Gifted Education

Gifted Education
The Phoenixville Area School District is dedicated to providing educational programs that inspire and prepare all students for success by ensuring they are engaged in unique learning opportunities that address their needs, allow them to realize their potential, and instill in them a desire for lifelong learning.

Definition for Gifted
The Pennsylvania Department of Education defines “Mentally gifted” as outstanding intellectual and creative ability the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program.
 
The term mentally gifted includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher or other factors (listed below) that indicate gifted ability. Gifted ability cannot be based on IQ score alone. If the IQ score is lower than 130, a child may be admitted to gifted programs when other conditions strongly indicate gifted ability.
 
The other factors to be considered include:
  • Achievement test scores that are a year or more above level
  • Observed or measured acquisition/retention rates that reflect gifted ability (how quickly a child learns new concepts or information, and how long he or she remembers it)
  • Achievement, performance or expertise in one or more academic areas that demonstrates a high level of accomplishment
  • Higher level thinking skills
  • Documented evidence that intervening factors are masking gifted ability 
Procedure for Screening and Referral of Students thought to be Mentally Gifted
Phoenixville Area School District conducts a screening of all first grade students in an effort to identify those who are thought to be gifted and in need of specially designed instruction. In addition, teachers and parents may individually refer a child for an evaluation if they suspect the child may be gifted and in need of specially designed instruction. The process seeks input from, multiple sources: teacher recommendations, ability as well as achievement scores, and parent recommendations. A permission to evaluate is sent home for parental consent.   
 
Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation
 The Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE) is an in-depth process of gathering relevant information for determining if a child is mentally gifted and in need of gifted education services. A team of education professionals and the parents have the responsibility of contributing information to the evaluation that is relevant to the child's academic functioning, learning strengths and educational needs. Information is gathered through observations, interviews, and assessments are administered a certified school psychologist. 
  
Gifted Written Report
 The Gifted Written Report (GWR) compiles the information and findings from the evaluation concerning the student’s educational strengths and needs. The report makes a determination as to whether the student is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction, indicates the basis for the determination, and includes programming recommendations. If the student is found gifted and eligible for services, a GIEP team meeting is convened.

The Gifted Individualized Plan
The Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP) is a strength based document describing the education provided to a gifted student. It is comprised of three parts: Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEP), Goals and Outcomes, and Support Services. The PLEP contains multiple measures that provide evidence of performance levels. The GIEP Goals are based on student’s learning needs and the Outcomes are the steps needed to achieve the goal. The Support Services are the services a student may need to benefit from gifted education. The GIEP team reconvenes annually to review the GEIP or sooner at the request of a GIEP team member.
 
Educational Placement
 Educational Placement decisions are based on the student’s gifted needs. The Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) identifies the educational program and placement for the child. The district must have a NORA signed by the parents indicating their approval before the child can be placed in a gifted program. 

Notice of Parental Rights for Gifted Students

Elementary Gifted Services


Gifted services for elementary students include enrichment and acceleration. A systematic and data-driven process is used for the delivery of enrichment services and identifying students who require acceleration. Math instruction is based upon data from pre-assessments as well as teacher formative assessments and is critical in determining whether a student receives enrichment in the form of compacting, looping, or a combination of both. Compacting occurs when a student demonstrates mastery of a chapter/unit of study. Looping occurs when a student demonstrates mastery of some but not all of the content. Students who compact or loop out of instruction engage in authentic complex learning tasks providing them the opportunity to apply mastered concepts, skills, and processes. Enrichment in English/Language Arts involves the use of benchmark data to determine instructional levels and the appropriate materials. Enrichment naturally occurs when students are provided above grade level reading materials that support the acquisition of higher-level thinking skills.

The overall goal is to provide our gifted learners with robust learning experiences. Through data-driven instruction, the instructional depth and complexity for gifted students encourages more active learning and promotes critical thinking by delving deeper into the curriculum content aligned with instructional levels. 

Secondary Gifted Services


Gifted services for secondary students are designed to provide students with a challenging and robust experience that meets their individual needs through mentoring. Mentors are content area teachers who guide students in pursuing learning experiences that facilitate their assuming leadership roles. Through the mentoring relationship, each student is provided enrichment opportunities, insight, and feedback on various topics related to the student’s area of interest. 

The intent of the program is to allow students and mentors to develop a personalized structure that encourages growth and increases learning opportunities. In addition, secondary gifted students are offered the opportunity to participate in selected seminars presented each quarter. At these seminars, professionals from various fields give presentations about their jobs, their educational backgrounds, and their journey to reach their goals. The purpose is to expose gifted students to various career paths they can explore with their gifted abilities.
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