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G/T Handbook

 

 

 

 GT Program Handbook

 

LISA Academy North

5410 Lander’s Rd.

N.L.R., AR 72117

(501) 945-2727

 

 


 

 

An Overview:

State Goal for Services for Gifted Students:

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

 

LISA Academy North’s Mission statement:

Gifted students in Arkansas are defined as those of “high potential or ability, whose learning characteristics and educational needs require qualitatively differentiated educational experiences and/or services.  LISA Academy is committed to implementing a program that meets the unique social, emotional, and intellectual needs of those in possession of these talents and gifts through the collaboration of students, educators, parents and community members that ensures opportunities for maximum growth and development for lifelong success.

 

LISA Academy Rationale:

The LISA Academy North Gifted and Talented Programs align with our commitment to academic and personal success for every student. Gifted students come from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds and possess unique abilities and/or potential and are, therefore, a unique segment of the district’s population. Gifted students’ abilities differ from their peers to such a degree that differentiated curricula and instructional techniques are needed from kindergarten through twelfth grade to nurture growth and development. In order to meet the unique needs of programming and interdisciplinary curriculum that is qualitatively different from the regular school curriculum by the degree of complexity of content, process, and products to challenge gifted students to achieve their highest potential. Our program is designed to proved appropriate materials which challenge their thinking and reasoning and stimulates these students to REACH a higher level while allowing them to interact with their age peers during the majority of the day.

 

Goals:

  • Develop critical thinking skills in order to solve problems logically
  • Develop research skills and use information gathered implementing a group research project
  • Demonstrate the ability to use creative problem solving strategies
  • Recognize how change in and around their world affects their relationships with others.

 

 

 

Community involvement:

Students identified as gifted and talented have something special to offer the community around them.  For this reason it is the job of the gifted and talented program to provide this outlet for students in the GT program.  The GT program does that in several ways:

1.)    Contributions from financial projects are donated to community organizations or charities.

2.)    Community members are asked to be part of the GT Advisory Board where they can make suggestions and contribute to outreach activities.

3.)    Students take field trips out into community to experience learning in the real world.

4.)    QR codes and web links are provided for the community feedback at any time

 

Program Evaluation

The purpose of program evaluation is to provide information so that modifications and adjustments can be made in the program and to examine overall program effectiveness in reaching program goals.  First there is a stakeholder meeting, where all parties involved (parents, administrators, teachers, ect) are encouraged to come discuss the program effectiveness toward reaching its goals as a focus group for targeted feedback for each component, minutes of this meeting and agenda are kept and recorded for future improvements. The GT coordinator also records anecdotal records from stakeholders via email.  Then surveys are posted through survey monkey (QR code and link can be found on newsletters and on GT website) where each take a different survey to gauge how well the program is meeting objectives in each area and graphs can be compiled to show data easily;

 

Students complete a student survey

Parents complete a family survey

Other stakeholders complete a stakeholder survey

 

Because different areas of the program call for different evaluation techniques, LISA North mails out a review form where all the program goals and options are listed out, and stakeholders can mark they areas they have experience with.  Then the stakeholders have an opportunity to comment on those areas they have experience with.  Also, because all opinions are relevant the data is collected and all compiled to analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the program.  These findings are written and shared on the district website through the GT site connected under GT website located on parent tab, and school wide newsletter.

 

From this report the district can to determine progress toward meeting the goals and objectives of the program, if students are being served effectively, and the kinds of program modifications that should be made.

 

 

GT Programs and Services

 

 

K-1 Whole Group Enrichment—

All K-1 students have at least 30 minutes (once per month) of whole group Gifted and Talented enrichment in their classroom with an approved teacher of the gifted. The GT Facilitator designs enrichment lessons for the whole class with an emphasis in the areas of creativity, problem solving, exploring logic, using analogies, and reflective thinking skills. Also the GT teacher and regular classroom teacher will record any observations regarding the gifted characteristics exhibited by a student on the identification jot down to aid in future identification.

 

Grades 2-5 Pull-Out Program---

Students identified as gifted/talented leave their regular classroom for 150

minutes (weekly) to meet with their assigned GT Facilitator. The students and facilitators focus on critical and creative thinking, communication improvement, cooperation skills, self-awareness, and research-based independent study within their strength area. In addition, the facilitator assists the teachers as a resource to meet the needs of the students through communication and planning of differentiated curriculum. Many GT students participate in OM competitions, and students in fifth grade compete in YES.

 

Grades 6-8 Pre-AP Classes

Gifted/Talented students in grades 6-8 are encouraged to enroll in Pre-AP

(Advanced Placement) classes offered in math and language arts, which meet the criteria of 150 minutes of weekly GT services. Advanced students are encouraged to join after school competitions such as: Chess, Olympiads, Mathletes, National History Day, Science Fair, Spelling Bee and Quiz Bowl Competitions.

