Gifted and Talented Program
GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAMMING IN FRIENDSWOOD ISD
In 1977, the Texas Legislature passed its first legislation concerning the education of gifted/talented (G/T) students. In 1979, state funds for providing services to G/T children were made available, but providing such services was optional for school districts. In 1987, the Texas Legislature mandated that all school districts must identify and serve G/T students at all grade levels. In 1990, the Texas State Plan for the Education of the Gifted/Talented Students (State Plan) was adopted by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) that included a commitment to high-level learning opportunities for G/T learners. Friendswood ISD G/T services are aligned with the state goal listed below:
“Students who participate in services designed for gifted/talented students will demonstrate skills in self-directed learning, thinking, research, and communication as evidenced by the development of innovative products and performances that reflect individuality and creativity and are advanced in relation to students of similar age, experience, or environment. High school graduates who have participated in services for gifted/talented students will have produced products and performances of professional quality as part of the program services.”
GT PROGRAMMING/CLUSTER GROUPING
Curriculum differentiation is provided for students in kindergarten through 12th grade by teachers who have extensive training in providing for the needs of the gifted learner in Friendswood ISD. The FISD GT program is designed to encourage and promote academic excellence. The intent of this program is to provide challenging curriculum through technology, research, productive thinking and higher-level products. Each student’s progress is monitored and parents will receive a progress report at the end of every nine weeks.
Cluster grouping is a method that Friendswood ISD uses to meet the academic needs of G/T students. In Friendswood ISD schools, G/T students are clustered with a G/T trained classroom teacher. The G/T cluster teacher is responsible for teaching the core content academic curriculum as well as differentiating instruction for the G/T students. The regular classroom teachers teaching gifted students in cluster groupings have at least 30 hours of staff development in teaching strategies and the nature and needs of the gifted learner.
Friendswood GT Programming is designed to meet the needs of gifted students, and enable them to reach their potential. The K-5 gifted program is called SEARCH. (Seek, Evaluate, Analyze, Research, Challenge, & Hypothesize). At the junior high school level students are provided pre-advanced placement opportunities. At the high school level students are offered advanced placement opportunities and AP coursework.
FRIENDSWOOD ISD KINDERGARTEN GIFTED AND TALENTED SCREENING AND IDENTIFICATION PROCESS
The Texas Education Agency mandates that all kindergarten students be screened for possible identification and service in their district’s gifted and talented program.
Friendswood ISD uses a wide variety of criteria in the screening and identification of our kindergarten students. The process assures that all kindergarten students are screened and considered for possible identification and placement in the districts Gifted and Talented program which is called SEARCH. The screening process begins in the classroom where teachers observe and document gifted indicators evident in their students. Each classroom teacher also presents specific lessons for further documentation of student gifted traits. In addition, Gifted & Talented campus specialists teach a problem-solving lesson to all kindergarten students looking for evidence of gifted traits. Testing data is also collected from MAP; this nationally normed achievement test is administered three times throughout the year to all students in kindergarten.
After looking at all the individual results, teachers and the Gifted & Talented Committee form a talent pool of kindergarten students. These selected participants will be given the CogAT, an ability test, in January or February of their kindergarten year.
Students that meet the requirements will begin services in March as a 45-minute pull-out program once a week with the campus Gifted & Talented teacher.
Students may be nominated for the gifted and talented program at any grade level by teachers, counselors, parents, or other interested persons. Nominations should be made in writing to the campus GT Specialist by May 1st. Contact shall be made with nominated students and/or their parents to determine interest in pursuing the program further. If additional testing is warranted, it will occur in the month of May for placement the following school year.
Data collected through both objective and subjective assessments shall be measured against the criteria approved by the Board to determine individual eligibility for the program. Multiple factors, including both qualitative and quantitative measures, are taken into account during the identification process. Students are assessed in the areas of achievement, intelligence and creativity. The criteria shall be specific to the state definition of gifted and talented and shall ensure the fair assessment of students with special needs, such as the culturally different, the economically disadvantaged, and students with disabilities.
Written parental consent shall be obtained before any special testing or individual assessment is conducted as part of the screening and identification process. All student information collected during the screening and identification process shall be an educational record, subject to the protections set out in Board Policy FL.
