• Frequently Asked Questions 


    1. What advanced offerings do children in the gifted program receive? 

    The goals of the District’s gifted program are to support students socially and emotionally in the areas of critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. While many students may have advanced academic needs, these are addressed through differentiated instruction in the classroom.

    1. If my child was identified as gifted in another district, does that transfer to Clayton?

    No. Unlike IEPs, gifted services do not transfer from district to district. All students who receive gifted services in Clayton must qualify using our district’s criteria.


    If your child was identified as gifted in a previous district, they are eligible to bypass our screening process. They will move forward for individual evaluation the semester they begin in Clayton. Proof of previous gifted services is required (transcript, qualifying letter, report card, etc.).


    If a student is new to the district in middle school and was not previously identified as gifted, they will need to wait one school year from enrolling to be screened. New middle school students who were identified as gifted in their previous district may bypass the screener and move forward with testing the semester they enroll in Clayton. 


    1. How are gifted services structured (grades 2-12)?

    Elementary Services - 150 minutes of pull-out instruction per week


    Middle School Services - Elective class that meets every other day for 85 minutes


    High School Services - Elective class that meets every other day for 80 minutes 

    1. What does the Gifted Specialist do?

    Gifted Specialists plan and teach lessons for their gifted classes; provide materials and support for learning in the regular classroom (as needed); provide information for the school faculty about the needs of gifted learners. 


    Gifted Specialists are also responsible for testing and identifying gifted students.


    1. What do I need to do to prepare my child for testing?

    The building gifted specialist will email you to let you know when your child has been scheduled for testing. It is important your child has a good night’s rest and eats breakfast before testing. It is not necessary to prepare your child in any other way for testing. 


    *If a child demonstrates coaching and/or preparation specific to the tests being administered, we will not be able to proceed with testing.


    1. Should I tell my child they’re being tested for gifted services?

    These assessments are designed to provide insight into your child's innate creative thinking, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities. It can be tricky to know what to say to your child about the testing process should you choose to do so. To quell any added pressure/anxiety your child may put upon him/herself, we suggest NOT mentioning that the testing is to identify whether your child is gifted. However, if they already intuit that is the intent of the test, it is okay. But you might want to share that many kids (adults too, actually) think this means that the test is to see whether they are "smart" or not. This is NOT true. Giftedness is a complex thing that encompasses much more than just academic performance.


    To introduce the testing, we suggest saying something like: "The teachers at your school are always trying to determine the learning needs of their students. During this process, you'll participate in learning experiences so that the teachers can get even more information about you, your thinking, and your needs. This experience is just one of many pieces of the puzzle that make up YOU as a learner! It's perfectly normal to feel a little anxious, nervous, or excited about the experience; new or out-of-our-normal-routine experiences can sometimes cause those feelings. But there is no need to worry, and there is nothing you need to do to prepare.”

    1. What is the difference between artistic ability and creativity?

    While art is incredibly important to expression, communication, and culture, a goal of the gifted program in Clayton is to support a student’s capacity for creative thinking. There is some overlap between creative thinking and artistic ability, but they are not the same and require different supports. Artistic ability is a person’s skill for making something tangible using at least one of the five senses. In this way, art is limited to what we can see, feel, taste, touch, and smell. 


    Creativity, on the other hand, exists on an intellectual plane and is not restricted by physical limitations. Ideas, and thus creativity, can be experienced across all areas of human existence. Creative thinking can be applied in business, relationships, health, technology, and more. 


    Setting up a business, for example, is a more modern example of high-level creativity. Sourcing the materials, hiring the right staff, and developing a brand are all aspects that require a serious amount of innovation and creative expression. While these endeavors may not be ‘artistic’, they still require a significant amount of advanced cognitive skills. 


    To be a creative thinker means to use mental imagery to conjure up an idea, business, solution, or product that didn’t exist in that form before. This is one type of thinking the gifted program in Clayton supports. 


    1. What work is done for social-emotional learning in gifted classrooms?

    Gifted Specialists work on a wide variety of Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies for students. Often, these are shared through intentional lessons for a whole class. Additionally, the Gifted Specialists work individually with students to provide directed coaching specific to a child’s needs at the moment. To see the specific SEL topics covered in our gifted classes, as well as links to several parent resources, check out this slideshow.

    1. What are some common myths about gifted children?

    There are a wide variety of myths that surround giftedness, but the most common is that gifted children are good at everything, and that is simply not true. Gifted children tend to excel at certain subjects or skills, often at the cost of others. This uneven development of skills is known as asynchronicity and is a hallmark of gifted learners. For more myths about gifted children, check out this article from the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC).

    1. My child was excited about gifted testing but didn’t qualify for services. What should I tell them?

    While it can feel frustrating or disappointing to not qualify for gifted services, it is helpful for children to be reminded that giftedness is not simply about ‘smarts’; Children who demonstrate a learning need for gifted services may or may not excel in different subject areas. Giftedness is not actually about content/subject knowledge at all. Rather, it is about having a neurodivergence. This means gifted brains are wired differently than neurotypical brains. While everybody’s brain is unique, a person identified as “gifted” experiences life in a significantly different way - often intensely! - sometimes, we see this show up on the outside, but sometimes it’s only on the inside, so it can be hard to see.  But this intensity can bring some profound frustration which is why gifted intervention is needed. 


    The goal of education is for every child to get their learning needs met so they can reach their fullest potential. If a child does not qualify for gifted services, their learning needs can most likely be met within the classroom.

    1. Aren’t all children gifted? 

    While all students have unique gifts and talents, not all students can have their advanced learning needs met in the regular classroom. While using the word “gifted” to describe these learners can cause problems for some, it is a state-designated term used by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which is why the School District of Clayton uses it.  


    Students identified as gifted in Clayton have shown a learning need for gifted services because they have demonstrated through testing that they are advanced critical thinkers, creative thinkers, and problem solvers. While gifted students are eligible to receive additional instruction from a Gifted Specialist to support their advanced learning needs, they are no better or worse than any other student.