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Building a Successful Gifted Program

Gifted programs should ensure a continuum of services throughout a GT student’s entire K-12 school career. They should include opportunities for all forms of acceleration, differentiation in the regular classroom, and alternative learning environments. All gifted programs need a social-emotional component to fully meet the needs of gifted students.

Best practices in gifted identification require a multifaceted approach. Reliance on only one measurement, such as IQ tests, will result in many students being missed. Out-of-level testing are essential to avoid inaccurate measurements. Because the best programs are tailored to student needs and not vice versa; universal testing as well as parent and teacher recommendations, should be utilized. Gifted identification should be culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, and take into account low-SES environmental factors such as lack of access to technology.

The best gifted programs provide challenge to all GT students include PG, twice-exceptional, and ELL. Curriculum should promote authentic experiential learning experiences and be conducive to exploration of student interests. A gifted curriculum should be more complex, provide in-depth study of key-concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving. It can include enrichment and compacting as needed. Services may include standalone gifted classrooms; full-grade or subject acceleration; full or part day pull-out; independent study; early entrance/early out; dual enrollment in college classes; and counseling services.

Parents should be included in district planning and evaluation of gifted programs. Programs serve students and parents are often good judges of their child’s need. Their involvement can be a conduit for advocacy of gifted programs. As programs develop, parents need to be informed of identification criteria and procedures; and have access to application forms. Utilizing classroom tech, social media, and newsletters are all ways to stay connected. Forming a Parent Support or Advocacy group is a great way to build support for a school’s gifted programs. Parents can be invited to special information sessions at Parent Night events or engaged at regular monthly meetings.

Professional development is essential in a high quality gifted program. Few teachers receive any coursework in gifted education during their undergraduate years. PD should be often and on-going to be effective. Gifted endorsement is highly recommended. Most endorsements are attainable online. Many states require teachers of gifted students to receive continuing education credits in gifted education.

What criteria should be used for evaluating effectiveness of program options & design? Criteria for student products should high-level and exemplary. Student products should be comparable to those of professionals in the field, challenge existing ideas, and produce new ones. Criteria for evaluating a program’s success and effectiveness should rely on standardized, achievement, and performance-based assessments as well as program feedback from all stakeholders – students, teachers and parents. All students, including GT students, should demonstrate academic growth with special care identify areas of strength and weakness in order to modify existing programs to better meet students’ needs.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.


Gifted Program Development

Building an Exemplary Gifted Program

Elements of a Good School Gifted Program

South Carolina – Gifted and Talented Best Practices Guidelines: Identification (pdf)

Gifted Education in America is Finally Moving Past its Legacy of Inequality

Why School Districts Are Rethinking Gifted & Talented Programs

Why Grouping Kids Based on Ability Works

Duke TIP Study Finds Using Local Criteria Identifies More Students as ‘Gifted’

Featured California Schools for Gifted Learners

Top Four Things to Look for in Your Gifted Program

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation in Gifted Education (Book)

Gifted Education Strategies

Developing Exemplary Gifted Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf)

High-Potential Students Thrive when School Districts Develop Sustainable Gifted Services

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students 2019 Final (pdf)

UK: What Works in Gifted Education? A Literature Review (pdf)

Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement and Behavior (pdf)

What Works in Gifted Education: Documenting the Effects of an Integrated Curricular/Instructional Model for Gifted Students

Gifted Education in China

State of the Nation in Gifted Education 2012 – 2013 (pdf)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Culturally Responsive and Relevant Curriculum

Culturally relevant curriculum respects individual student culture and attempts to increase awareness in relating that culture to course content. Teachers using culturally relevant teaching display competence at teaching in a multicultural classroom. This pedagogy is thought to improve academic achievement for all students. Historically, “culturally relevant pedagogy urges collective action grounded in cultural understanding. (Ladson-Billings 1992)”

Why is culturally responsive teaching important in gifted education? It is linked to a wide range of positive outcomes including improved attendance, academic persistence, and much more interest in school in general. In gifted education, it addresses ‘stereotype threat’ – a fear that one is conforming to a stereotype (their culture) – which in turn can lead to lower academic achievement. Motivation is another concern for GT students which can be mitigated in part by providing a curriculum that is perceived as culturally relevant, useful and of interest. Many of the principles of culturally relevant pedagogy directly affect GT students including identity development, equity and excellence, and managing student emotions.

What is the goal of a culturally responsive curriculum? A culturally responsive curriculum replaces deficit-oriented teaching – seeing language, culture or identity as a barrier to learning – with asset-based approaches. The goal for culturally sensitive teachers is to respond to the needs of diverse populations in their classroom with student-oriented instruction. A culturally responsive curriculum might involve choosing non-English translations of material used in the classroom or adaptive technology for twice-exceptional students.

There are many ways to incorporate culturally responsive teaching strategies; first, be invested in learning about your students and their culture through open and honest communication with them. To be truly culturally responsive, teachers need to be immersed in the culture of their students – visit where they live, learn their language (lingo), and remove negative stereotypes from the classroom culture. Teaching strategies considered culturally responsive could include bringing guest speakers into the classroom who are representative of the culture, use real-world problem solving techniques, and use technology effectively.

How can a culturally responsive and relevant curriculum improve classroom management? A culturally responsive classroom acts as a safe haven for students who learn in a far less judgmental atmosphere. This can have a profound effect on classroom management where students want to display appropriate behavior. A culturally responsive classroom is inherently a more interesting place to learn. It empowers students to own their learning and the desire to improve their behavior as opposed to a setting where they feel a disconnect to the curriculum.

Culturally responsive curriculum will remain relevant; especially as gifted education becomes more culturally responsive itself regarding the identification process. Students exposed to a culturally responsive curriculum will be better prepared to thrive in an increasing diverse world and global economy. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Introducing the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard: A Tool to Evaluate Curriculum

Striving for a Culturally Responsive Curriculum

Culturally Responsive Teaching A 50-State Survey of Teaching Standards (pdf)

Three Research-based Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies

Turn the Page: Looking Beyond the Textbook for Culturally-Responsive Curriculum

What have districts learned when embracing culturally responsive curricula?

5 Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies

Keeping Students at the Center with Culturally Relevant Performance Assessments

Critical Thinking Skills and Academic Achievement (pdf)

Engaging Curriculum

From Discipline to Culturally Responsive Engagement: 45 Classroom Management Strategies (book)

Teaching to Encourage Motivation (pdf)

Culturally Responsive Classroom Management & Motivation Handbook – Chapter 8: Qualities of Culturally Sensitive Teachers

The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (website)

Being Culturally Responsive

Culturally Responsive Teaching – Excerpts from The Knowledge Loom: Educators Sharing and Learning Together (pdf)

Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies

The Two-by-Ten Classroom Management Method

Why a Culturally Responsive Curriculum Works

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice (Multicultural Education Series) 2nd Edition (book 2000)

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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