Rationale for Gifted Education
In accordance with the Francis Howell School District Vision Statement, all students have the right to an education that is commensurate with their abilities. Reis, Burns and Renzulli, leaders in the field of gifted education, state that the majority of gifted learners may spend as much as 50% of their time working with curriculum that they have already mastered. This may cause gifted students to spend half of their academic career working well below their abilities.
Gifted children have specific behavioral characteristics in the cognitive and affective realms that present special learning needs that must be addressed by curriculum differentiation (Van Tassel-Baska, 1998). Gifted education provides a means of addressing these particular characteristics and promoting the continual growth of students in an environment that is respectful of individual differences. The gifted program does not substitute or replace the classroom instruction already provided by the Francis Howell School District.
The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted and talented students as "students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities." [Title IX, Part A, Definition 22. (2002)]
State of Missouri: Definition of Gifted
Gifted students are defined in Section 162.675, RSMo as those students who exhibit precocious development of mental capacity and learning potential as determined by competent professional evaluation to the extent that continued educational growth and stimulation could best be served by an academic environment beyond that offered through a standard grade-level curriculum.
Challenge gifted students to reach their full potential by providing a program that offers stimulating learning activities, critical thinking tasks, and opportunities to collaborate with others. The gifted program will set high expectations in order to stretch students’ academic and emotional well-being.
The Francis Howell School District will become a leader in the field of gifted education, graduating students who are well-adjusted and empowered critical thinkers.
Challenge will be provided inside and outside the gifted classroom
Encouragement will be provided to nurture the gifts of each child
Advocacy and support for gifted education will be continuous
Honesty and respect will be granted for all members of the gifted community
Empathy and support will be honored for emotional, social and academic needs
Communication between the school team, family, and student will be open and on-going
What Do the Gifted Need?
Adapted from: Feldhusen: Excellence in Educating the Gifted (1998)
Best understood as opportunities to study additional topics not covered in the regular educational program.
Opportunities to study new material that is typically taught at a higher grade level than the one in which the child is currently enrolled.
Presentation of new learning tasks at the next higher level of difficulty
In the context of gifted education, this approach is focused on building up a student’s weak area while allowing them to continue at an advanced pace in the area of strength.
Identification of Special Talents
Emphasis on identification of special talents and to do all that is possible to fostering those special talents to the greatest degree possible.
A focus on the social-emotional needs of gifted students because their giftedness may cause personal and/or academic problems.
Students need to become familiar with the skills of historical, descriptive, and experimental research as tools for future learning and thinking.