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Gifted Education

Philosophy:  The overall aim of Parkland ‘s gifted services is to provide educational opportunities and experiences to help students extend their learning, develop individual potential, enhance their self-concept, and become independent learners.

Overview:  The Parkland School District provides differentiated activities and opportunities through which students discover and develop their unique and individual needs, interests, talents, and abilities.

Identification:  The Gifted Identification Process is a scaled multi-step process based on: 

  • Student Achievement
  • Standardized Test Scores
  • Teacher Evaluations
  • Parental Input
  • IQ Test Scores
  • American Association for Gifted Children (AAGC) - www.aagc.org
  • Associatiuon for the Gifted (TAG-Council for Exceptional Children) - www.cec.sped.org
  • National Association for the Gifted - www.nagc.org
  • PA Association for Gifted Education        

For your information, a copy of the Notice of Parental Rights for Gifted Students is available at the following link:  Notice of Parental Rights

Gifted Services

Kindergarten: The teacher of the gifted collaborates with the classroom teacher for observations and informal enrichment activities.

Grades 1 and 2:  The teacher of the gifted services students on a one  time per four day cycle basis. This may include: pullout with flexible groups to develop creativity and individual talents and whole group instruction.

Grades 3-5:  The teacher of the gifted services students through  a pullout program two times per four day cycle. The program addresses critical and creative thinking through activities integrated with the regular education curriculum. The teacher of the gifted also collaborates with the classroom teacher to enrich the regular education curriculum in order to meet the needs of the gifted students.

Grade 6:  The teacher of the gifted services students through a pullout program for two periods per cycle. The program addresses critical and creative thinking through activities integrated with the regular education curriculum. The teacher of the gifted also collaborates with the classroom teacher to enrich the regular education curriculum in order to meet the needs of the gifted students.

Grades 7 and 8:  Gifted/High Potential courses are offered in the core subject areas of English, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. Gifted students are given the opportunity to choose from these courses to enhance their strengths and abilities.

High School: Advanced Placement, Honors, and Gifted classes are offered. For more detailed information on courses offered refer to the high school course catalog.

Gifted Curriculum

Kindergarten:

  • Various activities are used to develop thinking and problem solving skills through literature and content areas.

1st Grade: 

  • Problem solving strategies are explored through patterns and puzzles.
  • Different types of thinking skills are explored.
  • Imagination and flexibility of thinking are encouraged through literature.

2nd Grade: 

  • Research is emphasized through the organization of factual knowledge and applying this knowledge in creative ways.
  • Critical thinking skills are used to arrive at logical conclusions.

3rd Grade:

  • The inventive process is extensively explored through various STEM activities including the building of original inventions and research of a famous inventor.
  • Greek Mythology is investigated through literature, research of gods, goddesses or heroes, and drama.

4th Grade:

  • Creative problem solving and critical thinking skills are developed through the  analysis of geometric concepts.
  • Higher lever thinking skills are applied through the scientific method and various STEM activities.
  • An integrated topic from the social studies curriculum is investigated through novels and research development.

5th Grade:

  • Critical and creative thinking are developed through a simulation based on an interdisciplinary topic. STEM activities and novel analysis are incorporated in to the units.

6th Grade:​​​​​​​

  • Knowledge of cultural universals is demonstrated through the creation of an original culture.
  • Architecture is explored through the construction of a toothpick bridge.
  • Force and motion are investigated through the design of a mousetrap-powered car.
  • Facets of the mystery genre are explored through the solving and creation of mysteries.

7th & 8th Grades:

  • In seventh and eighth grades Gifted/High Potential Courses are offered in: Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.
  • Math Courses are offered in Mathematics, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Geometry, which is teleconferenced from the high school.

9th through 12th Grades: 

  • Advanced Placement, Honors, and Gifted Courses are offered in Core Subject Areas and Foreign Languages.

FAQs

What does it mean if a child is “gifted”?

Giftedness refers to outstanding intellectual and creative ability which requires specially designed instruction not ordinarily provided in the regular education program.

What are the traits of a gifted child?

  • highly curious
  • wild or silly ideas
  • able to communicate in detail, elaborates well
  • learns and applies skills quickly and easily
  • draws inferences
  • shows originality and/or complexity in thinking
  • keenly observant
  • strong feelings/opinions
  • highly self-critical/perfectionistic

How is a child identified as mentally gifted in the Parkland School District?

Generally, the child’s classroom teacher will recognize if he/she stands out as needing additional challenges above and beyond what the regular grade-level curriculum has to offer and will refer the child to begin the screening process.  If a child is in question, he/she may be monitored in the classroom for specific evidence of higher-level thinking skills and outstanding performance. Upon referral, the child will engage in a 2-level screening process utilizing multiple criteria to get as complete a picture of the student as possible.  The 1st level of screening involves collecting data and observations from the classroom teacher and parent as well as obtaining standardized testing scores, curriculum based performance scores, and creativity measures given by the teacher of the gifted.  All scores are weighted and a determination made by the GIST team (Gifted Information and Screening Team) weather or not the student has performed solidly enough to move on to Level 2.  This involves psychological testing from the school psychologist, yielding an IQ score.  Data from this testing, combined with the weight of scores from level 1, is what the GIST team uses to make a final determination if the child qualifies for the gifted program.

My child always receives the top ratings on his/her report card – should he/she be tested for the gifted?

While top report card ratings do show evidence of curriculum mastery, this does not necessarily mean that the child is gifted.  High achievement is just one facet of giftedness; other things to consider include motivation, social skills, ability to  handle challenges, and most importantly higher-level thinking skills such as creativity, problem-solving, analytical thinking, and reasoning skills.

How long does it take to have a child screened for gifted?

Since the screening collects many types of data from many different sources, it is a lengthy process.  Once a referral is received, the GIST team will complete level 1 in as timely a manner as possible.  If the child proceeds to Level 2 screening, you will receive a Permission to Evaluate form to sign and from its return the psychologist will test the child within 60 school days. The Teacher of the Gifted can give updates on screening status if in question.

Who is involved in screening a child for gifted?

The GIST team, (Gifted Identification and Screening Team) including the classroom  teacher, guidance counselor, school psychologist, teacher of the gifted, and parent. Information from screening is collected and/or reviewed by each member of the team to determine eligibility for the gifted program.

What happens if my child is screened and does not qualify for the gifted program?

At the conclusion of level 1 screening, if your child does not receive the necessary points to progress to level 2, you will receive communication from a member of the GIST team in the form of a letter.  The child may be re-screened after the progression of one calendar year if appropriate. If the child does progress to level 2 of the screening and does not qualify, a GWR (gifted written report) will be written by the psychologist outlining all data collected and recommending the child continue a placement of regular education.

What happens if my child is screened and qualifies for the gifted program?

If the child receives the necessary points in level one to progress to level 2, you will receive communication from a GIST team member in the form of a phone call or e-mail. A permission to evaluate will be mailed home and from the time it is signed and received, the child will be administered IQ and achievement testing within 60 school days. Should the child qualify, a GWR (gifted written report) will be written by the psychologist, outlining all collected data and making the recommendation for gifted programming.  The Teacher of the Gifted then invites the parent to participate in an GIEP (Gifted individualized education program) meeting. The purpose of this meeting is develop goals and objectives to meet the student’s need for additional challenges, and to obtain necessary signatures to initiate programming.