Proposed Change to Elementary Gifted

I have been asked to explain the proposed changes to gifted education. According to the research on thinking skills for advanced learners, it is better to have these skills taught for a small portion of the day each day than to have them addressed on a single day of the week (current pullout model). In the proposed model, gifted instruction would be everyday and would be related to the content areas such as reading and math. The students would be challenged daily with higher level, advanced learning. The model is based on the Renzulli model for gifted and talented students and it is also based on interest and motivation. The research is taken from the work entitled "Teaching with the Brain in Mind" by Jensen. In this way we would be utilizing our gifted teachers more effectively. This also has the potential to generate additional state revenue as more students qualify for the program in one of the two content areas, reading and/or math. The additional state revenue is not included in the proposal because it would take time to build funding in this way, it is a bonus to be realized in the future.

An Example from Henry County

Good afternoon! I had an opportunity to observe one of Mercer’s graduate students at Pate’s Creek Elementary in Henry County today. Last year, they used the gifted pull out model where the gifted students went to enrichment for one day each week. This year they are piloting a new program for gifted and talented students. Many of their teachers obtained gifted certification through RESA last year. The students receive instruction in gifted for the entire time they are at school. Some bright and motivated students are also included with the gifted students. The model that I would like to see implemented in Fayette is different in some ways from the model they are piloting in Henry County.  Here’s how the model I am proposing is different from Henry County. I would like to see gifted and talented instruction offered in the subject areas such as reading, math, writing, social studies, and science based on student motivation, interest, and ability. Instead of a rigid gifted enrollment model, I would like to see a fluid enrollment model where students could opt in and out of enriched learning experiences based on teacher identified student needs.  This proposed model would enable our students to be challenged at higher levels. Student motivation and effort would also be important components for success.  The gifted students would be with other students for certain subjects. Other students would be with gifted students for certain subjects but all the placements would all be based on student interest, motivation and ability. I would like your feedback on these ideas. I have added a comment section here for specific comments on this. Please include your e-mail if you would like a reply. Thank you.  

Feb. 13, 2013

Comments: 1
  • #1

    Jennifer Burr (Thursday, 14 February 2013 11:26)

    There is so much going on right now with the possibility of school closures, children possibly spending more than an hour on their new bus ride, teachers not having positions next year, new gifted certifications for teachers, etc. With all due respect, there is already so much change that this may be a great idea, or it may not, but I don't think this is the time to be pushing so hard.
    I think it is great you are excited about new ideas that you believe would be great for Fayette County Schools but this gifted conversation may be better received AFTER all the changes take place and children and teachers adjust to the new environment without another change. I have a child in enrichment that just started in January at Brooks Elementary and with the possibility of that school closing, I cannot even process this model or anything other than focusing on not closing our school. I do appreciate your energy and ideas. I would hate for a good plan to be overlooked because so many cannot even think about this at the current time.

    Jennifer M. Burr

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