The School District of Clayton defines giftedness through multiple categories of superior demonstrated performance using beyond grade level standardized normative/adaptive referenced core content assessments, creativity tests and high frequency of gifted behaviors/characteristics. Recognizing that giftedness exists in all cultures and socio-economic levels and the potential bias of gifted identification systems and assessments, all students participate in a universal screening process of cognitive ability or problem solving at two designated elementary grade levels (one grade level at each Key Stage One and Key Stage Two). Students who are new to the District are considered for further testing for inclusion in the District Gifted Program serving Grades 2-8. The gifted identification process includes a building advocacy option and a transparent District appeals process.
The District acknowledges the cognitive capacity and tenacity of gifted students and recognizes that gifted learners require stimulating educational pathways with advanced, conceptually challenging, in-depth, distinctive and complex content responsive to the rate and pace of their readiness to learn. These pathways allow students to demonstrate a progression of their learning - a growth commensurate with aptitude. Recognizing the learning and developmental differences of gifted students promotes their ongoing self-understanding, awareness of needs and cognitive and affective growth. Within the classroom, information from multiple types of assessments informs decisions about curriculum content, instructional strategies and resources that support the learning progress of gifted students. Additional opportunities to learn might include weekly pull out classes and elective courses with a gifted specialist, varied grouping arrangements (i.e. clustering students in a class, flexible grouping within and between classes/across a grade level) and customized learning options (i.e. enrichment, curriculum compacting, content acceleration) to enhance students’ performance in cognitive and affective areas supportive of achievement based on research of effective practices. Gifted students may have asynchronous (out of sync) intellectual, emotional and physical development, appearing to be different ages in differing situations and possessing a gap between intellectual development and the ability to express and use that intellect.
As a further commitment to equity, all kindergarten and first-grade students and students of promise grades two through five from traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations in gifted programs (racial/ethnic subgroups, low income students, twice exceptional, English language learners and students from varied geographic locations such as rural and inner city) meet regularly with a gifted specialist for enrichment experiences in critical and creative thinking to promote talent development, achievement and growth. Professional learning is essential for all educators (teachers, specialists, counselors and administrators) involved in the development and implementation of gifted programs and services.
Listed below are the Enduring Understandings of the Gifted curriculum and curriculum adaptation gifted students experience during their second- through eighth-grade education in the School District of Clayton.
- Gifted learners crave complex, interdisciplinary learning experiences in order to meet their unique intellectual and emotional needs.
- Gifted learners develop asynchronously and engaging experiences at an appropriate level of stimulation to make progress on the continuum of learning and in the development of self is crucial.
- Gifted learners need flexible, innovative learning environments with access to resources, equipment, supplies, and technology requisite for exploration and experimentation of the curriculum.
- Gifted learners depend upon unique experiences to best acquire the critical and creative thinking and problem solving skills and habits to successfully address challenges in an ever-changing globalized world.