GIFTED EDUCATION GUIDELINES
For gifted learners to make gains in their achievement, their instruction must incorporate supports and possibly accommodations including:
Special education supports and related services designed to meet the unique needs of the student and to enable growth in the general education curriculum and gains in academic achievement.
An Individualized Education Program, which includes goals aligned with and chosen to facilitate depth of grade-level and above grade-level academic standards.
Teachers and specialized instructional support personnel who are prepared and qualified to deliver high-quality, evidence-based, individualized instruction and support services.
In West Virginia, planning for services in grades 1 - 8 and Exceptional Gifted grades 9-12 is done through the Individualized Education Program (IEP). (Link to IEP planning guidance.) There is no set statewide or county-wide program; the IEP is individualized to the student's needs.
What is the best way to deliver gifted education services?
The best way to deliver gifted education services is the one that meets the needs of the individual student.
For students who are not eligible as Exceptional Gifted in grades nine through twelve, services are provided through Advanced Placement and Honors courses as appropriate through a Four-Year Education and Transition Plan. Link to Four-Year Education and Transition Plan
Special Education Services
|General Education - Full Time||20 or less percent in special education environment|
|General Education - Part Time||between 21 and 60 percent in special education environment|
|Special Education - Full Time||61 or more percent in special education environment|
Special education services are either direct (D) or indirect (I). Direct service is instruction provided by the gifted education teacher in the special education environment or general education environment.
Location of Services
Rather than any single model, a continuum of service delivery methods should be available to meet the individual needs of each student identified as gifted.
Pull-out to resource room or center
Flexible Grouping in general class
Separate Class (Advanced Studies, Reading/Language Arts, Math) - SEE
A delivery model used to some extent in West Virginia, is the special class, usually in mathematics and reading/language arts, that is targeted for gifted/advanced-learners in those subject areas. The gifted education teacher must be "highly qualified" in the content area in order to be the teacher of record and confer grades. The per-period class size is limited to 15 students.
Another delivery model used to some extent in West Virginia is a Center-Based approach. Eligible students are transported from their home school to a center in order to participate with peers of like abilities from other schools. This may occur weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. It is generally supplemented with another delivery model such as "Collaboration or Consultation with General Education Teachers."
Pull-Out to Resource Room Within the School- SEE
The most common delivery model in West Virginia is the pull-out to resource room model in which the student is pulled out of a general classroom for some time daily or weekly to work with the gifted education teacher on differentiated curriculum and to interact with other gifted students. Again, the per-period class size is limited to 15 students.
Co-Teaching with General Education Teachers - GEE
Co-teaching occurs when a general education teacher and gifted education teacher teach in the same classroom, have common planning time and provide common assessments. Within the co-teaching model, there are different methods:
Station Teaching and
The gifted education teacher who is co-teaching in a core academic area is required to be highly qualified in the core content area being taught.
Collaboration with General Education Teachers - GEE
Collaboration means a style of interaction in which two or more teachers work together to differentiate instruction in the general classroom to ensure all students have opportunities to make gains in learning. It must be positive, productive and meaningful for those relationships to be effective in improving instruction and better meeting the needs of gifted learners. The collaborative gifted education teacher is not the teacher of record in the content area.
Flexible Grouping in the General Classroom - GEE
Classroom teachers may provide different or varied assignments to individuals within a classroom. This differentiation may be combined with "cluster grouping" in the general classroom. Students may be grouped by ability, skill, interest, learning styles. Sometimes the groups may be teacher-selected and other times student-selected. Sometimes groups will be assigned according to purpose of the activity or role of the group in a particular activity. Movement among groups is an everyday occurence. Flexible grouping removes the stigma of being singled out as gifted. It still allows for quick mastery of skills and additional exploration of content to greater depth and breadth. It also provides opportunities for collaborative work with a variety of peers.
Consultation with General Education Teachers - GEE
Another delivery option is consultation in which the gifted education teacher provides assistance to the general educator in selecting, modifying, designing materials, providing instructional strategies, providing management and evaluation procedures, and monitoring/evaluating student progress. The consultative gifted education teacher is not the teacher of record in the content area.
After School Program
After-school programs are just that - they meet after school, during the school year, and are sponsored by the school or school district. The after-school program allows students identified as gifted to get together with other gifted learners to work on activities that enrich the core curriculum and/or projects in their particular areas of interest.
Summer and Saturday Program
Summer and Saturday programs are offered during non-school hours, usually on Saturdays or during the summer, and are sponsored by the school or school district. They allow gifted children to get together with other gifted children and work on projects and problem-based learning. They can offer both enrichment and acceleration of the core content.
Independent study allows the student to conduct research and to investigate real-world issues or concerns. In-depth study into a topic that interests a student has no limits. While independent study is self-directed, it is teacher-planned and monitored. It should go beyond reporting and allow the student to become a first-hand inquirer; perhaps taking a role such as a reporter for the local news or an expert in the field of study. Including a current events layer also adds meaning to the study.
Independent study is not just relegating the student to some out-of-the-way spot in the classroom. It is carefully planned and frequently monitored by the teacher. Gifted learners are not always "model" students.
A student is linked with a specific person who is experienced and/or knowledgeable in the particular field of study. The mentor gives advice, guides in acquisition of knowledge, oversees experiences in the field of study and helps the student to succeed.
The Socratic method of teaching is one in which the teacher or leader asks a sequence of questions designed to lead the students to think and, through answering the questions, arrive at the desired knowledge.
The art of "Socratic Questioning" involves over-arching questions that support thinking skills and help students see connections between the subjects and gain a deeper understanding. See also "The Taxonomy of Socratic Questioning," created by Richard Paul.
Learning or Interest Centers
Learning centers are different areas in the classroom where students may work independently or in small groups on a collection of activities and materials that are designed to teach, reinforce or extend a particular skill or concept. The center may include a computer with internet access. Distance learning may also take place in a learning center.
Many gifted students are opting for distance learning courses because in a rural area the offerings may be limited. In addition, gifted students seek distance learning for access to accelerated courses or access to high school or college level work. With the advances in computer technology and access to the Internet, gifted students are no longer confined to traditional places of learning. Distance learning allows students freedom to study at times that are convenient to them and at their own pace.
The West Virginia Virtual School provides high quality education for students in West Virginia. It helps bridge the barriers of time, distance and inequities for all West Virginia students.