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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.

Resources:

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.

Should Participation in Gifted Programs Be Conditional?

gtchat 12112015 Participation Conditional

 

 

Participation in gifted programs is often conditional for a variety of reasons. Criteria is usually mandated at the state level and based on IQ scores or other standardized tests. In all too many cases, participation may also be a reward for good behavior or grades.

It was agreed, however, that multiple criteria must be used when identifying students for a gifted program. As Clinical Psychologist Dr. Gail Post of Gifted Challenges stated, “Ideally the program is geared to fit the child, not the other way around. Too often, students are expected to conform to the gifted program in place – there is no flexibility.” Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources listed possible considerations including, “Results of psychologist’s or achievement testing, teachers’ observations, parents’ information, etc., showing need for placement.” Antonia Duncan, Elementary GT Specialist in Texas added, “We use multiple criteria assessment. Tests include NNAT, COGAT, Renzulli, etc. Then, depending on age, also portfolios and teacher recommendations.”

When considering what age children should be assessed for gifted programs, the general consensus was – the earlier the better. Reasons included that signs of giftedness can appear very early and the need for services are based on those assessments. When a child is placed in an inappropriate educational setting, they can become frustrated, succumb to underachievement or even become disruptive in the regular classroom.

The idea of reassessing a child who was previously identified for gifted services was met with a resounding “No”! However, this is a fairly common practice in several U.S. states. If a child fails to consistently achieve at a certain level, they are removed from the program. As Valerie Lewis pointed out, this begs the need for states to come to the table with a universal definition of ‘gifted’. Most felt that the only reason for reassessment should be to offer more services; not less. Also, many experts believe that re-testing students already identified profoundly affects the racial/ethnic makeup of programs.

Should gifted services be considered a reward for grades or behavior? Just as it would never be considered for special education students to loose services for these reasons; nor should it be for gifted students. One would think that this wouldn’t even be a consideration; unfortunately, it happens more often than we’d like. As Jeremy Bond stated, “Education is a right to all. It should never be a punishment or reward. And scores should certainly not be the basis for either.” Krissy Venosdale, #gtchat Advisor, added, “A gifted program that can be earned thru good behavior is not a gifted program.”

What advice would you give parents facing denial of gifted services after identification? Parents need to be aware of state laws and mandates regarding gifted education. They should contact and work with their state gifted organization who often can refer them to advocates. It’s imperative that they gather data (test scores; outside testing) and as much information as possible; be prepared for all meetings with school personnel. And in the end, Jim Katzaman offered this advice, “Keep the kid’s happiness in mind. I was sad when son was recommended not to skip to 1st grade. He, on other hand, was relieved.” A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Links:

Houston School Board Considering Changes to Gifted & Talented Program

How Schools Decide a Kid Is Gifted

Admitting Students to Selective Education Programs: Merit, Profiling & Affirmative Action (pdf)

Why Should I Have My Child Tested?

Dear Teacher, My Gifted Child is in Your Class

Poorest Students Often Miss Out on Gifted Classes

Is Gifted Education Elitist?

Finding a Good Fit: Evaluating Gifted Programs

How Stereotypes Affect Gifted Children

Achievement Versus Ability

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 5

Finding a Good Fit: Evaluating Gifted Programs

gtchat 12042015 TAGT 2015

This week marked our 4th Live chat from the Annual Conference of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. As with many live chats, most of our regular participants were not available at the time of the chat. However, we were thrilled to have many new faces at the chat and we hope that the first timers will be back in future weeks.

First, we considered some attributes that define high quality gifted programming. They should include differentiated instruction delivered at an appropriate depth and  breadth; curriculum that involves abstract, complex, higher levels of thinking; and programs that identify twice-exceptional, culturally different, and underachieving gifted students.

What steps should be taken by school personnel when evaluating & implementing a gifted program? School personnel need to prepare for evaluation, design data collection and analysis, conduct evaluation, and follow-up. Steps should be taken to involve all stakeholders: students, parents, educators, admins, school boards, and community. Evaluations should identify outcomes, create a written plan and establish a timeline.

It’s important to match student strengths with appropriate gifted programming. Student’s abilities must be assessed including present levels of performance. Effective identification procedures will ensure a student is challenged but not overwhelmed. Also, a gifted student’s progress needs to be assessed appropriately. Out-of-level testing is essential; grade level achievement tests are inappropriate. Identification should be continuous beginning in kindergarten. Classroom teachers should assess transference of skills and knowledge from gifted programs to regular classroom.

What questions should parents ask when considering a gifted program for their child? Initially, they need to ask if the school has a systematic procedure for gifted identification in place. Also, does the gifted program offer a continuum of educational services based on assessed abilities. Ideally, they could ask if counseling related to giftedness is provided for students and parents. A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

During the conference, we also announced our intention to change the time slot for #gtchat. Although there will never be a perfect time for everyone, Friday night is a difficult time for a multitude of reasons. Look for a link to a poll from @gtchatmod on Twitter in the near future.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Designing Services and Programs for High-Ability Learners (pdf)

Designing and Utilizing Evaluation for Gifted Program Improvement (Amazon)

Gifted Education Program Standards: Planning/Implementing High-Quality Services (pdf)

Aiming for Excellence: Gifted Program Standards Tiers of Competency (pdf)

Institute on Gifted Program Evaluation Evaluating Effectiveness & Services for Gifted Children (pdf)

NAGC: National Standards in Gifted and Talented Education

Gifted and Talented Program Evaluation Template for Large Districts (pdf)

What to Look for in a Good Gifted Program

Advanced Academics and Gifted and Talented Program Evaluation (pdf)

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Gifted Education Practices

The Best Practices Manual for Gifted and Talented Programs in Idaho (pdf)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Point/Counterpoint: Challenges to Gifted Programs

gtchat 09042015 Point Counterpoint

This week’s #gtchat used a different format to accommodate our topic of how to answer challenges to gifted programs within a school district. The points to be considered were:

Point #1: Gifted students will do fine on their own; they don’t need any extra help.

