Dear Students and Families,
Welcome to Morton Magnet Middle School, Home of the Panthers. My name is Rob Carmichael and I am the Gifted/Talented (GT) Facilitator at Morton. I look forward to communicating with you throughout the school year.
Morton Magnet School has maintained an outstanding record of academic excellence. Students who attend Morton are well prepared to meet the academic rigors of high school. Our mission is to provide a rigorous academic experience that is based on research and best practices and enables all students to achieve their highest potential.
The goal of the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program is to identify gifted and exceptionally talented students within the Omaha Public Schools, nurture their social/emotional development and enhance their curriculum experience so these unique individuals may reach their fullest potential. At Morton Magnet the program is designed to address student needs through a combination of the following methods:
o Classroom Differentiation
o Honors and Advanced Classes
o Enrichment Activities and Clubs
Our Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program at Morton is based on the Omaha Public Schools “Best Practices”. We want to support your high ability learner. We will be making sure our courses are differentiated. We will support staff through collaboration and professional development and by planning and providing opportunities for your child.
Should you have any questions throughout the year, contact Mr. Rob Carmichael, 531-299-5929 or Robert.Carmichael@ops.org. Thank you for supporting your student academically/socially/emotionally, which will result in their sterling success.
Morton Magnet School
Goal of the Gifted & Talented Program
Morton offers many academic courses and activities to enrich the curriculum established by the Omaha Public Schools. Our Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) program is designed for students who wish to be challenged through academic competition, honors courses, special activities, and programs. We believe that all students need high expectations and challenges based on individual needs. Morton students are placed into varying courses including honors classes that challenge them at an appropriate level to their needs. Our classroom teachers use differentiated instruction in their lessons to meet the needs and interest of all levels of learners. Students are expected to develop self-discipline by meeting deadlines, asking questions, and acquiring organizational and study skills as they strive to become both independent and successful at the middle level and beyond.
Identification Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) is implementing an updated identification process. This process requires students to meet multiple criteria that include standardized and non-standardized assessments as well as evidence that measure different constructs and characteristics.
To be identified for GATE services a student must meet at least 3 of the 4 criteria listed below:
COGNITIVE – Top 5% at the school or national level on an intelligence/cognitive test
ACHIEVEMENT – Top 5% at the school, state or national level on a grade-level standardized or norm-referenced achievement test
MOTIVATION/PERFORMANCE – “A” or Advanced (ADV) in 60% or more courses on the most recent semester grade report OR Qualifying recommendation/involvement for Motivation/Performance as recorded on the Classroom Teacher Input Form OR Parent/Guardian/Student/Staff Referral
CREATIVITY/LEADERSHIP – Qualifying recommendation/involvement for Creativity or Leadership as recorded on the Classroom Teacher Input Form OR Parent/Student/Staff Referral
Parents, guardians, students and staff members interested in having a student identified for Gifted and Talented Education services are welcome to complete a referral. Each referral will be considered and the student will have a referral and eligibility worksheet started so that all available criteria can be reviewed. The Omaha Public Schools’ Gifted and Talented Education carefully works to implement equitable identification processes and procedures that will permanently identify high performing students for GATE services within the Omaha Public Schools, nurture their social/emotional development and enhance their curriculum experiences so these unique individuals may reach their fullest potential.
District GATE Events
Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)
Coordinated by the Office of Gifted and Talented
Academic Pentathlon: The newest program of the United States Academic Decathlon for middle school students was created to provide opportunities to experience the challenges of a rigorous team and individual competition in five events: Language and Literature, Mathematics, Music, Science, and Social Studies. The Pentathlon theme parallels that of the high school Academic Decathlon program.
Book Blasters: Book Blasters is a district-wide competition that involves a team of students who are responsible for reading approximately 12 selected novels. Teams then compete to see who reigns supreme in knowledge of the novels’ content.
Duke Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP): The 7th grade talent search through Duke University provides an opportunity for high ability students to pursue an above-level testing experience.
