Archived Information

Talent and Diversity: The Emerging World of Limited English Proficient Students in Gifted Education - August 1998

Appendix D

Project GOTCHA

(Project Galaxies of Thinking and Creative Heights of Achievements)

Project GOTCHA is a Title VII, Academic Excellence program, under the Office of Bilingual Education and Language Minority Affairs, U.S. Department of Education. It was developed and implemented in Broward County Public Schools, Fort Lauderdale, Florida during the funding cycles of 1987–1996. Currently, dissemination activities have been assumed by the coordinator and trainers of the GOTCHA Project under International Educational Consultants, Inc.

The goals of the program are to:

History of Program

Project GOTCHA evolved from the Bilingual Exceptional Student Education Demonstration Project, funded by OBEMLA in Broward County, Florida, from 1980 to 1985. After 7 years of successfully meeting its objectives and providing data to document its success, Project GOTCHA was awarded for its promising practices and effectiveness. Project GOTCHA became one of the Academic Excellence Programs in 1987. In the following 9 years (1987–1996) Project GOTCHA disseminated its program practices and trained teachers that met eligibility criteria. Project GOTCHA was implemented in 15 states, identified and served over 5,000 students, trained over 800 teachers, and trained well over 2,000 parents.

Program Overview

Project GOTCHA identifies and serves gifted, creative, and talented limited English proficient (LEP) students in grades 1–8. This program is designed to reach nationwide local education agency personnel who wish to develop similar programs, and individual teachers who wish to incorporate these methods in their classroom activities. There are two major characteristics that differentiate the GOTCHA Project from other LEP gifted programs. The first is the emphasis on the unique creative abilities of each child; and the second is early intervention of language minority students. The program consists of four components: Student Identification, Staff Development, Instructional Approach/Materials, and Parent Training.

Identification Component

The identification of students is one of the main components of the program. It is unique in its reliability for selecting students who possess creative and talented characteristics within a unique population. Linguistically, these children are more likely to demonstrate their superior abilities in their home language.

Consideration, therefore has been given to their experiential background; home, community, and school values; and other cultural factors. There are three stages in the identification process:

  1. Nomination—in this stage teachers nominate children for the program based on supportive information (such as informal observations, and samples of student’s work) and orientation sessions. A Parent/Community Form is sent home for parents to nominate their child. A Peer Nomination Form is also used by the teacher to obtain additional information from still another source.

  2. Identification—during this stage, more information is collected about the nominated students. This information is based on the scores obtained on the Renzulli Checklist (adapted), the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (Figural), and additional project and work samples. If available, achievement test scores and/or report card grades are considered.

  3. Placement—the GOTCHA teachers evaluate the Matrix Form which contains a profile of the student’s performance. The students that meet eligibility criteria are then placed in the GOTCHA Program. There are seven criteria on the matrix, students need to qualify on five of the criteria. The implementation consists of two models, inclusion or pull-out.

Staff Development

Awareness Presentation: Provides all interested personnel with an overview of the program components, goals, objectives, implementation alternatives, instructional/training materials, and adoption options.

Training Session: Focuses on the role of the classroom teachers. Trains teachers on the following topics: characteristics of language and culturally diverse gifted and talented students, nomination procedure, strategies that incorporate critical thinking, modification of curriculum to meet the needs of gifted and talented minority students, specific techniques to foster creativity, modification of learning environment, variety of ideas to induce product performance and alternative assessment.

Paraprofessional Training Session (one-half day): The focus of this training is to provide information about the role of the paraprofessional in the GOTCHA classroom.

Administrators Training Session (one-half day): The focus of this session is to heighten the awareness of specific needs of the gifted/talented, ESOL/bilingual students, to discuss implementation of the program, to address issues of future funding, and other administrative concerns.

Parent Training: Parent involvement is a critical part of any educational program. This training provides parents with the following: description of the program objectives, goals, identification process, instruction approach, rights and responsibilities, suggestions and recommendations for improving their child’s education, and activities to motivate creativity at home.

Instructional Approach and Instructional Materials

The units in the GOTCHA curriculum follow a thematic approach. The activities reflect the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Student’s Process, Product and Environment are modeled after June Maker’s Modification Model. The design of the activities incorporate Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory; Social Studies and Science Units provide opportunity for developing Problem Solving Skills. The learning environment emphasizes the Cooperative Learning Style. Creativity is fostered through the use of Torrance’s Creative Thinking Skills of fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration; and Metacognitive Skills are taught to instill in students the desire to become life-long learners.

The teachers implementing Project GOTCHA receive specialized training in "Power Teaching." Power Teaching is the compilation of strategies and techniques that have been validated as exemplary practices to produce effective academic gains.

Program Features

Project GOTCHA assists educational agencies with the design and structuring of gifted and talented programs by providing a model that has met rigorous Academic Excellence standards. Project GOTCHA’s unique features:

For more information about adopting Project GOTCHA, please contact:

Dr. Norma E Hernandez

Nilda M. Aguirre

Visit the Project GOTCHA Web site @


[Appendix C]   [Table of Contents]  [Participants List]