Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy School No. 20

School News

Gifted and Talented Academy Student Performance Report

Gifted and Talented Academy Stages Spectacular Student Showcase

The Passaic Gifted & Talented Academy (PGTA) School No. 20 opened its doors for the first time last September, and questions about what students learned were answered in a dynamic presentation at the First Annual PGTA Student Showcase.

The creative work of the students in grades 2 through 8 was on full exhibition filling both the gymnasium and the cafeteria with dozens of live presentations and performances, ranging from art, music and photography to science, engineering and sports.

“I’m so proud of all of our students because they put long hours and a high level of interest into creating presentations that are not only informative but also highly educational,” says
PGTA Principal John Mellody.

The presentations covered a wide array of topics and subjects in the performing and visual arts, as well as sports science.  Parents actively took part in many of the presentations, including:

  • Violin and piano lessons
  • 3D printing
  • Medical technology
  • Bridge building
  • Caroling
  • Writing, publishing and video production

Oliver, a sixth grade student, says, “I saw different things that excited me and my parents.  My mom was amazed by the art and violin lessons.  My dad enjoyed seeing students’ projects, drawings and 3D printing.”

PGTA’s goal is to prepare independent learners, who are responsible for their success and growth, for college and careers by providing opportunities to develop leadership skills, access innovative technologies, and enhance their creativity, gifts and talents.

“Creating events and opportunities for students to model the work and skills of professions of interest is essential to developing innovative thinkers, leaders and teammates who will become the problem-solvers of tomorrow,” says Mr. Mellody.

Students are selected to the program based upon academic and performance criteria, and extend their learning in one of four areas:

  • Academics
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Visual Arts

Mr. Mellody says that the rigorous classroom learning is augmented by after-school, club and Saturday programs that provide academic support for students in need while allowing students to explore all areas of learning.

Commenting on the Student Showcase, Mr. Mellody notes that input from parents and community members “is essential to sustaining a vibrant and welcoming culture at PGTA.”

The school principal thanked all the individuals who helped in staging the Showcase, along with all the parent volunteers who gave so generously of their time.

The event’s organizers say they are already looking forward to another showcase.

PG&T Academy Students Bring History To Life Through Wax Museum Exhibit

Fourth grade students at Passaic Gifted & Talented Academy recently lent new meaning to the phrase ‘bringing history to life’ by staging an incredible Wax Museum exhibit where they portrayed in full costume a wide range of historical figures.

The young students – 120 in all – dressed up as famous, and sometimes infamous, historical figures spanning 5 centuries and 6 continents in the first annual Wax Museum exhibit.

The inspiring event drew a very large crowd of parents and guardians, and represented the culmination of two months of research and preparation by the students.  Work began in February when students in the school’s four areas of study – visual arts, performing arts, academics and physical education – were asked to select and research a historical figure in their particular area (for instance, performing arts students were encouraged to pick an entertainer).  Once a figure was chosen, a corresponding book was read and reread, and each student had to use their research to show what they had learned through timelines, Venn diagrams, maps, information sheets and essays.

Of course, students then had to focus on finding historically accurate costumes, and formulate speeches to highlight the most important aspects of their subject’s life.

The historical figures included: Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama; entertainers from Aretha Franklin and Count Basie to Beyonce and Katy Perry; scientists and inventors such as Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein; athletes from Jackie Robinson and Wilma Rudolph to Cristiano Ronaldo and Derek Jeter; and many, many other interesting individuals who have shaped our history.

“This entire project was a great way for students to dig deeply into the biography genre,” explains PG&T Academy Principal John Mellody.  “Fourth graders learned to research, organize information, present data and engage an audience in a fun and interactive way. This project not only had an impact on the students who participated, but upcoming students as well, who are already thinking about who they will be in the fourth grade. The fourth grade team looks forward to hosting this event in future years to come.”