Additional Considerations for Identifying and Serving Students Who are Gifted in K-12

Additional Considerations for Identifying and Serving Students Who are Gifted in K-12

Reset and Restart Additional Considerations

Intended Purpose:
 
The ordered school-building closure during the spring of 2020 resulted in significant disruptions for schools, children and parents. These adjustments impacted the identification of students who are gifted and the services provided to these students. As districts and schools plan for and implement the reset and restart of schools for the 2020-2021 school year, the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children offers considerations for administrators and staff responsible for gifted education in the following areas:  
Each of these areas has questions to help foster district and building discussions as schools consider needs for students identified and served as gifted.  

 


Curriculum 

High-quality curriculum and instructional materials for students who are gifted differentiates from the general education curriculum in depth, breadth and pace, allowing opportunities for students to access advanced content that is both complex and challenging. Planning teams should discuss curriculum and instructional materials in the context of various forms of delivery, such as remote learning or in person. When these discussions happen, districts and schools may want to include the following questions for the team’s consideration.
 
  1. In the 2020-2021 school year, how can districts and schools ensure high-quality curriculum for students who are gifted is differentiated from the general education curriculum in depth, breadth and pace?
    • What curriculum-based resources are needed to support students who are gifted in a remote learning environment? 
    • What adjustments should be made to gifted education services currently provided to students who are gifted to ensure access regardless of delivery format?
    • How will districts and schools provide students who are gifted the tools needed to access gifted education services?
    • What technological resources (such as equipment or software) are needed to implement gifted services?
    • What support will the gifted education service providers need to deliver the curriculum content through various delivery formats?
    • What support will the gifted education service providers need for the use of any new resources and materials?
 
  1. How should districts and schools plan to re-engage students who are gifted if those students did not have access to remote learning during the ordered school-building closure?
    • For students who are gifted but did not have access to remote learning during the ordered school-building closure, what supports and resources are needed to re-engage them in various learning environments moving into the 2020-2021 school year?
    • What curricular supports will students who are gifted but did not have access to remote learning during the ordered school-building closure need?
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Assessment 

These questions are designed for planning teams to consider processes and techniques to evaluate students for accelerated placement and gifted identification. Students who are gifted are identified through whole grade screenings and individual referral opportunities. Accelerated placements for students are determined by comprehensive evaluations conducted by an acceleration committee. When making these decisions, include the following questions for consideration.
 
  1. During the 2020-2021 school year, how will districts and schools conduct evaluations for the identification of students who are gifted to ensure assessment protocols are followed considering COVID-19 concerns?
    • How will districts and schools ensure referrals and whole grade screenings for gifted identification for the 2019-2020 school year will be completed by Oct. 31 (see House Bill 197 extensions for gifted)?
    • What procedures are in place to ensure approved assessments are administered in accordance with the publishers’ technical manuals to ensure results are valid and reliable for the purpose of making high-stakes decisions such as gifted identification?
    • How will districts and schools address procedures for collecting referrals for gifted identification?
    • How will districts and schools schedule students for gifted identification assessment?
    • How will the required whole grade screenings be conducted to identify students who are gifted? 
 
  1. How will districts and schools conduct evaluations for accelerated placements to ensure assessment protocols are followed?
    • How will districts and schools ensure evaluations for students referred for acceleration during the 2019-2020 school year will be completed by Sept. 30 (see House Bill 197 extensions for gifted)?
    • What protocols will be utilized to collect and schedule referrals for acceleration evaluations, including early entrance to kindergarten?
    • How will districts and schools ensure a variety of data sources, including measures of achievement of state academic content standards, are used to determine the need for academic acceleration?

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Instruction 

Students who are gifted have diverse academic needs and require differentiated instruction that provides the appropriate level of academic challenge and development of critical and creative thinking skills. This instruction should match the student’s level of readiness and allow opportunities for growth. When gifted education services are provided, differentiated instruction is aligned to goals on a student’s Written Education Plan. Consider these questions while working to design high-quality instruction for the 2020-2021 school year.
 
  1. How will districts and schools provide students who are gifted with the supports and resources needed for various forms of instruction?
    • How will students who are identified gifted have an equal opportunity to participate in any gifted education services they are qualified to receive?
    • How will teachers deliver differentiated instruction to students who are gifted?
    • What data sources will be used to determine present levels of performance for students who are gifted to assist in the development of measurable academic goals for students’ Written Education Plans?
    • How will the progress of students who are gifted be monitored?
    • How will teachers provide consistent instruction and appropriate levels of support for students who are gifted in a variety of instructional formats, including remote learning environments?
 
  1. How will teachers document the instruction provided to students who receive gifted education services?
    • What procedures will a district and schools use to ensure Written Education Plans are developed in collaboration with an educator who holds gifted licensure or endorsement?
    • How will gifted service providers monitor and document student progress toward goals on the Written Education Plan?
    • Will the process for designated service providers’ implementation and documentation of students’ Written Education Plans change?

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Leadership, Administration and Governance 

Leaders create the conditions necessary for educators to meet the academic and social and emotional needs of students who are gifted. By embedding gifted education in strategic planning, prioritizing adequate funds and resources and building teacher capacity through professional development in gifted education, leaders sustain a commitment to instruction that is rigorous and challenging for all students. Please consider these questions while working to design the gifted educational services for the 2020-2021 school year.
 
  1. How will districts and schools integrate planning to ensure the allocation of enough time and resources to support various learning environments for students who are gifted?
    • How will teachers collaborate to assess the current needs of students and staff in planning for the 2020-2021 school year?
    • How can the district leverage various funding sources, including federal funds and gifted education funding, to support the education of students who are gifted?
    • How will schedules be developed that address student placement into gifted education services and accelerated courses?
    • How can educational service centers, state support teams, associations and other professional organizations be leveraged to support the district’s reset and restart efforts for students identified as gifted?
 
