


PreCalculus Honors

 AP© Calculus AB

AP© Calculus BC



College Algebra

AP© Calculus AB

AP© Calculus BC

AP© Calculus BC

ACP Calculus III


*Math extension is accomplished through enrichment provided by the classroom teacher.

¹This is a general overview of the math opportunities. Additional pathways and courses can be found here.

Elementary School

Enrichment (K - Grade 2)

REACH teachers support early elementary teachers with instructional strategies and resources to help enhance mathematics curriculum in Kindergarten through Grade 2.

REACH Mathematics (Grades 3-5)

REACH Mathematics is a compacted and accelerated course, meeting daily during the student's regularly scheduled Mathematics block. REACH Mathematics in elementary school covers the equivalent of 5 years of mathematics content in three years, using above-grade-level texts and requiring students to complete complex tasks. Students successfully completing REACH Mathematics in elementary school are "double-accelerated" in the area of math and prepared to enroll in PreAlgebra in Grade 6.

Middle School

Single-Accelerated Mathematics

The single-accelerated mathematics pathway begins with PreAlgebra in Grade 7. Students identified for PreAlgebra demonstrate a mastery of Grade 6 math content prior to their 6th grade year. Students in single-accelerated math are prepared for Algebra in Grade 8. This pathway leads students to Advanced Placement (AP©) Calculus in Grade 12.

Double-Accelerated Mathematics

The double-accelerated mathematics pathway begins with PreAlgebra, or the equivalent of Grade 8 mathematics standards, in Grade 6. Students identified for PreAlgebra demonstrate mastery of Grade 7 math content prior to their 6th grade year. Students in double-accelerated math are prepared for Algebra in Grade 7 and Geometry in Grade 8. This pathway leads students to Advanced Placement© (AP©) Calculus in Grade 11, and Advanced College Project (ACP) mathematics in Grade 12.

High School

Honors Mathematics

Honors-level mathematics courses are rigorous and require students to demonstrate a sophisticated ability to approach and solve rich mathematics problems. Honors-level mathematics prepares students for Advanced Placement© (AP©) Math courses.

Enriched Mathematics

Enriched mathematics courses are extensions of Honors-level mathematics with the addition of BASIC programming and Mathematica. Enriched-level courses prepares students for Advanced Placement© (AP©) Math courses.

Advanced Placement (AP©) Mathematics

Advanced Placement© (AP©) Mathematics courses expose students to the type of scholarly environment and rigor that is comparable to an introductory college course.  Students are strongly encouraged to take the AP© exam in spring.

Advanced College Project (ACP) Mathematics

ACP is a partnership between Elmhurst District 205 and Indiana University (IU) in which students are dually enrolled in college coursework while in high school. Students earn college credit for completed ACP courses and receive an Indiana University transcript at the conclusion of their high school academic career. ACP Math courses are currently in development.

For more information about the high school mathematics program, visit the York Math Department website.

Identification Overview

The majority of District 205 students are best served in the general classroom. Students who demonstrate an extraordinary aptitude for learning, or a degree of readiness to learn at particularly high levels, are identified for REACH. The criterion used to evaluate the aptitude of students include, but are not limited to, multiple standardized instruments. This is in an effort to identify students who perform at a high level and those who demonstrate a potential for high performance in academic settings, whether enrichment in the area of ELA and/or acceleration in Mathematics.

All students in grades 2 and 5 are screened for REACH beginning in grades 3 and 6, respectively. The following academic data are analyzed:

  • NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP): MAP is a nationally-normed criterion-referenced achievement test.

  • Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT): CogAT is a standardized assessment measuring learned reasoning and problem-solving ability.

  • Teacher Observations: teachers provide feedback regarding students' progression along grade-level standards.

Identification reflects local performance, or in other words, a student's performance in comparison to his/her Elmhurst District 205 grade-level peers. Students consistently demonstrating above-grade-level performance are identified for REACH. Notifications are sent to students who qualify for programming.

