Parents Allied with Children and Teachers

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PACT Charter School
7250 E. Ramsey Parkway
Ramsey, MN 55303

 602_Elementary Gifted and Talented Policy

 Date created: 

 Committee Approval by: 

 Date Approved:

 Reviewed:

 unknown

 ESC

 20090423

 2015-16

 BRD

 20090514


Disclaimer: While this policy builds on the premise that, in an ideal situation, gifted and talented students would be educated in a separate classroom as identified in this program, it is understood that it requires additional revenue that may not always be available. As a result, the program may need to be modified to accommodate available funds.

PURPOSE

The purpose of Gifted and Talented Education Programs and Services, working in partnership with stake-holders, is to advocate for students with outstanding gifts and talents and to prepare them for a changing world by developing their gifts and talents within a atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and adequate resources.

 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Gifted and talented learners have particular academic, social, and emotional needs that require a supportive educational environment, which provides:

  • Opportunities to progress through challenging curricula using flexible teaching methods,
  • Many and varied resources and levels of service which support, extend, and expand rather than supplant grade and course curricula,
  • Opportunities to interact with each other for social and emotional benefit,
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence enhanced by successful completion of rigorous academic work and attainment of high expectations,
  • Appropriate and challenging educational experiences.

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF G/T PROGRAMS AND SERVICES AT PACT CHARTER SCHOOL

  • Promote independent learning fostering student self-growth
  • Develop the talent(s) of participants
  • Nurture the academic, social, and emotional growth of gifted students and provide appropriate resources and services for them
  • Recognize the diverse needs of participants and provide a continuum of services to meet those needs
  • Provide a variety of grouping arrangements and effective practices
  • Assure that qualified gifted and talented staff are trained and prepared to teach G/T students

 

STUDENT IDENTIFICATION

There are numerous accepted definitions for gifted students. PACT is choosing to define G/T based on a definition provided by the 1971 U.S. Commissioner of Education, Sidney P. Marland, Jr., “Students that are gifted and talented may have high achievement or potential in general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, creative or productive thinking, leadership ability, visual or performing arts, or psychomotor ability.” A more simplistic way to define G/T was made by the National Association for Gifted Children, which states, “a gifted person is someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression.”

During the student identification process, the following items will be considered:

  1. MAP test results;
  2. A nonverbal assessment, possibly the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT-I) or the (COGAT) which stands for the Cognitive Abilities Test. The COGAT contains three tests: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal.
  3. MCA test results;
  4. Recommendations, which may include:
    1. Parents and other adults may nominate students
    2. A teacher recommendation will be required. Teachers will be asked to submit student checklists. Note: Students should not be excluded from potential nomination because of test scores, school performance, special education placement, or other criteria. Students may enter the program at the beginning of each quarter.
  5. If a student’s scores and evaluations are indicative of giftedness (based on parameters established by PACT Charter School), the adults working with the student (which may consist of teachers, parents and paraprofessionals) will meet to discuss the student’s placement. A student may not take the test for giftedness more than once a school year.
  6. Students in grades 2-6 will be able to participate in a reading/social studies block. Students in grades 3-6 will be able to participate in a math/science block as well. Approximately the top seven percent of students would qualify for the program. Each block would be sixty minutes per week. The students in the reading/social studies block would be pulled during reading time, and the students in the math/science block would be pulled during math time.

 

EXITING THE PROGRAM

If students do not meet the expectations of the program, they will exit the program. Likewise, students will exit the program if they begin to struggle with their regular classroom work. It is recommended that a meeting be held with the parent/guardian(s) and student (grades 4-6) before exiting the student from the program.

 

CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

Gifted students at PACT may be served on different levels, based on the Treffinger model.

Level 1: (regular classroom): Students are all individuals who need a challenging program that includes opportunities for them to develop their abilities, skills, and talents. Gifts and talents in all students are nurtured to spark their interests. These needs are addressed in the regular classrooms through differentiated instruction.

Level 2: (regular classroom): Students show giftedness through certain talents or abilities in specific areas. They may demonstrate varying degrees of success in different academic areas. These students can access options such as flexible math groupings, differentiated instruction, or curriculum compacting.

Level 3: (pull out): Students show outstanding ability in specific areas and need a strong, challenging, differentiated program. These students may need to pursue a more in-depth curriculum or progress at a faster rate. Program options for these students may include the reading/social studies block, the math/science block, content differentiation, or a Personalized Education Plan (P.E.P.).

Level 4: (pull out): Students need an individualized program that might involve acceleration of content. Additional options that may be appropriate include the reading/social studies block, the math/science block, content differentiation, a Personalized Education Plan (P.E.P.), or grade acceleration. Teachers and/or will advise parents/guardians and students about outside enrichment activities.

 

DEFINING BLOCKS

  1. When a student attends the reading/social studies block and/or the math/science block, they should not be responsible for completing all of the regular classroom coursework that they missed. The classroom teacher will be responsible for compacting the curriculum whenever appropriate to ensure that attendance at the G/T classes will not be detrimental to the student’s regular course work.
  2. The instruction, objectives, and strategies in the blocks may be different than those in the regular education classroom. The block instructor will be responsible for sending home newsletters on a monthly basis, informing families of content covered and possible outside activities to build on the knowledge gained.

