Monday, August 6, 2012

GATE Handbook 2012-2013

Handbook for GATE

Heber Springs School District

Gifted and Talented Program

Heber Springs School District

Gifted and Talented Program


The programs in public schools are built on a fundamental belief in serving the needs of all our students as unique individuals.  We believe that gifted and talented individuals have special characteristics and learning styles and that their potential for accomplishment is such that they require special provisions, experiences, and services not provided for in the regular instructional program.

We are committed to provide a program for identifying and meeting the needs and interests of our gifted and talented students.  The identification and placement of these gifted and talented students will be based on documented objective and subjective evidence of above average intellectual ability, creative ability, skills, products, and tasks commitment / motivation.

Gifted and talented students are outstanding consumers and producers of knowledge and ideas in any worthwhile endeavor.  They may have potential abilities in general intelligence, creative, or productive thinking, exceptional leadership, and specific aptitudes.  These abilities must be cultivated, nurtured, and developed.

Gifted and talented students must be provided opportunities to interact with their peers and to work with materials which challenge their abilities and encourage them to expand their abstract thinking and reasoning abilities.

Maximizing the potential of gifted and talented students requires a commitment of school, community, and home; commitment is essential for progress to be effected.  The gifted and talented program is designed to cultivate within the student a desire for excellence and a sense of productive responsibility to self, family, school, community, and to our changing society.

Heber Springs School District Gifted and Talented Program


The student identification / selection process is a multi-dimensional procedure.  A special effort will be made to include students who may be difficult to identify such as underachievers, members of minority groups, the culturally different, handicapped, deprived, the highly creative, and the highly intellectual.

The process includes the creation of a candidate pool through referral and data accumulation.  A student may be referred by himself / herself, parents, teachers, counselors, administration, or any other person in the community.  Existing information gathered about those referred in a case study approach will be reviewed by a screening / placement committee.  This committee will recommend appropriate action.

Data accumulated and analyzed includes standardized achievement test scores, teacher rating scales, creativity test scores, parent questionnaires, and student questionnaires.  No one item is a decisive factor in the placement of a student in the gifted and talented program.  The student need not score high on every criterion for inclusion into the program.  For example, teacher ratings may override low test scores, and good normative data may outweigh negative teacher ratings.  The final evaluation decision considers the best interest of the student as an individual and the degree to which it is felt the student would benefit from participation in the gifted program.  Written parental consent is required prior to data gathering as well as prior to student placement in the gifted program.

Heber Springs School District

Gifted and Talented Program


The Heber Springs School District’s program for the identified gifted and talented students features the utilization of gifted strategies within the existing K-12 curriculum, i.e., homogeneous grouping of students in certain required subject areas.  Students do not necessarily have to do more work; the emphasis is on different work based on modifying the content and pace for part of the time in three ways:  (1) enrichment; (2) acceleration; (3) individual or group interest-based learning.

The existing curriculum is further modified by emphasizing the acquisition and use of higher level thinking skills, divergent thinking and production skills, opportunities for independent study, creative thinking, and skill development in coping with exceptionality.  Basic skills are not de-emphasized; they are integrated through the above-mentioned strategies within the content area.

Curriculum units are designed in the following format for differentiated learning:

Grouping         Content Modification
Individual Interest – based
Small Group Acceleration (Compacting)
Full Group Enrichment

Affective objectives of the curriculum are:

Higher Levels Various Levels Emphasis on
of Critical of Creative                 Affective
Thinking                        Thinking                    Objectives
* Evaluation * Fluency                   * Self-Concept
* Synthesis * Flexibility                 * Critical Acceptance
* Analysis * Originality                * Coping with Failure
* Application * Elaboration               * Coping with Exceptionality
* Risk Taking in Creative Activities

At least part of the time, the gifted program curriculum must include the above objectives, but not exclude the opportunity to be evaluated on process and process toward obtaining these objectives.  Students are allowed to present products in a variety of ways, not just be tested.  Also, the curriculum will develop decision-making skills as part of the content of the curriculum.

Heber Springs School District

Gifted and Talented Program


The program design for our gifted and talented students for grades kindergarten through twelfth grade is intended to provide a curriculum that is both differentiated and appropriated for the specialized needs of students who are advanced in their thinking and learning processes.  Gifted and talented students are provided opportunities to interact with their peers and to work with materials which challenge their abilities and encourage them to expand their abstract thinking and reasoning.  This is accomplished through using various approaches appropriate to the designated grade level. All instructors involved have received training through the Arkansas Department of Education and/or advanced degree training.

The Gifted and Talented Specialist meets with the kindergarten students for whole-class enrichment monthly.   Classroom teachers actively promote higher order thinking skills on a weekly basis.  A pull-out program for grades one, two, three, four and five meet during the week for a minimum of one-hundred fifty minutes with a certified Gifted and Talented Instructor.  Activities are geared to meet the identified gifted and talented students.

