West Central School District 49-7

705 East 2nd Street

Hartford, SD 57033

605-528-3217

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Gifted Education

A gifted student is one who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to peers of the same age, experience or environment.


Mission Statement and Philosophy
“To provide optimal learning experiences for high ability learners.” Because gifted learners typically learn at a pace and depth that set them apart from the majority of their same-age peers, they have the right to a challenging educational environment. Classroom teachers who have identified gifted students work with our district Differentiated Instruction Coach to differentiate for their students by the variety of abilities, talents, interests, and learning styles.


Goals
The goals of the gifted education program are:

• To provide differentiated learning experiences which enhance the regular curriculum.
• To help students become more independent and self-directed learners.
• To enable gifted students to interact with and challenge each other by structuring a format through which they are able to work with other students with similar abilities and interests.
• To develop students’ creative problem solving and critical thinking, reasoning abilities, and skills in decision-making and communication.
• To assist in developing personal growth, social skills, and self-esteem and in recognizing and responding to specific strengths and needs of self and others.
• To utilize all available resources to enhance the learning opportunities for high ability learners.


Identification Process
Students in grades kindergarten through eighth can be referred for testing for the Gifted Education Program by a parent/guardian or teacher who believes that a student may meet the gifted criteria. The testing to determine eligibility for the gifted program includes an achievement test and an intelligence test (IQ). Once testing is requested district personnel will administer the KTEA, an achievement test for math, reading comprehension, and writing. If scores are above the 97th percentile in one or more areas, then the WISC-IV test will be given. This measures the student’s intelligence quotient. A score of 127 or above would qualify your child for the Gifted Education Program.


Discontinuance of Participation
Parents or guardians may request discontinuance from participating in the gifted program at any time they believe the gifted program has met the needs of their child.


Appeal Procedure
Parents or guardians, on behalf of their child, may appeal decisions regarding identification or participation options by following Policy File: KLD Public Complaints about School Personnel or Programs. Complaints and grievances are best handled and resolved as close to their origin as possible. Therefore, the proper channel of complaints for gifted program placement will be as follows:


• Teacher/classified employee
• Differentiated Instruction Coach
• Director of Special Services
• Principal
• Superintendent of School
• School Board


If a resolution is not reached through the proper channels then a written appeal can be made. The steps for this are identified in the policy high lighted above.


Implementation of Gifted Education Services
At the elementary level, students in the gifted program receive support through the collaboration of the Differentiated Instruction Coach and their classroom teacher in clustered groups. The teacher and Coach are able to provide extended learning opportunities to the group. Cluster grouping provides an effective component to our gifted education program for this age of learners. They also benefit from time together as a small group, so the Differentiation Instruction Coach will rotate through the grades (k-5) to ensure each grade level has time for gifted projects. These projects are based on the classroom curriculum at that time and are planned together with the classroom teacher. These clusters move together during grades 1-5. Students’ progress in K-5 will be monitored through classroom observations, and product assessments. Products will be expected to demonstrate higher order thinking, and divergent and abstract thinking.

In grades six through eighth, students will be placed in a heterogenous mix. The Differentiated Instruction Coach works with teachers to help them differentiate the curriculum for the students. The Coach is available to come into classrooms and to meet with teachers at team meetings to provide ideas and suggestions to best meet the individual needs of the gifted learner.

At the High School level, the Differentiated Instruction Coach works with high school teachers to differentiate in general education classrooms. The Differentiated Instruction Coach will also work with students and the guidance counselor to help students make course decisions as needed. Students also have the opportunity to take Honor’s, Advanced Placement and Dual Credit courses during their high school years.

 

Staffing and Professional Development
All specialist teachers in gifted education should possess a certification or degree in gifted education. Regularly scheduled planning time will be allotted to the gifted education teacher to assist classroom teachers with compacting and differentiating curriculum. All school staff will be provided ongoing staff development in the nature and needs of gifted learners, and appropriate differentiated instructional strategies. Additional training may take place in faculty meetings.


Responsibility of Educating the Gifted Learner
Responsibility for the education of gifted learners is a shared one requiring strong relationships between the gifted education program and general education district wide. Relationships between the gifted education program and general education will be fostered through staff development, partnerships in developing curriculum and on-going communication.


Socio-Emotional Guidance and Counseling
Recognizing that gifted learners have unique socio-emotional development needs, a scope and sequence curriculum containing personal/social awareness and adjustment, academic planning, and vocational and career awareness will be provided to gifted learners.


Resources
A diversity of resources such as parents, community, and technology should be available to support the gifted education program. There should be a growing network of these resources developed in cooperation with the general education district wide.


Program Evaluation
The gifted education program will be evaluated annually based on the student needs and best practices.


Communication of Programming
The gifted education program will establish on-going communication with stakeholders including students, parents and faculty as well as other educational agencies vested in the education of gifted learners. These agencies include the West Central School Board, area schools for the purpose of networking and intermediate educational agencies.