 

ASSESSMENT

Students must also be assessed in the program. If a licensed teacher teaches the blocks, the teacher would write progress reports for each student. If a paraprofessional teaches the blocks, the classroom teacher would need to assess the projects as an extension of the regular classroom activities.

 

CONSIDERATIONS FOR CURRICULUM INCLUDE (but are not limited to)

  1. Math/Science Block
    1. Participate in the Continental Math League. The Continental Math League problems require independent thinking. Practice books would be purchased. Students in grade 3 would compete in three meets per year, and students in grades 4-6 can compete in five meets per year. Note: The meets take place at the school.
    2. Participate in the Stock Market Game. Students in grades 4-6 could participate in groups of five and spend a virtual $100,000 in the stock market. They make decisions by analyzing data.
    3. Participation in Future Problem Solving. Future Problem Solving competitions take place once a year. The students are scored on scenario writing, community problem-solving, action based problem solving, and teamwork. Students in grade 3 can participate non-competitively, and students in grades 4-6 can participate competitively.
  2. Reading/Social Studies Block
    1. Participation in the Junior Great Books Program. The program works on critical thinking, reading carefully, listening intently, and speaking and writing persuasively. The students would read a story and discuss/journal about the story.
    2. Participation in the National Current Events League. The students can participate in four events per year, which are held at the school. Practice sheets are available. This is available for students in grades 4-6.
  3. Possible after-school options.
    1. Destination ImagiNation is a program for grades 2-6. The students are given a challenge that they must complete as a team. The team then attends a competition
    2. Odyssey of the Mind is another program that encourages problem solving. The students complete improvisational activities as a team at a competition
    3. Participation in the Knowledge Master Open (KMO). Open to all students – not just those identified as Gifted and Talented.

 

INSTRUCTOR – (The key will be consistency and accountability)

  1. The preferred option, if funds are available, is to have a licensed teacher instructing the G/T students. This person would receive training in working with G/T students. This would allow for the most effective instruction and assessment.
  2. The second option would to have a part-time paraprofessional lead the program
  3. The third option would be to have a volunteer lead the program. Of course, volunteers are encouraged to assist with the program regardless of who leads it.
  4. The last option would be to try and incorporate some of these things into the regular classroom, done by the regular classroom instructor.

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  1. One teacher per grade level will be designated as the designated G/T Liaison and be offered additional training. If a paraprofessional leads the program, they would then report to the G/T Liaison and/or the Curriculum Coordinator. All G/T instructors, whether licensed teachers or paraprofessionals will be offered opportunities to attend training. At least one professional development activity a year designed specifically for teaching G/T will be paid for by the school. The paraprofessional should be evaluated to assure his/her competency in instruction before being place in this position.
  2. In addition, all staff members should attend a seminar on the nature of giftedness and the accompanying educational and psychological needs. Teachers should receive training on how to recognize giftedness in the student population. The information should be reviewed annually. Teachers should also be given time to plan differentiated lessons for their classrooms.
  3. In preparation for implementation of this program, during the 2009 summer, a teacher will need to write/adapt the curriculum for the program.

 

SOCIO-EMOTIONAL GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING

  1. The school social worker/guidance counselor should be trained to help gifted learners through problems of perfectionism and isolation. Gifted students should also be told about counseling and guidance services that are available. The social worker/guidance counselor should be able to effectively work with parents and teachers in better understanding and addressing the socio-emotional needs of gifted students.
  2. The G/T students should be taught how to appropriately advocate for themselves and solve some of their own academic and socio-emotional problems. The instructor in charge of the blocks should provide opportunities for students to participate in regular group discussions around issues related to giftedness. Bethel University education students could serve as mentors for gifted students.
  3. If a teacher leads the gifted program, he/she should be available to talk to parents at conferences.

 

IMPLEMENTATION CONSIDERATIONS

  1. An orientation should be held with all new students to the program at the beginning of each semester.
  2. Parents should receive a sign off form indicating their understanding of this policy.

 

PROGRAM DESIGN

The annual budget should include funding specifically for gifted education programming.
Programming documents, including a clearly articulated philosophy statement, goals, and objectives, should be developed and updated to reflect a current mission and intended outcomes. General education programming and gifted education programming should be examined for congruency and areas in which suitable differentiation can be developed. A curriculum audit should be conducted to determine where, when, and how the basic academic skills and knowledge are delivered in the general curriculum in order to adapt and modify curriculum and instruction for gifted learners. The program should be reviewed internally and externally at least once every three years to determine if it follows best practices in the field. The instructional groups should remain fluid, allowing for changes in students’ strengths and weaknesses.

One teacher per grade level should be designated as the gifted leader and receive additional training. (Each gifted leader may lead a cluster classroom, where at least four gifted learners are intentionally placed together.) The paraprofessional would then report to the gifted leaders, the Curriculum Coordinator, or the Elementary Curriculum Committee.

Note: The paraprofessional should be evaluated to assure his/her competency in instruction. The paraprofessional should be engaged in recognized professional development activities in gifted education at least once a year.

School administration must be involved in decision-making that reflects and supports gifted education programming.

 

PROGRAM EVALUATION

Parents, teachers, administrators, and students should be surveyed to identify issues of concern with the program. The surveys should be carefully developed to encourage honest responses and address important evaluation questions. Teachers, administrators and parents should improve the program using information from the surveys. Practices that are ineffective or inefficient should be changed as soon as possible.

Surveys should be available in numerous languages, as should all information for parents.