Gifted and Talented

Everest Academy has initiated Gifted and Talented (GT) Program in the 2011-12 academic year. This includes procedures for identification of GT students and engaging them in challenging coursework Our GT program follows policies, procedures, and assessments established by Texas Education Agency (TEA).

STATE DEFINITION OF GIFTED/TALENTED STUDENT

§ 29.121. DEFINITION: In this subchapter, "gifted and talented student" means a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably 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.

- Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., Ch. 260, § 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

STATE GOAL FOR GIFTED STUDENTS

Students who participate in services designed for gifted students demonstrate skills in self-directed learning, thinking, research, and communication as evidenced by the development of innovative products and performances that are advanced in relation to students of similar age, experience, or environment and reflect individuality and creativity. High school graduates who have participated in services for gifted students produce products and performances of professional quality as a part of their program services.

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students

PROGRAM GOALS IDENTIFICATION - Identify students in grades K-12 who demonstrate an academic need for gifted program using the criteria established by the school, approved by the board, and in compliance with the state mandates.

SELF-DIRECTED LEARNERS - Develop the students' capacities to become self-directed, confident in their ability to research information and to create and communicate their findings as they produce and present advanced-Ievel products or performances. These products or performances should be of professional quality at the high school exit level.

COMPLEX THINKING SKILLS - Enhance and refine the abstract and complex thinking and reasoning of these students through more sophisticated, creative, and critical thinking activities as they reflect and refine their own thinking processes.

APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES -Provide students with multiple opportunities to participate in learning experiences using advanced content (within the four core areas) which are defensibly differentiated in depth, complexity and range through modification to content and/or process and/or product. Students will be able to work independently, with groups of other gifted students, and with groups of non¬-gifted peers.

IDENTIFICATION AND SCREENING PROCEDURE AND PROCESS

Everest Academy’s policies and procedures for gifted and talented students meet the state requirements (§29.121 & TAC 89.1). These have been designed to ensure the identification of any student who demonstrates educational need for the program under the established guidelines.

Texas Administrative Code §89.1: Student Assessment

Schools shall develop written policies on student identification that are approved by the local board of trustees and disseminated to parents. The policies must:

Include provisions for ongoing screening and selection of students who perform, or show potential for performing, at remarkably high levels of accomplishment in the areas defined in the Texas Education Code, §29.121;

Include assessment measures collected from multiple sources according to each area defined in the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students;

Include data and procedures designed to ensure that students from all populations in the district have access to the assessment process and, if identified as having significant educational need for advanced academics, services for the gifted/talented program;

Provide for final qualification of students (through a blind process) to be made by a committee of at least three local district educators who have received training in the nature and needs of gifted students; and

Include provisions regarding furloughs, reassessment, exiting of students from program services, transfer students, and appeals of district decisions regarding program placement.

TIMELINE

November - December: Teacher recommendation based on student IOWA/ITBS scores, grades, leadership, intellectual/ artistic ability or creativity using the Renzulli-Hartman or any other Rating Scales

December: Written permission from parents of identified students for assessments and screenings

December - January: Screenings and assessments of identified students

December - January: Parent and school conference to review results on assessments and screenings

January: Services begin for identified students

Parents are informed of the identification policy through the following methods:

- School website

- Request for the written policy and procedures for the Gifted/Talented program

- Annual parent awareness sessions

- Screening/Assessment Process

A student profile is used to identify those students who perform, or show the potential for performing, at remarkably high levels of accomplishment relative to their age, peers, experience, or environment. The profile will reflect a minimum of three (3) criteria used in the assessment. The criteria used will be a combination of qualitative and quantitative instruments and may include:

School Abilities Test such as the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT),

the Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test (OLSAT),

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT),

Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary and Middle School Students Edition 2 (SAGES2), or other school abilities tests as deemed appropriate for the student;

Achievement Test such as the Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT),

Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS),

Divergent thinking assessment such as the Torrence Test of Creative Thinking,

the Creative Assessment Packet (CAP), or other divergent thinking assessment as deemed appropriate for the student;

Rating Scales such as the Gifted and Talented Evaluation Scales (GATES), the Renzulli-Hartman Rating Scales, the Purdue Teacher Rating Scales, or other rating scales as deemed appropriate for the student;

Student interview; and/or

Student product/portfolio

As the data on the identified students is evaluated, the school has three options:

The preponderance of profile data indicates the students’ educational needs would best benefit from inclusion in the Gifted/Talented Program.

