Frequently Asked Questions

What is Gifted and Talented (G/T)?
According to the Texas Education Code, section 29.121, Gifted and Talented means a child who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment and who: exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area, possesses an unusual capacity for leadership, or excels in a specific academic field.

How do I know if my child is Gifted and Talented?
All gifted children are not the same. It is important to note that there are not one or two characteristics that an educator can point to in order to say that a student is G/T. It is a combination of characteristics. Some signs that a student might be gifted include, but are not limited to: extraordinary memory compared to peers, highly curious, highly creative, exhibits abstract reasoning and problem-solving skills, draws inferences and grasps underlying principles, initiates projects, discusses things in detail, elaborates.

Why must we serve the gifted and talented outside the regular curriculum?
Identification of the differences and special abilities of the gifted/talented student requires provisions which develop these characteristics in order to provide an education commensurate with each child’s ability to learn.

What is differentiation for the gifted/talented?
Differentiated curriculum is a curriculum designed specifically to meet the needs of students identified as gifted/talented. Curriculum for gifted/talented students must be congruent with the characteristics that identify them as a distinct population.

The program for the gifted/talented provides multidimensional and appropriate learning experiences which incorporate the academic, psychological and social needs of these students.

Differentiated curriculum is composed of contents, processes, and products which are more advanced, more mature, and more sophisticated than those associated with the regular curriculum for other children.

Is it of benefit for a child to be identified as gifted and talented at a young age?
There are strong indications that much of a person’s intelligence is developed very early. Habits and attitudes also develop early and have long lasting effects on academic success. It is important, therefore, that young gifted and talented children be provided with learning experiences that address their unique learning needs and abilities and foster positive attitudes that will enable them to work to their full potential.

Why does the district not use STAAR scores to determine GT placement?
The STAAR test is an inappropriate measure for identification for a gifted program. STARR is a criterion-referenced test designed to determine if a designated, core curriculum is being taught to Texas students. As a result, the test does not look at knowledge and/or skills that are above the students’ grade levels. Identifying students for a gifted program requires determining if they are functioning significantly above grade level; something the STAAR test does not indicate.

How can parents help meet the needs of their gifted child?
Parents can help meet their child’s unique needs through providing them with a wide variety of experiences. Parents should take their gifted child to museums, plays, and the library just to name a few. They may play new games, sing, do experiments, engage in sports together, read to and with their child every day, allow “free” time for their child to let his or her imagination and curiosity and reflective thinking ability develop. If the child participates in structured educational enrichment programs, parent participation, input, and support are vital to ensure that the program is meeting the child’s needs. Parents are their child’s first teachers and have a responsibility to provide that child with secure, quality learning environments.

Who is required to have professional development in Gifted Education?
Teachers who provide instruction and services as part of the district’s GT services (which includes any classroom teacher who provides instruction in the four core content areas or in a Pre-AP or AP class) with a GT student assigned to their class, are required to receive a minimum of 30 clock hours of professional development prior to their assignment to provide GT services and instruction. This 30 hour training must include nature and needs, identification and assessment, curriculum and instruction, differentiating curriculum, and the social and emotional needs of gifted students. Teachers without required training must complete the 30 –hour training within one semester of assignment to provide GT services and instruction. Teachers must also receive a minimum of six hours annually of professional development in Gifted Education.

Administrators and counselors who have authority for service decisions for GT students are required to receive six hours of professional development that includes nature and needs of gifted students and/or service options for gifted students.

More questions and answers to be added.

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