 

Grades 9-12

Gifted/Talented students in grades 9-12 use the Pre-AP and AP courses to meet the needs of GT students. *Any student of high ability in a particular content area, regardless of GT identification, may enroll in Pre-AP and AP courses. Students are encouraged to join after school competitions such as: Chess, Olympiads, Mathletes, National History Day, Science Fair, Spelling Bee and Quiz Bowl Competitions.

 

Acceleration is a programming option used for students at LISA Academy.  LISA Academy uses the Iowa Acceleration Scale to determine excellent candidates for acceleration.

 

GT Coordinator

Hiring Policy

All prospective employees must provide a resume with references for GT coordinator position, all of which is to be kept in their personnel file if employed.  If the employee provides false or misleading information, or he withholds information to the same effect, it may be grounds for dismissal.  LISA Academy is an equal opportunity employer and shall not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

 

In the event of an opening in an opening in a position at LISA Academy the superintendent and principal shall interview prospective employees that are certified in the respective fields and make recommendations to the board for hiring.

 

Qualifications for the position of coordinator of the GT Program shall include a degree, pass appropriate state assessments, and receive endorsement in gifted education with experience in teaching.  Qualified candidates must meet the performance standards as set by the State Board of Education through the Arkansas Department of Education, Professional Licensure Department for add-on endorsement in gifted education and in gifted education administration.  The position demands that the coordinator be flexible, approachable, and generous with time and resources.  In addition to time spent in planning the overall structure of the district gifted program and direct services to gifted students; the coordinator will perform a variety of duties that promote integration of the gifted program with regular education program.

 

The administration shall be responsible for finding the candidate who best meets the qualification through normal hiring practices with consideration of personal characteristics associated with gifted educators according to the district’s school policy.  These characteristics should be considered by the school district as they relate to program goals and objectives:

·         A sincere concern for gifted children

·         Enthusiasm for gifted programming

·         The ability to be flexible in time, pace, materials, instructional pattern, ect

·         Confident and skillful public relations

·         Good sense of humor

·         Accepting of diverse ideas and behaviors, and can deal with student criticism

·         Possessing a high degree of professionalism, willingness to meet Arkansas certification requirements for gifted

·         Successful teaching experience

·         Willingness to attend workshops and conferences related to GT Education

·         Valid Arkansas teaching certificate in GT Education

 

Job Description

The GT coordinator shall plan, implement, and evaluate the school GT students in six through twelfth grade, and keep adequate records.  The coordinator will follow rules and regulations set forth by the Arkansas Department of Education.

 

The GT coordinator must take care of all administrative paperwork, reports, and correspondence relating to the Gifted and Talented Education Program.

 

The job description duties for the GT coordinator include:

·         Working with classroom teachers, counselors, administrators, and other personal to meet education and affective needs of gifted and high achieving learners. 

·         Locating resources and preparing materials and methods for teaching the gifted.

·         Developing an appropriate curriculum for teaching the gifted students

·         Arranging in-school and out-of-school experiences.

·         Facilitating special projects and events within the gifted program.

·         Attend workshops and conferences to keep informed of new rules, regulations, ect.

·         Identification process of the GT program.

·         Compile screening and referred information regarding students and keep ongoing records of students.

·         Contact parents and staff about placement results.

·         Supervise independent studies and mentorships.

·         Conduct or arrange staff development activities under the supervision of curriculum director and/or principals.

·         Conducting community awareness events.

·         Meet with the Identification Committee and Advisory Committee at least once a year.

·         Prepare the Program Approval for the State Department of Education.

·         Update policies and procedures for the GT program.

·         Purchase and contract services and supplies for the local GT budget.

 

Staff Development

LISA Academy will provide ongoing staff development for all administrators and staff in the area of gifted education to enable them to assist in the identification, selection, programming, and needs of the gifted and talented program.  Staff development is based on local education needs of gifted students and altered accordingly.  Areas of training appropriate for the entire school staff will be provided, which include:

·         Characteristics and needs

·         Identification procedures

·         Teaching strategies

·         Creativity

·         Utilization of community resources

·         Program evaluation

 

LISA Academy will provide time to allow for staff development within the school district or by attending off campus in-service opportunities.  The GT coordinator will be responsible for staff development through sessions, faculty meetings, handouts, and professional literature.  The coordinator will also make arrangements for consultant services and provide information about regional and state workshops and conferences.  Training for the teacher of the gifted will be provided as needed. Annual and periodic staff meetings the gifted teacher shares information regarding procedures and methods to meet the needs of students in GT program and nominated for GT services. Also continuous email updates are sent to staff in order to help them better meet the affective and educational needs of the gifted and high achieving learners.