There is insufficient evidence in the documentation at this time. The preponderance of profile data indicates the students’ educational needs would be best served through the regular curriculum.

Further information is needed to make a qualification decision.

Once the identification process is complete, parents or guardians are notified of the decision within ten school days. Parents of all screened students may request a conference to examine their child’s assessment results.

ADDITIONAL POLICES AND PROCEDURES

Transfer of Students All students who have participated in gifted and talented programs prior to coming to Everest Academy may be considered for the Gifted/Talented Program. Once screening records are received from the student’s previous school, the records will be examined for correspondence to Everest Academy’s criteria. If the transfer data is insufficient, Everest Academy will assess the student to see if placement in the program is in the student’s best interest. A decision will be made regarding qualification within 30 school days of the receipt of the student’s Gifted/Talented assessment results from the previous school.

Furlough: A furlough is a temporary "leave of absence" from the Gifted/Talented Program designed to meet the individual needs of an identified student. Anyone may request a furlough: parent, student, teacher, or administrator. Requests for a furlough will be given to the campus principal for consideration. At the end of the furlough, the student's progress shall be reassessed, and the student may re-enter the Gifted/Talented program, be removed from the program, or be placed on another furlough. Furloughs are designed to be short-term and temporary and should never be used for an entire school year.

A furlough does not indicate a permanent exiting of the program. Furloughs could be utilized for a variety of extenuating circumstances. Any student may be granted a furlough from the program for various issues such as over commitment, family concerns, serious illness, or any other circumstances which would inhibit or curtail the student's performance in the program. The furlough may also be used prior to a formal exit from the program for those students who are unable to maintain satisfactory performance within the learning opportunities of the Gifted/Talented program. A furlough is arranged to meet the individual needs of the student.

Reassessment: Everest Academy will reassess identified students every alternate year to determine appropriate program placement If there is any concern regarding the performance or placement of the student, the Gifted/Talented teacher or the school administration will contact the parent and confer about available options. Options available are counseling, requesting a furlough, or exiting the student from the program. A formal reassessment before or after a student’s transition into middle school (5th grade) will occur with written parental permission or the student will be exited from services.

Exit

Student performance in the program shall be monitored. A student shall be removed from the program at any time the school determines it is in the student's best interest and a furlough has been ineffective. If a parent requests their child be removed from the program, the request will be accepted. Once a student is exited from the program he/she must adhere to the identification procedures and exhibit educational need to be readmitted.

PROVISION OF INSTRUCTION

Everest Academy offers a variety of learning experiences and opportunities for Gifted/Talented students in grades 3-8 which meet the mandates of the Texas Administrative Code. These opportunities include, but are not limited to, integrating depth and complexity into the curriculum, requiring advanced level products and performances, and allowing identified Gifted/Talented students the opportunity to work with other identified students.

Services are available in English Language Arts and Math. Identified students will work independently, with other identified students, and with students of other abilities. Documentation of services will be maintained and parents will be notified of in-school and out-of-school options during the school year that are relevant to the needs of the gifted and talented students. Progress reports may be included in the student’s report card.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ONGOING TRAINING IN GIFTED EDUCATION

Everest Academy is committed to providing its staff with appropriate and meaningful professional development which enables the staff to meet the unique and individual educational needs of all students including instruction for gifted/talented students. It is important that all staff who are responsible for formally working with these students obtain appropriate training for educating the gifted child.

Texas Administrative Code §89.2: Professional Development

Prior to assignment in the program, teachers who provide instruction and services that are a part of the program for gifted students have a minimum of 30 hours of staff development that includes nature and needs of gifted/talented students, assessing student needs, and curriculum and instruction for gifted students;

Teachers without training required in paragraph (1) of this section who provide instruction and services that are part of the gifted/talented program must complete the 30-hour training requirement within one year;

Teachers who provide instruction and services that are a part of the program for gifted students receive a minimum of six hours annually of professional development in gifted education; and

Administrators and counselors who have authority for program decisions have a minimum of six hours of professional development that includes nature and needs of gifted/talented students and program options.

PROGRAM EVALUATION

Everest Academy annually evaluates the Gifted/Talented program by surveying all stakeholders including students, parents/guardians, and teachers. The evaluation data is used to establish short and long term goals for our School Action Plan.