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Individualized Education: Pipedream or Possibility?

Many educators question why a GT student should have an individualized education. When students are optimally challenged – engaging in deep dives that involve appropriate levels of advancement – they learn best. Personal learning impacts a student’s sense of self-esteem, self-awareness, and creates a feeling of competency which in turns benefits society-at-large; both socially and intellectually.

What should be included in an individualized education for a GT student (GIEP)? Fortunately, there are many examples available online that have relied on extensive research-based evidence. GIEPs should reflect the student’s strengths, needs, attainable goals; and include appropriate supports. As with IEPs, a team comprised of all stakeholders should be involved. Support provisions for GT learners are insufficient when they are simply a facsimile of the established strategies, schedules, and structures in place for the neurotypical student. Truly addressing the needs of this population necessitates a rethinking of the 5 Ps: pace, progression, personalization, programming, and purpose. (Churchville)

When considering individualized plans for twice-exceptional students, a good approach is to consider strengths before weaknesses. State plans generally consider combining GIEPs with 504 plans. These student plans need to coordinate teachers and school staff involved with both gifted and special education.

How can parents ensure continuity of services when switching school districts? Document, document, document. It can’t be stressed enough that a paper trail can solve many issues when switching between schools or out of school. Parents usually bear the burden of knowing available services of both the old and new LEAs. They must know the law (state) and their child’s rights. It is sometimes advisable to seek the advice or services of an advocate to navigate through the transition process.

Individualized education plans may not solve all issues encountered by GT students during their school years. When social-emotional challenges persist, it may be time for a change. When students fail to show continued growth during their academic career, looking beyond traditional education options such as blended learning, homeschooling, or even unschooling may be necessary.

The best eTools for individualized learning should promote communication and collaboration. GT students should be encouraged to bring team members on board rather than do all the work themselves. eTools should widen a student’s authentic audience, connect them with intellectual peers and allow for the creation of meaningful products. An individualized education should not be about spending countless hours in front of a screen. It should inherently be based on the student’s interests explorable through flexible learning experiences.

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:


CO: Advanced Learning Program ALP Guidance Worksheet (pdf)

CO: The Systemic Process for Implementing Standards-aligned ALPs (YouTube 41:55)

CO: Painting the Big Picture – Standards-aligned ALPs CAGT Presentation (YouTube 36:27)

CO: Writing Standards-aligned Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs) (pdf)

Gifted Individualized Education Plan Explanation (GIEP)

Gifted Individualized Education Plan Sample (Google DOC)

Simple Annotated Gifted Individualized Education Plan (pdf)

Extended Annotated Gifted Individualized Education Plan (pdf)

When Gifted Kids Move: Tips for Parents and Districts

AZ: Building Bridges with Your School and District (ppt)

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

Cybraryman’s Personalized Learning and Student Agency Page

Sound Advice on Personalized Learning from Six Regional Incubators

Emerging Technologies Supporting Personalized Learning

Using Technology to Personalize Learning

How to Create a Gifted Individualized Education Plan

Gifted Program Development

Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards (pdf)

Collaboration in Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning Guide: A Comprehensive Guide for Educators, Administrators, and Parents

Using Technology to Personalize Learning in K–12 Schools (pdf)

Time for a Refresh: Meet the New Google Classroom

Individualized Academic Pathways in U.S. and International Schools: Rethinking Pace, Progression, Personalization, Programming and Purpose WCGTC 2019 Presentation

Google: Manage Teaching and Learning with Classroom

Microsoft Education

Carnegie Learning MATHia for Students

DreamBox Learning

Khan Academy


Google Classroom





Google Arts and Culture

Photo courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

How to Create a Gifted Individualized Education Plan

gtchat GIEP


Creating a Gifted Individualized Education Plan is hard work. It is a formal plan that delineates the accommodations a student will have in place for an academic year. Even if your locality does not recognize GIEPs or IEPs, they can be useful as a framework to advocate for a gifted student. GIEPs need to be prepared and submitted well in advance of the year in which they are expected to be implemented. They should be detailed and specific to ensure academic progress and talent development.