  1. How can professional development be aligned to the needs of students and teachers? 
    • What resources and supports can be provided to ensure gifted service providers receive training to use technology or other resources needed to effectively deliver gifted education services?
    • What professional learning will be provided to staff to equip them with the tools and knowledge to meet the diverse needs of gifted students?
 
  1. How can districts and schools ensure designated providers of gifted services receive and document qualifying professional development in gifted education?
    • How will the designated service providers who were unable to meet the annual minimum gifted education professional requirement for the 2019-2020 school year complete their remaining clock hours by Oct. 31 (see HB 197 extensions for gifted)?
    • What is the plan for general education teachers who are designated as providers of gifted services to meet minimum annual clock hours of gifted education professional development for the 2020-2021 school year?
    • What is the plan to ensure providers of gifted education professional development hold gifted licensure or endorsement, a graduate degree in gifted education or are state or national presenters in gifted education?

 

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School Climate and Supports 

A positive school climate is one where caring and supportive educators are responsive to the academic, social and emotional needs of all learners. A positive school climate for students who are gifted includes access to challenging and rigorous instruction and educators who are equipped to support their unique social and emotional needs, including asynchronous development, underachievement, perfectionism and a heightened awareness of social issues. While starting the process to explore and set conditions for the 2020-2021 school year related to school climate and supports for students who are gifted, consider these questions:
 
  1. How will districts and schools incorporate strategies and supports that meet the needs of the school climate and supports for students who receive gifted education services? 
    • Has the district’s and school’s planning team utilized the Department’s Returning to School: Supporting the Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health of Students and Staff guidance and  toolkit?
    • How will students who are gifted be provided with equitable opportunities to participate in the various learning environments, including gifted education services?
    • Has the district and school included goals specific to students’ social-emotional needs on Written Education Plans for those students who are receiving gifted education services?
    • How will the district and school ensure all students who are gifted feel welcomed and secure in various learning environments?
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Community and Parent Engagement 

One of the most effective means of ensuring academic success is to engage parents in their students’ education. When parents and educators work collaboratively as partners, it enhances the educational experiences of students who are gifted. Use the following questions to discuss and develop the most appropriate engagement practices for parents and the community.
 
  1. How will parents of students who are gifted be engaged in district and school activities?
    • How will districts and schools communicate with parents regarding the district’s gifted identification process including, but not limited to, accepting referrals for gifted identification, whole grade screening opportunities, the scheduling of students for assessment and the notification of results?
    • What modes of communication will districts and schools use to notify families of their students’ receipt of gifted education services including, but not limited to, student placement into services and “no service” letters? Districts are required to send no service letters when they do not provide identified students with gifted services. How will these communication attempts be documented?
    • How will districts and schools communicate with parents related to students’ Written Education Plans including, but not limited to, requesting a parent signature, providing the parent a copy and reporting student progress toward meeting goals? How will these communication attempts be documented? 
 
  1. How can districts and schools engage parents of students being considered for grade-level acceleration?
    • What modes of communication will be used to notify families of the acceleration process including, but not limited to, accepting referrals, the evaluation process, inclusion in acceleration committee meetings and notification of results? How will these communication attempts be documented?
    • What procedures and guidance will be needed to allow flexibility for conducting acceleration meetings?
    • What is the district’s and school’s plan to address the needs of parents who do not have access to technology if it is needed for virtual meetings?

 

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College and Career Readiness 

Each Child, Our Future aims to ensure every child is challenged, prepared and empowered to become a resilient, lifelong learner who fulfills his or her individual definition of success. This includes continuous access to advanced learning opportunities such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and College Credit Plus, as well as other educational opportunities such as internships, mentorships and early high school graduation. While planning for advanced learning and other educational opportunities for students who are gifted during the 2020-2021 school year, please consider the following questions:
 
  1. What strategies can districts and schools incorporate into reset and restart plans to ensure students who are gifted are college and career ready?
    • Has the district and school reviewed the Ohio Department of Education’s resources regarding graduation and determined if students who are gifted are on track for graduation, including early graduation?
    • How will students who are gifted learn about and engage in college and career opportunities, including internships and mentorships, during the 2020-2021 school year?
    • How will students who are gifted learn of and be supported in applying for scholarship opportunities?
 
  1. How can districts and schools provide students with continuous access to advanced learning opportunities such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and College Credit Plus?
    • How will students have access to advanced learning opportunities in a blended or remote learning environment?
    • What are the district’s and school’s plans to address the health and safety of students who participate in College Credit Plus courses on college or university campuses?
    • If advanced learning opportunities are available through remote learning, how can districts and schools address the needs of students, including access to technology or other required materials, supplies or fees?

 

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Operations 

The three core principles of Each Child, Our Future are equity, partnerships and quality schools, which are essential to the operations of the district and building(s). District operations ensure students who are gifted are included in all aspects of education. While planning for operations and system structures to support students who are gifted during the 2020-2021 school year, please consider the following questions:
 
  1. How can districts and schools develop fiscal and other contingency plans that include considerations for students who are gifted during the 2020-2021 school year?
    • Who are the critical staff members who need to be part of the discussion and planning for gifted expenditures?
    • How will gifted education staff be provided the materials, resources and training to provide services and supports to students who are gifted?
    • How will districts and schools ensure substitutes for gifted education staff are appropriately licensed, trained and prepared?
 
For questions regarding gifted education, contact the Ohio Department of Education's Office for Exceptional Children at gifted@education.ohio.gov.

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Last Modified: 9/23/2020 8:27:51 AM