Grades six through twelve gifted and talented students’ needs are met through designated classes in the academic areas of English, math, science, and social science.  Academic advancement, Pre-Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement, and Honors courses are among the program options available.

Heber Springs School District

Gifted and Talented Program



    Goal A.  Every attempt will be made to train certified personnel in a sequential and
   continuous program development to enable them to assist in the identification,
   selection, and programming of gifted and talented students.

  Objective A. 1.  Provide pre-service and in-service staff development for
           teachers and administrators.

           Objective A. 2.   Provide an opportunity for participation in conference
           specifically related to gifted education at the state, regional,
           national, and international levels.

           Objective A. 3.  Provide current reference materials related to gifted education
           to students, teachers, administrators, school patrons, and
           community members.


     Goal A.  Parents and resource persons of the community will participate through
                   active involvement in expanding opportunities of gifted and talented students.

      Objective A. 1.  Involve the community in programs for the gifted and
                                   talented through the formation of an advisory council,
                                   volunteer/mentor program, community in-service, media
                                   releases, and/or surveys.


     Goal A.  A systematic process will be planned and implemented for identifying those
                   gifted and talented students who have the greatest need for qualitatively
                   differentiated educational experiences and/or services.

      Objective A. 1.  Develop procedures and criteria for identification of the
                                  gifted and talented using appropriate instruments and
                                establishing specific methods for identification.


     Goal A.  The district will develop and implement a program in which administrators,
                    classroom teachers and other staff members will jointly plan and provide
                    enriched experiences and/or services.

     Objective A. 1.  Recognize the need to provide differentiated educational
                                 experiences for the gifted and talented of all backgrounds.

    Objective A. 2.  Establish a program with a long-range goal of providing
                                services for all areas of giftedness for students kindergarten through twelfth grade.

    Objective A. 3.  Provide gifted and talented students with multiple
                                differentiated materials which will allow them to purposefully
                                expand ideas and engage in the exploration of issues and
                                interests at each child’s individual level.

    Objective A. 4.  Provide a wide variety of generalized strategies designed to
                                develop thinking/feeling processes and operations based on
                                student strengths, learning styles, and interests in order to

                                   Critical and reflective thinking

                                   Divergent and creative/productive thinking

                                   Problem solving and self-directed expanded inquiry

                                   Positive self-concept, sense of individual commitment to self in a changing
                                   society, with the teacher as a guide.

    Objective A. 5.  Establish opportunities for the gifted and talented student to
                                become a “young professional” engaged as an investigator of
                                real problems utilizing appropriate community resource
                                persons serving as volunteers/mentors.

    Objective A. 6.  Provide a format for gifted and talented students to come
                                together to challenge and interact with each other.

    Objective A. 7.  Provide enrichment exploration for all gifted and talented
                                students through the use of community resource persons to expand student interest
    Objective A. 8.  Articulate and coordinate the differentiated gifted program
                                with the regular classroom program and classroom teacher.


     Goal A.  Evaluation procedures will be developed and implemented to determine and
                   document the degree of success of the program for gifted and talented

      Objective A. 1.  Develop and utilize written instruments, both subjective and
                                objective, for periodic evaluation of the program.

   Objective A. 2.  Use all evaluation data to review and modify the gifted and
                                 talented program as needed.

Heber Springs School District

Gifted and Talented Program


Teachers constantly evaluate and re-evaluate each student’s progress.  Included in the evaluation are mastery of basic skills as well as high level thinking skills, creativity, and affective growth.  Continuous evaluation is done through teacher observation, teacher-made test, and standardized tests.  Students are involved to some extent in the evaluation of their work.

Student progress in the GT program is shown via progress reports at the end of the first and third grading period.  At the end of the first and third 9 weeks, a day is set aside school-wide for parent/teacher conferences.  In addition, a parent may request a conference any time throughout the school year.

Also, students’ progress in grades sixth through twelfth is reflected via regular report cards.  A state-wide uniform grading scale is used by all teachers:

A 90 – 100
B 80 – 89
C 70 – 79
D 60 – 69
F 59 and below

Students in the gifted program are evaluated annually each spring to determine whether their needs are being met by the gifted class.

When a student is enrolled in more challenging and demanding courses such as gifted, accelerated, or honors, Pre-Advanced Placement, or Advance-Placement classes in grades sixth through twelfth, this is noted on the student’s transcript.

Heber Spring School District

Gifted and Talented Program


If a teacher of the gifted and talented class feels the student’s needs are not being met by the program, he/she may recommend that the student be returned to the regular classroom program full time.  The teacher of the gifted will present data consisting of anecdotal records, student’s work, copies of notes or letters to parents, etc. supporting his/her request for removal from the gifted program.

