Programming Options for Gifted Students
Programming for gifted students in the Elizabeth C-1 School District is predominantly done within the regular classroom using differentiated instruction strategies.
Depth & Complexity Framework
This model differentiates thinking by adding depth and complexity to programming for gifted students.
Depth in the curriculum is ensured by including: the language of the discipline; details, rules, patterns, trends, ethical issues, unanswered questions and big ideas. Complexity is created by examining: multiple perspectives, changes over time and interdisciplinary connections.
Differentiated Instruction Model
This model describes how to respond to the needs of gifted learners by modifying content, process and products to match students’ readiness, interests and learning profiles.
Integrated Curriculum Model
This model emphasizes advanced content, higher level thinking processes and products and interdisciplinary themes. Materials from The College of William and Mary are used in reading and language arts classes in grades 3-8 for gifted and advanced learners. Those teachers responsible for advanced language arts instruction have committed to the following best practices within their classrooms:
- Teaching to an overarching concept. (Many gifted students learn best by seeing the "big picture".)
- Asking deep and complex questions. (Gifted students have the capacity and desire to think at higher levels. Teachers will use the Depth & Complexity Framework to assist in focusing inquiry questions.)
- Allowing for 1-2 research projects a year based on the student's interests and passions. (Gifted students need time to pursue their interest and passions, as well as using those interests to establish relevant connections to their academic studies and the real world.
Whole grade acceleration (skipping a grade) is an option that follows extensive protocols outlined in the Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual. This option is most often initiated by a parent.
Content acceleration (working one or two grade levels above peers) is the district's main differentiation strategy for gifted and advanced mathematics students at the secondary level. The middle and high schools work together to schedule classes for students who need access to both campuses during the school day.
Adjusting classroom groups based on student needs and pre-assessment results is a common strategy used by elementary teachers during math and reading instruction. Groups are fluid based on the standards or concepts being taught and the specific needs of the child.
The high school offers a variety of programming options that allow students to differentiate their learning path based on personal interests and post secondary goals.
- Advanced Placement (Course Description Guide pg.9)
- Concurrent Enrollment (Course Description Guide pg.58)
- Gifted Seminar
- Talent Aptitude Pathways
Extension and Enrichment Opportunities
High School Students have opportunities to participate in a variety of clubs, competitions and other extracurricular activities. Field trips, guest speakers and college visits are also planned throughout the year by the high school gifted education laison.
Middle School Students are grouped together for advisory class where they visit a college once a year and discuss pertinent issues related to being gifted. Spring 2018 these students are invited to participate in an 8-week global STEAM program called Level Up Village where they will pair up with another middle school student from a developing country to create a video game.
Secondary Students are invited to attend the Ultimate Scavenger Hunt 3-day retreat for grades 7-12. This event brings gifted students from Colorado’s north and eastern plains together with experts to think about big ideas, network with gifted peers, experience team work, collaborate through physical and mental problem solving and take educated risks outside their comfort zones at mountain retreats and colleges around the state.
Elementary Students will begin using the Renzulli Learning System in the Fall of 2017. Identified gifted and talent pool students will meet every-other Monday to learn how to use the system within the classroom as a supplemental anchoring activity and monitor their interest-based learning goals. These same students are invited to participate in the Ultimate Celebration twice a year. This regional event, hosted by the Northeast Region, gets students grades 3-6 together to interact with like-ability peers and explore content areas through inquiry led by Colorado experts from a variety of fields.
STEAM Camp is a week long science, technology, engineering, arts and math learning experience for identified gifted and talent pool students grades 3-8. Elizabeth School District teachers facilitate this hands-on, inquiry based program held in June at Singing Hills Elementary School.
Western Academic Talent Search (WATS) is offered through the Center for Bright Kids, one of several national non-profit Regional Talent Development Centers. WATS enables academically talented 3rd through 9th graders to take the ACT, SAT, or PSAT 8/9 test at a much earlier age. This above-level testing experience allows students to:
- better evaluate their strengths
- practice taking a more challenging test
- compare their scores with other high achieving students
- qualify for special summer or academic year opportunities or scholarships
- receive recognition of their outstanding abilities
Application to WATS is strictly voluntary. If you are a parent and wish to register your for participation in the talent search, you will need the letter you received when your child was identified or you can contact the gifted education liaison at your child’s school to receive a formal qualifying letter from the district. For more information about this program visit the website at https://www.centerforbrightkids.org/