LaGrange School District 102

Welcome/Overview to the Talent Development Program

A Letter from Dr. Lange, Talent Development Program Coordinator

Greetings and Welcome! 

I hope that you find the information here to be useful in better understanding District 102's Talent Development Program. If you scroll down, you will be able to see a very brief overview of key areas of the program. The Program Guide is found on the Talent Development link off the District 102 homepage. This is an excellent resource to gain further insights into our program. Feel free to contact me at anytime with questions or ideas.


During my graduate studies at the University of Iowa, I told my advisor that I hoped to use my "learning" to be a catalyst for change. Because of the District 102 initiative to develop a program for high ability students (that began in Spring 2008), I have been given the incredible opportunity (and challenge) to fulfill a dream birthed in Iowa City. It is my professional goal to assist in the development of a program that promotes excellence in education through an enriching experience for all learners, including our high ability student population. The following five visionary statements build a solid foundation for a student-centered program and steer my thinking in this endeavor.


  • The program will be research-based, defensible, and flexible.
  • The program will develop academic talent.
  • The program will consist of multiple services that are based on varying degrees of educational need.
  • The program will promote the development of thinking in all learners.
  • The program will reflect the belief that high ability is found in all types of learners.


I am proud of what we have accomplished up to this point in the development of the program. I appreciate all those who have worked with me since I began here in July 2008. There are too many people to thank, but I couldn't have done this alone. I would also like to recognize the efforts to meet the needs of high ability students made by staff and families prior to my joining the District 102 community.


Please visit this site often to keep abreast of the exciting evolution during our journey in developing the Talent Development Program. Feel free to contact me at or 708-215-7123. By working together, we can increase the thinking abilities of all learners.


Thinking is a gift!!!

Randy Lange, PhD

Talent Development Program Coordinator



    *For a printable copy of this brief overview - CLICK HERE



A key mission of Elementary School District 102 is to develop the academic abilities and personal attributes of all students. We believe that within our student population are high ability learners, those who possess either high levels of performance or high levels of potential in a variety of academic areas and/or expressions of talent. Because these high levels are found in children from all backgrounds and experiences, homes and schools must work together to discover these students, meet their educational needs, and monitor their academic, social, and emotional growth.


The school district will strive to provide challenging, appropriate curriculum for all learners, including those who perform (or have the potential to perform) at high levels. This intent is best accomplished within the school district through a variety of services and settings targeting specific learner needs; some of which might not ordinarily be provided in the core curriculum.  The school and the community will make it a priority to match services and settings inside and outside of the general classroom with the unique intellectual, social, and emotional needs of high ability students.


District 102 believes that by designing specialized programs intended to enhance district curriculum and develop talent, we will foster within high ability learners individual excellence through advanced understandings and skills. By nurturing and challenging all students to their fullest potential, we will prepare future leaders and lifelong learners for an ever-changing world.



Learners who demonstrate the aptitude (or possess the potential)  for exceptional mastery of skills and knowledge in any field when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment. High ability is present in learners from all cultural groups and across all economic strata.


The Program has three services - Classroom-based Differentiation Service, Acceleration Service, and Individual Student Planning Service. Explanations of each of the services can be found in the Talent Development Program Guide. 

District 102 has subject-based acceleration in language arts, mathematics, French, and Spanish. Placement in the language arts and mathematics classes is based on established identification protocols. Any student who successfully completes two years of French or Spanish at Park Junior High School will be placed in an accelerated class that can replace either French I or Spanish I at LTHS. (Placement into French II or Spanish II as a freshman requires that students meet the criteria established by LTHS. These are typically a target score on the high school placement exam and a teacher rating from the Park Junior High World Language Department.)

The accelerated language arts and mathematics classes in District 102 are listed in the charts below. Please keep in mind that these charts only encompass the accelerated classes. District 102 offers a variety of other enrichment/challenge opportunities during and outside of the school day. 


Accelerated Language Arts


5 Literary Investigations I
6 Literary Investigations II
7 Humanities Connections I

Humanities Connections II

Accelerated Mathematics

3 Mathematical Investigations I
4 Mathematical Investigations II
5 Algebraic Investigations I
6 Algebraic Investigations II


Algebra Accelerated


Algebra Accelerated -OR-

Honors Geometry

*A small percentage of 7th grade students are placed in Algebra Accelerated and then go to LTHS for Honors Geometry in grade 8.


The philosophy of the Talent Development Program is to develop the individual talent or strengths in ALL students. By having three service levels, more students have access to opportunities and interventions that develop talent. 

There are district established identification protocols that can be found on the main Gifted Education link of the District 102 homepage. This document is updated each school year. Placement in the accelerated classes tap objective and subjective data. District 102 uses local norms for all standardized tests in determining accelerated placement. The philosophy of the accelerated service is to possess as much evidence as possible that suggests a student would be successful in an accelerated placement through 8th grade (and beyond.) As a result, the total percentage of students identified for an accelerated strand (language arts or mathematics) is smaller initially, but increases by 7th and 8th grade.

For Language Arts, standardized reading achievement, verbal reasoning, written expression, Common Core Standards proficiency, and teacher rating (classroom performance is reflected in the rating) are the key components. For Mathematics, standardized mathematics achievement, nonverbal and quantitative reasoning, fact mastery, Common Core Standards proficiency, and teacher rating (classroom performance is reflected in the rating) are the key components. Individual placement reviews can be requested by teachers/staff or families. Because additional data needs to be collected for a placement review, the process takes up to three months before a decision is rendered.

For classroom-based differentiation and individual student planning, teams of teachers and individual classroom teachers are given the liberty to form groups based on the needs and profiles of their specific group. These groupings are NOT considered part of the accelerated service. The criteria teams and teachers use can be much different than the established identification protocols for an accelerated class. Teachers are always encouraged to collect work samples to serve as relevant evidence in accelerated class placement decisions.


Please note that this does NOT include all events that might be considered important by your family. Please be sure to visit the District 102 webpage as well as newsletters/notifications from your individual school and/or classrooms. Dr. Lange also maintains an email list that receives notice of upcoming events. If you are interested in being included in this group, please contact me. Questions regarding district assessments dates can be addressed by contacting the District 102 Assessment Coordinator.  

      June - Grade 7 & 8 Humanities Connections Summer Reading 

      July/August - S.O.A.R. Enrichment Summer Session

      September - Registration Opens for Talent Search Testing

      November - Civic Weekend through Center for Talent Development (Northwestern University)

      January - Cognitive Abilities Testing (Grades 4 and 6)

      February - WSCAE Regional Science Fair (Grades 7 and 8)

      May - WSCAE ACT/SAT Recognition Ceremony

                District 102 Recognition Ceremony


             “To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”    

                                                        - Mother Teresa



The National Association for Gifted Children has information regarding how to advocate for a high ability child. The link to this is: CLICK HERE ( There are more detailed resources for families on the main Gifted Education link of the District 102 homepage. District 102 also has a lending library of books related to gifted education and high ability students. If you are interested in this collection, please contact Randy Lange ( I have highlighted a few resources (with live links here). This is by no means to be considered the priority resources OR an exhaustive list. 


***S.O.A.R. (Sessions of Aptitude Rising) Please keep in mind that District 102 hosts several sessions of S.O.A.R. during the course of the year AND summer.

    ***All of the museums in Chicago host programs and camps for young people.