Families of students identified for REACH programming are notified via SchoolMessenger by February 1.

Students New to District 205

Students who are new to Elmhurst District 205 are considered for REACH based on available assessment and performance data. Previous gifted identification and/or placement in another school system does not guarantee placement into Elmhurst District 205 REACH. New students should provide the district with any standardized assessment results from a previous district, which may include, but are not limited to NWEA MAP, OLSAT, CogAT, IOWA, etc. In the event that standardized assessment data is not available, screening assessments are administered by District 205 staff.


Students mature and grow at different rates, and a change in placement may be warranted later in a student's academic career. However, earning a high grade in a particular course or wanting more challenge does not necessitate REACH placement; in most cases, a high grade is indicative of appropriate placement and strong success in the current course.

Students who are identified for REACH consistently demonstrate above grade-level performance. For students demonstrating a need for academic extension or acceleration that is beyond the regular classroom, parents, teachers, or administrators may submit an Application for REACH Appeal. Appeals are considered and reviewed each Spring for identification and placement beginning in the next school year.

The following academic data are reviewed by a committee comprised of teachers and administrators:

  • NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
  • Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT)
  • Fountas & Pinnell (F&P) reading level
  • District 205 Common grade-level assessments
  • Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) test
  • Student work (e.g. writing sample or problem set)

Applications for Appeal may be submitted by a parent, teacher, or administrator once per school year. Applications for Appeal are available following the release of REACH notifications each year. Appeal decisions are final for the subsequent school year.

REACH Math Transition

REACH Math courses offer fast-paced math instruction, and are targeted for students who learn math quickly with less repetition. Students identified for REACH Math have demonstrated, through multiple measures, that they are ready to make the transition to an accelerated math course.

Students moving from grade level to REACH Math are encouraged to spend time over the summer reviewing and learning math content, particularly if they are bypassing curriculum. For example, students moving from Grade 4 Math (CCSS 4) to Grade 5 REACH Math (CCSS 6 & 7) bypass direct instruction in the equivalent of Grade 5 Math (CCSS 5). Similarly, students making the transition from grade-level to single-accelerated math, or from single- to double-accelerated math bypass direct instruction in a year-long math course.

To help students to prepare for the transition to an accelerated math course, they are encouraged to participate in Summer Bridge Math.

Summer Bridge Math

Summer Bridge Math is strongly encouraged for students transitioning to accelerated math, as they may not have the opportunity to receive direct instruction in some topics.

Students transitioning to an accelerated math course are provided the opportunity to enroll in a Summer Bridge Math course that will be set up by Elmhurst District 205. The course is largely virtual (online) and uses Khan Academy as a resource. Students are enrolled in the appropriate level and parents may monitor their child's progress.

Summer Bridge Math formally runs during June and July. Students eligible for Summer Bridge Math are automatically enrolled and receive instructions on accessing the course via email in May/June. Exact dates are provided to participants in this communication.

Withdrawal & Exit

A parent/guardian wishing to withdraw her/his child from REACH or decline REACH services must contact their building principal. 

In the event that a student exhibits significant struggle in class and/or is earning a grade below a C, a Withdrawal Request may be submitted by a teacher or administrator. This may be due to academic difficulty, and/or other issues, such as social-emotional or behavioral challenges, that impact the student's learning. Submission of a Withdrawal Request does not immediately result in a student's exit from the program, and initiates the following:

  1. The principal contacts a parent/guardian to inform them of the student's difficulty and families are invited for a conference.
  2. A Learning Plan is devised for the student and effective for a predetermined amount of time, typically 4-6 weeks.
  3. Students who are successful following the Learning Plan continue in the relevant course(s). Students who are not successful with the Learning Plan may be exited from the respective placement.
  4. Decisions to exit students are made on a case-by-case basis and communicated to families by the principal.

Students who are exited from REACH may be considered for placement at a later time and when they demonstrate need for extension or acceleration.