This material will be presented to a committee consisting of the principal, counselor, regular classroom teacher, teacher of the gifted class, supervisor of the gifted program, and the parent.  If the committee agrees that removal of the student from the program would be in the student’s best interest, an exit form will be completed.  If the parent does not attend the conference, the exit form will be sent home for the parent to sign and return to school.  If the parent feels that a student should remain in the gifted program, an appeal may be made to the superintendent.

This procedure will be carried out whether the student exits the program during the school year or after the annual review, which is done each spring to evaluate the student’s progress and plan the student’s program for the following school year.


(Produced for the Office of Gifted and Talented, U.S. Office of Education, Department of Heath, Education, and Welfare by the Council for Exceptional Children)

There are numerous lists of characteristics or distinguishing features and attributes of gifted and talented children.  Teachers and parents should interpret any single list, including this one, as exemplary rather than exclusive.  Few gifted children will display all of the characteristics.  Understanding the characteristics of gifted and talented children will help parents and teachers sharpen their observations of these children in two distinct ways:  (1) While characteristics do not necessarily define who is a gifted child, they do constitute observable behaviors, and (2) these characteristics are signals to indicated that a particular child might warrant closer observation and could require specialized educational attention, pending a more comprehensive assessment.

General Characteristics of Gifted / Talented Children

They typically learn to read earlier with a better comprehension of the nuances of the language.  As many as half of the gifted and talented population have learned to read before entering school.  They often read widely, quickly, and intensely and have large vocabularies.

They commonly learn basic skill better, more quickly, and with less practice.

They are better able to construct and handle abstractions than their age mates.

They are frequently able to pick up and interpret nonverbal cues and can draw inferences which other children have to have spelled out for them.

They take less for granted, seeking the “hows” and “whys”.

They display a better ability to work independently at an earlier age and for longer periods of time than other children.

They can sustain longer periods of concentration and attention.

Their interests are often both wildly eclectic and intensely focused.

They frequently have seeming boundless energy, which sometimes leads to a misdiagnosis of “hyperactive”.

They are usually able to respond and relate well to parents, teachers, and other adults.  They may prefer the company of older children and adults to that of their peers.

Creative Characteristics

They are fluent thinkers, able to produce a large quantity of possibilities, consequences, or related ideas.

They are flexible thinkers, able to use many different alternatives and approaches to problem solving.

They are original thinkers, seeking new, unusual, or unconventional associations and combinations among items of information.  They also have an ability to see relationships among seemingly unrelated objects, ideas, or facts.

They are elaborative thinkers, producing new steps, ideas, responses, or other embellishments to a basic idea, situation, or problem.

They show a willingness to entertain complexity and seem to thrive in problem situations.

They are good guessers and can construct hypotheses or “what if” questions readily.

They often are aware of their own impulsiveness and the irrationality within themselves and show emotional sensitivity.

They have a high level of curiosity about objects, ideas, situations, or events.

They often display intellectual playfulness, fantasize, and imagine readily.

They can be less intellectually inhibited than their peers in expressing opinions and ideas and often exhibit spirited disagreement.

They have sensitivity to beauty and are attracted to aesthetic dimensions.

Learning Characteristics

Gifted and talented children often show keen powers of observation, exhibit a sense of the significant, and have an eye for important details

They often read a great deal on their own, preferring books and magazines written for youngsters older than themselves.

They take great pleasure in intellectual activity.

They have well developed powers of abstraction, conceptualization, and synthesizing abilities.

They have rapid insight into cause-effect relationships.

They tend to like structure, organization, and consistency in their environments.  They may resent the violation of structure and rules.

They display a questioning attitude and seek information for the sake of having it as much for its instrumental value.

They are often skeptical, critical, and evaluative.  They are quick to spot inconsistencies.

They often have a large storehouse of information regarding a variety of topics which they can recall quickly.

They show a ready grasp of underlying principles and can often make valid generalizations about events, people, or objects.

They readily perceive similarities, differences, and anomalies.

They often attack complicated material by separating it into its components and analyzing it systematically.

They have a well-developed common sense.

Behavioral Characteristics

They are willing to examine the unusual and are highly inquisitive.

Their behavior is often well organized, goal directed, and efficient with respect to tasks and problems.

They exhibit an intrinsic motivation to learn, find out, or explore and are often very persistent.  “I’d rather do it myself” is a common attitude.

They enjoy learning new things and new ways of doing things.

They have a longer attention and concentration span than their peers.

They are more independent and less subject to peer pressure than their age mates.  They are able to be conforming or nonconforming as the situation demands.

They have a highly developed moral and ethical sense.

They are able to integrate opposing impulses, such as constructive and destructive behavior.

They often exhibit daydreaming behavior.

They may seek to conceal their abilities so as not to “stick out.”

They often have a well-developed sense of self and a realistic idea about their capabilities and potential.