Delivery of Services
Gifted students need opportunities to think abstractly, work at various rates and levels of complexity, and pursue tasks independently. APS recognizes the need to engage, challenge, and promote continual growth in gifted learners. Our APS Division Operational Definition of Giftedness states “gifted learners require a differentiated curriculum that is engaging, complex, and differentiated in the depth, breadth, and pace of instruction by teachers who understand the diverse academic and socio-emotional needs of these learners” (2017). APS Gifted Services are implemented through school-based and countywide activities, which comply with School Board and State objectives. These school-based services are delivered in the following ways:
- APS Gifted Services collaborative resource model, in which the classroom teacher works with the resource teacher for the gifted to develop and present appropriately differentiated learning experiences for gifted students within the general education classroom.
- In the general education classroom setting, identified students are cluster-grouped (minimum of 5 – 8) and through a variety of flexible groupings based on ongoing data.
- Identified students work with teachers who are specifically trained in instructional needs of and curriculum written for gifted students.
- Specific curricula which are differentiated or extended from concepts in the general education curriculum, and when appropriate, through opportunities for acceleration and extension.
The Gifted Cluster Model
Using this model, gifted identified students are placed in Gifted Cluster classrooms with intellectual peers. According to Gentry (2018) , “Researchers have found improved achievement among students in cluster grouping programs, specifically among gifted students clustered in classrooms where the model was implemented with fidelity” (215-216). With this research in mind, the Gifted Cluster model provides services to identified students by allowing the RTG to “push in” to the classroom and collaborate with teachers through CLTs and individual planning sessions. The classroom teacher, with the support of the RTG, is the primary provider for Gifted Services and provides differentiation for gifted students within the curriculum.
Advantages of this model include:
- Students have intellectual peers necessary for academic and social development all day
- Students have more access to gifted curriculum and/or strategies in their classroom
- Non-identified students who also need challenges will have the opportunity to try out advanced curriculum or strategies
- RTGs can monitor students that should be assessed for eligibility for gifted services
RTG Roles and Responsibilities
- Collaborate and co-plan with teachers
- Extend and deepen student learning through higher level discussion, rich content, and high expectations
- Provide supplemental resources
- Model lessons, co-instruct, or facilitate lessons
- Coaching best practices instructional strategies (i.e. APS’ K-12 Critical Thinking Strategies)
- Facilitate book clubs and extension projects
- Promote differentiation practices throughout the school
- Manage gifted and talented screening process and evaluation
- Facilitate professional learning opportunities for teachers
Classroom Teacher’s Role and Responsibilities
- Collaborate with the RTG to provide differentiated curriculum, extension opportunities, and supplemental curriculum resources
- Plan units and lessons to meet the learning needs of students eligible for gifted services
- Coordinate instructional needs of all learners in the classroom
- Keep open communication with RTG on students that may need to be screened for gifted services.
For more information about Arlington Public Schools’ full plan for Gifted Services, please review: https://www.apsva.us/gifted-services/ . If you have any specific questions, or if you would like to learn more about differentiation, growth mindset practices, and gifted services at SMS please do not hesitate to contact me.
Arlington Public Schools. https://www.apsva.us/gifted-services/
Arlington Public Schools. (2017). Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted. https://www.apsva.us/gifted-services/2017-2022-gifted-services-local-plan/
Board, K. (2020). Williamsburg Middle School. https://williamsburg.apsva.us/gifted-services-williamsburg/
Gentry, M. (2018). Cluster Grouping. In C. M. Callahan & H.L. Herberg-Davis (Eds.), Fundamentals of gifted education: considering multiple perspectives (2nd Edition, pp.213-223). New York, NY: Routledge.
Partington, K. (2019). Dorothy Hamm Middle School. https://dorothyhamm.apsva.us/gifted-services/