Frequently Asked Questions

Some Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the REACH Program

Q: What is the process the district uses to determine whether a child should be placed in the REACH program?
A: Hillsborough Township Public Schools follows the New Jersey Department of Education guidelines to consider “multiple measures, including but not limited to, achievement test scores, grades, student performance or products, intelligence testing, parent, student and/or teacher recommendation, and other appropriate measures” to determine whether a student needs to be placed in a special education program in order to achieve in accordance with his or her capabilities.

Q: I received an email indicating my child was nominated for REACH screening? Does this mean he or she will be in REACH next year? What happens next?
A: Parental consent is required for the REACH staff to screen your child to determine whether or not REACH would meet his or her needs. Your signature gives the district permission to use multiple measures in accordance with state regulations and Board policy to make this determination.  Depending on the grade level, the REACH staff will ask your child to complete assessments that align to the program in that grade.

Q: What tests are used for REACH placement?
A: Once a parent fills out the permission slip and accompanying survey, district staff will administer an ability assessment, an achievement assessment, a creativity assessment (grades 2-4 only), and a writing assessment (grades 5-7 only).  You will receive a follow-up email from the REACH staff near the end of the school year with information about what those assessments revealed and whether it is recommended that your child participates in REACH the following school year. 
Q: How can my child be reevaluated for REACH if he or she was not placed in REACH at the end of second grade?
A: Each spring teachers in grades 3-7 are invited to nominate students who they believe should be considered for REACH enrollment. With parental permission, these students enter the screening process.

Q: How often can my child be tested?
A: Students may only be screened once per academic year.
Q: How many times may my child be considered for the program?
A: We do not place a limit other than those already outlined above. However, we do not advocate testing a child on a yearly basis as we worry about the child’s self-esteem should he/she not qualify for the program repeatedly.

Q: How does the REACH program change in grades 5-8?

A: In grades 5-8 REACH replaces social studies in the schedule. Teachers deliver the grade-level social studies curriculum with resources and methods adapted to meet the needs of REACH students.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of children who can be accepted into REACH?
A: No. Each child is considered on his or her merits against the criteria established in accordance with district and state policies.

Q: Is REACH an academic acceleration program?

A: No. REACH is an enrichment program. This means that students extend their learning on grade level standards.  Please review the program’s goals and objectives here

Q: What do students miss while at REACH in grades 3-4?
A: Students miss core curricular content (literacy, math, science, social studies) to attend REACH in grades 3-4.

Q: What is the CogAT?
A: The CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) assesses students’ abilities in reasoning and problem solving using verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal (spatial) symbols. It is administered to all second graders in late January/early February in a group setting. 

Q: How long does the CogAT administration take?

A: The test administration takes approximately 45-60 minutes per day for three days. Because the test is not timed, exact times will vary.

Q: What is the process to address questions or concerns?
A: The process begins with the classroom teacher. At the elementary schools, the next point of contact is the building REACH teacher. After contacting teachers, a parent can contact the district supervisor for further information and next steps. 

Disclaimer:  It is possible that the data available to use for placement purposes will change based on requirements received from the state or other seen or unforeseen circumstances.   The district may adjust placement criteria as necessary at any time.
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