Gifted & Talented

In the late 1980’s, the perennial argument over the definition of giftedness itself (whether an inborn trait of the individual, or an ability and willingness to work hard in order to achieve) moved in the direction of achievement and accomplishment. What we now know is that giftedness does not always equate to academic achievement. Educators’ preconceived ideas about what constitutes giftedness may result in misunderstandings about the identification of students with diverse socio-economic, language, cultural and racial backgrounds. (Bruch, 1975; Callahan et al., 1995; Grossman, 1998). At IBCS, we seek to change the historic disproportionality in gifted education. To begin, we utilize the Columbus Group definition of giftedness. 

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order for them to develop optimally. (The Columbus Group, 1991) 

At IBCS, we employ a myriad of service delivery options to meet the needs of gifted and talented students. Support may include pull-out support, push-in, co-teaching, modeling, curriculum extension, mentoring, grouping strategies, curriculum compacting, grade level and subject level acceleration and enrichment opportunities. The Gifted and Talented (GT) teacher provides targeted support and professional development to the school staff. The GT teacher oversees the GT

identification process and utilizes the DPS Gifted Identification Guidelines in accordance with CDE regulations. All students formally identified for Gifted and Talented services will receive Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs). Students that do not meet the CDE regulatory threshold for formal GT identification but demonstrate characteristics of giftedness and have one data point in their body of evidence may be placed in a talent pool, receive GT services, and have this formally documented to support identification efforts.

Strategies, Programs, Personnel, and Resources

IBCS meets the needs of gifted and advanced students through a full-time programming model referred to as clustering. This is a research-based strategy to attend to both the academic and social/emotional needs of gifted learners. This model places a group, or cluster, of GT students into a classroom with a teacher who has training and experience in meeting the needs of this diverse group of learners. Research is clear that gifted students benefit from time with their intellectual peers and benefit emotionally from grouping with like-minded peers. IBCS believes in

clustering GT students together for their academic instruction as a means of attending to their academic and affective needs. Services for gifted and talented students are driven by goals set forth and instructional strategies outlined in their individualized advanced learning plans. IBCS employs a full-time gifted coordinator/s to help support the cluster model through testing and identification, modeling, planning, and offering extensions and resources for our cluster teachers.

Equitable Access to GT Programming

Too many students do not receive appropriately challenging curriculum and services and as a result, fail to reach their potential. This is a loss, not only for the students, but for the nation. The gaps in support and services for our most advanced students are even more pronounced for children from minority, MLL, and low-income backgrounds. In an effort to close the achievement gap for struggling learners, education policy focuses nearly exclusively on grade-level achievement. This results in widening of another achievement gap.  Research on student performance on state and national tests shows that there is a growing gap at the top of the achievement scale between white students and students of color and between advanced students from low-income backgrounds and those from more advantaged circumstances. This achievement gap, referred to as the “excellence gap,” is especially problematic, in light of the demand for a high-performing and highly skilled workforce to ensure U.S. economic competitiveness in the new global economy. 

IBCS is committed to addressing the ongoing disproportionality in gifted education by actively seeking to offer equitable GT programming for our underserved populations. We accomplish this by intentionally placing students in the GT cluster classrooms with a focus on equity. Students that do not meet the threshold for formal GT identification but show indicators of giftedness can be intentionally placed in the cluster classroom and offered full-time GT programming. We also actively seek to identify students from diverse backgrounds by encouraging participation in testing, universally screening all students in K and 2nd grade, sharing characteristics of giftedness in CLED (culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse) populations with teachers, and advocating for equitable identification practices at the state and national level. Our goal is to have our GT programming reflect the population of students that we serve and become a model for what equitable access to GT programming should be. We seek to become a model for equitable access to gifted programming in the district.

Resources for Families/Caregivers:

Slides from previous GT parent info night 

Gifted Underachievers

Myths about Gifted Students