Poetry SLAMS: Each fall and spring student poets from each middle school take the stage and share their writing with their peers. SLAMS provide an outlet to express feelings, thoughts and ideas with an audience that yearns for student expression.
Quiz Bowl: Quiz Bowl is an academic competition. A four-member team competes against the clock answering questions from various disciplines. Skills, such as teamwork, cooperative group discussion, problem solving, and reaction time, are enhanced through practices and competitions.
Scholars: Seventh and Eighth grade students (selected) for the Scholars program engage in activities that are goal-oriented. Students learn more about themselves, support one another, and achieve success at school. Various events are planned to prepare students for their high school years and beyond i.e., College Campus tours, Gallup Strength Finder, ACT prep, etiquette course and more.
Think Tank: Think Tank is a competitive problem-solving event for 7th and 8th graders held on the UNO campus. This day long event features a game that involves creative problem solving.
Morton GATE Activities
African American History Challenge: The African America History Challenge is a national educational program designed by the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. to enhance the study of African-American history. The goal of the local competition is to encourage pride, self-worth, and an appreciation of the African-American legacy and culture in Omaha youth. Morton is a consistent contender for winning this competition.
Math Contests: Math contests/competitions are available for all grade levels throughout the year.
Spelling Bee: The Omaha World Herald sponsors the Spelling Bee. This competition is open to all students. Students participate in mini spelling bees before the top students then compete in the Morton Spelling Bee. The winner of the Morton Spelling Bee competes in the Omaha Public School District Spelling Bee.
Science Bowl: Science Bowl is a fun, fast-paced, tournament-style academic competition that challenges and recognizes middle school students’ knowledge of science and mathematics.
Enrichment Clubs & Activities
- Student Council
- National Junior Honor Society
- Social Studies
January 26 9:00 - 12:00 Scholars (7th grade) Gallup University
January 30 African-American History Challenge Review Session @ Monroe, 10am-12pm
February 4 Academic Pentathlon Essay for Regional Competition @ schools
February 6 8:00- 1:00 ACT Test (various locations on Saturday)
February 6 Science Bowl @ Wayne State College
February 13 African-American History Challenge Review Session @ Monroe, 10am-12pm
February 23 Academic Pentathlon Regional Competition @ schools
February 26 African-American History Challenge Rehearsal @ North High, 5pm-6pm
February 27 African-American History Challenge Finals @ North High, 2:30pm-7pm
March 3 Academic Pentathlon Essay for State @ schools
March 24 8:00-2:00 QUIZ BOWL FINALS @UNO
March 31 Academic Pentathlon State Competition @ schools
April 1 Poetry Slam Poems due
April 19 8:30 – 11:30 Academic Pentathlon SUPER QUIZ @ The Teacher Administrative Center board room
April 22 8:15-12:00 Book Blasters – Skinner Elementary
April 28 Academic Pentathlon Essay for Nationals @ schools
May 6 8:15-1:30 Tour of Omaha Morton, Norris, Buffett, Beveridge
May 10 8:15-12:00 Poetry Slam @ Pizza Shoppe in Historic Benson
Transition to Middle School
Making the move to middle school is an exciting and challenging time. Students are leaving an atmosphere in which their world is primarily structured around a single teacher and entering an environment with eight teachers or more. This change can be a daunting experience.
The delivery of gifted and talented services is another noticeable change. No longer are students pulled out of the regular classroom for specialized instruction groups with a Gifted and Talented Facilitator. Rather, instruction takes place within the classroom with support from the Gifted and Talented Facilitator. At this point in a child’s education, we want our students to experience the art of independent learning.
With independence comes choice both within the classroom and beyond. In the classroom, teachers differentiate content, process, and product based upon the student’s academic readiness as well as their learning styles or interests. Beyond the classroom, students have the opportunity to be challenged through a variety of special events, contests, and clubs; however, a larger number of students are eligible for limited spots in these opportunities.
Another important difference at the middle school level is the rigor of coursework found in the classroom. Advanced classes are available with placement determined through established criteria. Performance and flexible grouping allow students to be pre-assessed and move through different levels of learning based on their daily performance.