Gifted IEPs are a good idea for gifted students because a written and agreed to plan is easier to implement and monitor over the course of the school year. When written with specific goals and appropriate terminology, they have  a greater success rate than verbal agreements. Beyond academic objectives, Gifted IEPs can address a child’s social adjustment with peers and learning preferences.

Parents, gifted education teachers, regular education teachers, guidance counselors,  and school psychologists can all be involved in the GIEP process. The student should be consulted throughout the process as well. If the gifted student does not ‘buy in’ to the final agreement, the chances of success are slim. Often schools form multidisciplinary teams to review education plans.

What should be included in a GIEP? An excellent example can be found here. Assessment  and testing data will usually be presented in the GIEP. Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEP) provide a baseline to aid in showing annual growth of a student. Specific goals and expected outcomes related to the student’s strengths and interests; specifically designed instruction to be provided; and support services like transportation needs, teaching strategies, collaborative time for gifted and regular education teachers should be included. Areas of weakness (academic, social, emotional, motivational) to be remediated may also be considered.

Resources for completing a comprehensive Gifted Individualized Education Plan may be found in the links provided at the end of this post. A full transcript can be found on our Storify page.

Thanks to Leslie Graves, Jerry Blumengarten, Jen MerrillAmy Harrington, Jeremy Bond and Rhonda Boyer for additional links included below.


Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT 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 new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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:



Sample GIEP from PA (pdf)

A Parents’ Guide to Gifted Education in PA (pdf)

How To/Resources for Writing a GIEP

Davidson Institute for Talent Development Database on GIEP Meetings

Kids’ Health Gifted Education: IEP – P. 2

Designing & Developing Programs for Gifted Students (Amazon)

Re-Forming Gifted Education: How Parents & Teachers Can Match the Program to the Child (Amazon)

Tier & Compacting: Differentiating Instruction for Gifted Learners (Slideshare)

The Care & Feeding of Gifted Children

Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEPs)

Developing an Educational Plan/Curriculum

Instructional Management/Individualization

Instructional Management/Acceleration Subject Acceleration

Instructional Managemnt/Acceleration Grade Acceleration

Instructional Management/Grouping

Gifted Journey: Individualized Education Plans

Cybraryman’s IEP Page

Cybraryman’s Individual Learning Program Page

Cybraryman’s Personalized Learning Page

Motivation, Engagement and Student Voice

IDEA Applies To ‘Twice Exceptional’ Students Too

Twice-Exceptional or Misdiagnosed?

Parent’s Unofficial Guide to Gifted IEPs and Gifted IEP Meetings

Berkeley Parents Network Advice about IEP and 504 Plans

Wrightslaw How Can I Fight for a Gifted Child?

Glenforest Secondary School IEP Gifted Plan

The IEP and the Gifted Learner

Blue Valley Schools Sample IEP File

Advocacy/Special Education: Getting What Your Child Needs from Schools

Tip Sheet for Developing the IEP for Gifted

Your Gifted IEP (YouTube 3:12)


GIEP Resources by State:

Arizona Department of Education Explains Non-use of IEP for Gifted

Connecticut The Student Success Plan

Kansas Gifted File Review Worksheet

Louisiana’s Educational Rights of Gifted/Talented Children in Public Schools

Louisiana’s IEP Handbook for Gifted/Talented Students (2002) (pdf)

Michigan Department of Education Talent Development (Local Initiatives)

Missouri Department of Education Gifted Education Programs Procedure Manual (No IEP)

New Jersey FAQs on Gifted Education

New Mexico IEP Requirements for Gifted – P. 71 (pdf)

Oklahoma Report on Gifted & Talented (pdf)

Pennsylvania Department of Education Gifted Education (Available GIEP – Online)


Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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