A selection committee shall evaluate each nominated student according to the established criteria. The selection committee will identify and select those students for whom gifted program placement is the most appropriate educational setting.
The committee shall be composed of at least three professional educators who have received training in the nature and needs of gifted students and shall be established at the elementary level and at the secondary level.
Parents shall be notified in writing upon selection of the student for the gifted program. Written parental consent shall be obtained before any student can participate in GT programming. Participation in any program or services provided for gifted students is voluntary.
All students who have participated in an identified gifted and talented program prior to coming to Friendswood ISD may be considered for the Gifted/Talented Program. Friendswood ISD, like other districts has specific criteria for identification of GT programming, which may differ from other school districts.
Parents may receive a Transfer Referral Form from their campus upon enrollment. Once GT screening records/matrix are received from the student’s previous district, the records will be examined for correspondence to Friendswood ISD criteria. If the transfer data is insufficient, Friendswood ISD will assess the student to see if placement in the program is in the student’s best interest. Parents have two options:
- Child will be immediately screened upon enrollment
- Parents may wait and request screening in the Spring
A decision will be made regarding identification within 30 school days of the receipt of the completed Transfer Referral Form.
A furlough is a temporary “leave of absence” from the Gifted/Talented Program designed to meet the individual needs of an identified student. Anyone may request a furlough: parent, student, teacher, or administrator. Requests for a furlough will be given to the campus Gifted/Talented Specialist for consideration by the Gifted/Talented committee. A student may be furloughed for a period of time deemed appropriate by the committee. At the end of the furlough, the student’s progress shall be reassessed, and the student may re-enter the Gifted/Talented program, be removed from the program, or be placed on another furlough.
Furloughs are designed to be short-term and temporary and should never be used for an entire school year. A furlough does not indicate a permanent exiting of the program. Furloughs could be utilized for a variety of extenuating circumstances. Any student may be granted a furlough from the program for various issues such as overcommitment, family concerns, serious illness, or any other circumstances which would inhibit or curtail the student’s performance in the program. The furlough may also be used prior to a formal exit from the program for those students who are unable to maintain satisfactory performance within the learning opportunities of the Gifted/Talented program. A furlough might also provide the student an opportunity to attain performance goals established by the Gifted/Talented committee. A furlough is arranged to meet the individual needs of the student.
Student performance in the program shall be monitored. A student shall be removed from the program at any time the Gifted/Talented committee determines it is in the student’s best interest and a furlough has been ineffective. If a parent requests their child be removed from the program, the Gifted/Talented committee shall grant the request. An exit from the program is a permanent status. Once a student exits the program, he/she must adhere to the identification procedures and exhibit educational need to be readmitted.
Parents or students may appeal any final decision of the selection committee regarding selection for or removal from the gifted program. Appeal shall be made first to the campus GT Specialist within 10 business days of receipt of formal notification letter. Upon that time campus GT Specialists will provide parents with the appropriate Gifted and Talented Services Appeal Form. Appeals shall contain information supporting that one or more of the appeal conditions exist. Conditions for appeals:
- Parents have substantial evidence to introduce that, when added to the existing information, creates a compelling ‘preponderance of evidence’ regarding the student’s need for program services.
- Parents have substantial evidence to introduce that an inconsistent or improper application of the identification process has occurred.
Any subsequent appeals shall be made in accordance with FNG(LOCAL) beginning at Level Two.
The gifted program shall be evaluated periodically, and evaluation information shall be shared with Board members, administrators, teachers, counselors, students in the gifted and talented program, and the community.
The District shall ensure that information about the District’s gifted and talented program is available to parents and community members and that they have an opportunity to develop an understanding of and support for the program.
Teachers who provide instruction and services as part of the Friendswood ISD Gifted and Talented program have a minimum of 30 hours of staff development that includes Nature and Needs of Gifted/Talented Students, Creativity, Assessment and Identification of the Gifted, Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted, and Curriculum Differentiation and Instruction for Gifted Students.
Teachers without the required training who provide instruction and services that are part of the gifted/talented program must complete the 30-hour training requirement within one semester. Teachers who provide instruction and services that are part of the program for gifted students must have a minimum of six hours annually (from June 1 through May 31) of professional development in gifted education.
Dr. Stacy Guzzetta