Gifted Education Services
Gifted Education Services
Gifted students may receive services through a variety of service delivery options depending on the age of the student. Services for students of the same grade level on different campuses are comparable in quality and duration.
Shelby County School System ensures comparable duration of services by requiring schools to adhere to the following guidelines for hours of services.
- Grades K-1-2 - Consulting Services
- Grade 3 - Three hours per week in gifted education resource room pull-out program
- Grades 4-5 - Four hours per week in gifted education resource room pull-out program
- Grades 6-7-8 - Five days per week in a gifted education content class
- Gr. 9-10-11-12 - Indirect Services with maintenance of each student’s gifted identity
Shelby County School system attempts to ensure comparable quality of service by requiring gifted ed. teachers to have or obtain gifted certification within three years of hire date. Shelby County School System also provides in-service training and regularly scheduled gifted ed. staff meetings to provide for a continuous exchange of ideas between teachers of the gifted and specialists in gifted education.
Differentiated Curriculum for Gifted
Nurturing the talents of gifted students requires a differentiated curriculum that provides thoughtfully planned, coordinated learning experiences that extend beyond the core curriculum and that are qualitatively different from the basic program provided for all students.
Gifted Program offerings differ from typical education in content, process, product, and learning environment.
- Content is more complex, more abstract, related to broad-based issues, and organized to accentuate higher level skills & concepts.
- Process strategies focus on open-ended tasks, encourage application of advanced research & methodological skills and in-depth learning, and emphasize independent or self-directed study.
- Product differentiation encourages the development of products that challenge existing ideas & produce new ones and promotes the creation of products that focus on real-world problems presented to appropriate audiences.
- Learning environments for gifted students are student-centered rather than teacher centered, encourage independence and the development of self-understanding of using one’s abilities and the development of a positive attitude toward creative challenges and knowledge creation.
Curriculum offered in gifted education classes is concept-based.
Elementary School Gifted Education Services
Gifted ed services for students identified in grades K-1-2 are primarily offered through consultation, that is, the gifted ed. teacher consults with the regular ed. teacher to provide ideas, resources, materials, & learning contracts to help the teacher differentiate the regular ed. curriculum. The gifted ed. elementary lead teacher & the building gifted ed. teacher also meet with the school’s staff support team, the counselor, the classroom teacher and with the student’s parents to discuss ways to meet the student’s learning needs.
Gifted ed. teachers are actively involved with the 2nd grade teachers at their schools – they go into 2nd grade classes to do “planned experiences” as part of the SDE required 2nd grade Child Find.
In grades 3-4-5, identified gifted students are pulled-out for a resource class (GRC – Gifted Resource Class) each week. In the resource class, the students are exposed to a differentiated / concept-based curriculum which may include, but is not limited to:
- Content that is related to broad-based issues, theories, or problems
- Activities to develop thinking skills (Talents Unlimited, CORT, Creative Problem Solving, Junior Great Books)
- Creativity training
- Activities to develop research skills and methods
- Opportunities for in-depth learning of a self-selected topic within an area of study
- Teaching techniques which nurture higher level thinking
- Learning centers to encourage independent projects
- Units not ordinarily presented in the regular curriculum
- Training in critical thinking and problem solving
- Understanding of giftedness & guidance in recognizing their unique affective needs
Middle School Gifted Education Services
At the middle school level, gifted ed. teachers teach gifted education through English Language Arts or social studies courses for identified 6th-7th- 8th grade gifted students. A “Shelby County Middle School Gifted Ed. Curriculum Guide” was developed by a team of gifted ed. teachers to assure comparability in programming. The course is designed to meet and exceed the standards contained in the Alabama Course of Study through appropriate differentiation for gifted learners and modification of the depth and complexity of the curriculum. Best Practices in Gifted Education are used to incorporate abstract and complex thinking; higher level processes and product development; and interdisciplinary concepts, issues, and themes. Units are designed using Concept-based Learning and the Parallel Curriculum Model. Also, students’ interest and the learning needs of gifted learners are addressed by the Gifted Case Managers at each school as part of the identified gifted students’ GEP/IEP (Gifted Education Plan/Individualized Education Plan)
High School Gifted Education Services
The Shelby County School System High School Gifted Education Program provides indirect services for 9th-12th grade students identified (according to the Alabama State Department of Education guideline) for gifted education placement.
- The goals are:
- To maintain each student’s gifted identity.
- To meet the student’s academic needs through: Honors classes, Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and various extra-curricular activities.
College & career counseling is available through the high school guidance department. The high school counselors will also help students, who are interested, to make arrangements for options like ACCESS on-line high school classes or the opportunity to take post-secondary Dual Enrollment or Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit classes.
All students enrolled in gifted education classes at the middle school will remain on the gifted education rolls at the high school level. Any students who have been placed in gifted education, but have chosen not to receive services in middle school, may be re-enrolled.