Counterpoint: “Students should be given reins of learning but should have a teacher to help facilitate their studies.” ~ Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman

Counterpoint: “Not all students learn the same way and that includes GT students. They have their own set of needs that need to be addressed.” ~ Andrea, GiftedandTalented.com

Counterpoint: “Gifted learners are still learners. Everyone needs guidance and support.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Working at the class level so far beneath their possible level all the time is not ‘doing fine’.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “High achievers may do well on their own, but not all gifted students are high achievers.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Gallagher argued gifted students require competent educational services for their special needs to be met (Gallagher, 2004).” ~ Chelsey Mintz, graduate student through USC at Oxford

Counterpoint: “Many GT Students need additional support and encouragement. ‘One size fits all’ never works!” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT  educator

Point #2: Gifted students serve as role models and need to stay in the regular classroom.

Counterpoint: “Expecting a child to be a role model for age-peers usually is an invitation for bullying. No child needs that.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “No. That is unfair to gt kids. If they want to help classmates, fine, but *expecting* them to be role models? No.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at About.com

Counterpoint: “Some gifted students fill that role naturally. Others will not. Students should not be expected to be anything other than their best selves.” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT educator

Counterpoint: “Gifted students can be role models, but they’re in school to get an education like all kids. Teaching is adults’ responsibility.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “All students have strengths and can serve as role models in different capabilities. Gifted don’t need to be singled for this role.” ~ Katie McClarty, Pearson Research and Innovation Network

Point #3: Gifted students need to learn how to socialize with all kinds of people.

Counterpoint: “Good to be able to socialize with all but main need is to be able to socialize and have deeper relationships with true peers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “‘All kinds of people’ can’t mean a lot of time without like peers. Otherwise, claiming they need socializing is just an excuse.” Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “We should address students social & emotional needs as they present themselves. Address issues today to avoid future challenges.” ~ Katie McClartyPearson Research and Innovation Network

Counterpoint: “I think we are really bad at interpreting what students want or need as social interaction. Some kids actually enjoy their own company.” ~ Justin Vaughan, teacher in Australia

Point #4: There isn’t enough money to go around. Gifted programs are too expensive.

Counterpoint: “Many gifted programs are low cost or no cost at all; consider online options or ability grouping.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Not all programs are expensive. We think any student should have access to an engaging learning environment despite costs.Many programs offer scholarships and financial aid (we do!)” ~ Andrea, GiftedandTalented.com

Counterpoint: “Expensive GT programs will never replace a quality GT teacher. I’d go with the awesome Teacher every time.” Aaron Peña,  Texas principal

Point #5: Differentiated instruction is sufficient for gifted students.

Counterpoint: “Teachers today are overwhelmed by expectations that they can adequately meet a myriad of ability levels.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Teachers that plan for voice and choice, menus, passion projects, etc; don’t need to do the differentiating – It happens naturally.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Differentiation only works for gifted if done to the necessary level, breadth, depth and pace. Can be a big ask for teachers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “I do believe differentiation is one of the most important teacher skills. I don’t want to dismiss it. But nothing works alone.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Point #6: Gifted programs are elitist.

Counterpoint: “I don’t think they’re elitist, but think they may be too narrow in scope to catch different kinds of giftedness.” ~ Dr. Toby Brown, technology teacher in OK

Counterpoint: “If all students were given access to learning based on interests, abilities & choices, elitism wouldn’t be an issue.” ~ BrendanCatalyst Learning

Counterpoint: “Elitism implies “better.” Gifted students aren’t. They have different needs. I don’t think they’re more or less important needs.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “It is seen as elitist mainly because gt services aren’t provided in most schools in poor areas – where they’re needed most.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at About.com

Counterpoint: “Gifted programs depend on a fair and equitable identification process. It’s a well-known fact that this issue needs to improve. Flawed identification practices and funding formulas which favor wealthier school districts are contributing factors.” ~ Moderator

A full transcript may be found at Storify.

Thank you to our presenting partner GiftedandTalented.com @giftedandtalentededu for supporting #gtchat and this week’s Giveaway! Texas teacher, Brooke Horn, was the winner of a 3 month subscription to: K-7 Independent Study Math & Language Arts Combo Course.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

The Obstacles Deterring Gifted Education

The Unkindest Cut: Seven Stupid Arguments against Programs for the Gifted

Assessing the Arguments against Gifted Education (AUS)

Planning and Implementing Programs for the Gifted (Amazon)

Hey America, Let’s Not Leave Our Gifted Kids Behind

America Hates Its Gifted Kids

Are gifted children getting lost in the shuffle?

Achievement & Success We’ve Got This All Wrong

Casting Stones at Cacti Our Intolerance of Gifted People

The Workplace Mobbing of Highly Gifted Adults: An Unremarked Barbarism (pdf)

Gifted Adults in the Workplace: Nerds or Heroes or Misfits

At Work: Are You Too Smart for the Job?

The Wrong Argument for Gifted Education

Top Ten Myths in Gifted Education (YouTube 8:10)

Cybraryman’s Student Centered Page

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Underachievers

The Culture of Bullying 

Easy Ways to Provide New Learning Opportunities

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Mythbuster – Myth 9

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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