As part of our commitment to all students, Tyrone Area School District is committed to providing gifted education services that are designed and implemented in order for gifted students to demonstrate growth and progress. We believe that our best chance to provide instruction that challenges all students to perform at individual levels of excellence will come from cultivating the common ground between gifted education and general education; therefore, gifted services are integrated into the regular school program to provide challenge throughout the school day, not just during a few hours a week.
Most students’ academic needs are met within the regular curriculum. The purpose of gifted services is to provide and monitor students who, based on superior academic achievement and the results of a psychological evaluation, are identified as potentially needing content or instruction beyond what is typically available in the regular education setting. For these students, assessment data is used to determine goals, specially designed instruction, and/or placement in order for the student to have an equal opportunity to gain a year’s worth of academic growth. Based on this information, the regular education and gifted support teachers differentiate units, lessons, activities, and assessments according to the student’s academic level.
For most gifted students, differentiation within the classroom setting means providing higher level materials, complex or abstract connections, and more higher order thinking tasks, activities, and questions in order to develop critical and creative thinking abilities. Some students may also need acceleration or compaction of subjects or topics because of well-developed retention and acquisition rates.
In order to identify students who may have learning needs, all second grade students take a standardized aptitude test. When the results are returned, a committee looks at the results, as well as classroom data, to determine if further testing is warranted for any student. Students who are identified as potential gifted candidates are then screened using an abbreviated version of a psychological evaluation. Teacher observations and all classroom data are also collected. All of the data collected is then reviewed by the committee. If the data indicate that the student may have specific learning needs that cannot be met in the classroom setting with differentiation, then the student is referred to the school psychologist for a full scale psychological battery, which is the last step of the identification process. This comprehensive screening process assures that all students are identified based on multiple criteria, rather than one measure. Parents and teachers may also refer a student for screening if they believe the student’s needs cannot be met in the classroom, even with ability groupings and differentiation of content, materials, and/or instruction.