 

Less formal staff development will be encouraged by adding books and journals on gifted education to the school’s professional library, placing reprints of pertinent articles in teacher boxes, presenting classroom presentations, and teaching techniques at regular building-level faculty meetings; and sharing gifted students projects with the staff and community.

 

Instructionally useful information about individual students obtained during the identification process is communicated to the instructional staff regardless of final placement decisions, as parents are notified by mail. Dissemination of information is made possible by parent meetings, notification through mail, and/or conferences. Student data is kept on file with access limited to staff who have direct instructional contact with the student and parents of that student.  Any information, which would be educationally useful to the teachers is shared by the GT coordinator/teacher to the classroom teacher.  Data and placement decisions are kept on file for at least five years.  

 

The teachers of gifted and talented on core subjects in the secondary level will be trained in Pre-AP, AP, or Secondary Content for Gifted by the ADE.  Educators serving the gifted are expected to attend training sessions and utilize higher order thinking skills as set forth in Bloom’s taxonomy.  New educators to the district will be asked to attend the next session available.  It is the responsibility of LISA Academy to assure proper training is acquired and certificates are sent to the GT Coordinator for documentation.
 

 

 

 

Identification Process

A student must go through a screening process in which multiple types of information about the student are collected and then a decision is made about whether the student should be placed in the GT program. This process can be broken down into three steps:  nomination, data collection, and placement decision.

¨Nomination

Nominations can be submitted at any time by any person with knowledge of the student.  This includes teachers, parents, other students, and community members. Any student can be nominated for the GT program. Students may also nominate themselves.  Next, the GT coordinator will request permission from the parent or guardian to administer the battery of tests. 

 

 

¨Data Collection

Multiple types of information are collected about each student that is nominated for the GT program. Before any information or data is collected, parental permission must be obtained. The information is then compiled and placed on a profile sheet.  Profile sheets use a number instead of a student name to ensure that decisions are made based on data. Information obtained from parent and teacher surveys is included. Also, students’ most recent standardized test scores (SAT 10, Arkansas Benchmarks, end of course exams, etc.), grades, and an ability test score are included.  Students nominated for the program will also complete a nonverbal intelligence test, creativity, and an interest inventory. This information is also included on the profile sheet. 

 

¨Placement Decision

A committee meets to review information about nominated students and make decisions on whether they should be placed in the GT program.  This committee includes the GT teacher/coordinator, principal, counselor, and several grade-level classroom teachers.  The committee looks at each profile sheet individually and makes a decision based on the data and information on the profile sheet.  The GT coordinator also compiles a list of comments made on the nomination sheets of each student and shares these comments with the committee to help give them a better picture of the student and aid in decision making.  Student names are not revealed during this process to ensure decisions are based on data.  Once a decision has been made, parents are notified whether or not their child has been recommended for placement in the GT program. If a student is recommended for placement in the program, parental permission must be obtained before the student may begin participating in the GT program.

 

¨Dissemination Information           

All students considered for the GT Program have something special to offer. The committee makes a concerted effort to match program objectives with student's educational needs. If evidence indicates that a student’s educational goals can best be met through the curriculum in the regular classroom then a notification will be sent to the parents or guardians of the student. Because the search for GT candidates is an on-going process, the student may be referred again at a later time to have the process begin again. 

                      Once testing has been completed the teachers are emailed to inform them testing has finished and that if any of their students were tested they should conference with GT teacher for more information regarding relevant findings during testing.  For students who will be pulled out of class the GT teacher conferences with the teacher individually to ensure the time for resource is appropriate for regular classroom schedule. 

                      Families of students tested receive written notification of the student's progress and placement decision at each step of the way in the identification process.  Also, if a student is not placed into the GT program the letter states the process to follow for appeals.

                      Data collection is from a variety of sources.  Data may include current standardized test scores, the Raven Progressive Matrices and/or Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), grade point average, Divergent Feelings and Thinking Tests (by Dr. Frank Williams), behavioral rating scales, and enrichment portfolio where applicable. After data is collected and compiled, the GT committee reviews and analyzes data and makes professional decisions on placement of students. The GT committee is chaired by the GT coordinator and consists of administrator, elementary teacher, middle school teacher, high school teacher, and school counselor.  The committee uses a blind-screening process.  Student placement decisions are based on multiple-criteria.  No single criterion or cut-off score is used to include or exclude a student. The committee's objective is to insure that the identification procedures are non-discriminatory with respect to race, religion, culture, socio-economic status, national origin, sex, or handicapping condition.  Identification procedures are in place to insure a level entrance to the gifted program.

 

¨Parent/Guardian Information

                      The key to a successful educational experience is a strong bond between home and school.  The GT program seeks to promote that bond as much as possible.  It starts from the very first check-in where families meet the GT teacher/coordinator in order to learn and ask questions about the GT program. Once a nomination is made the GT teacher seeks permission to test from the parents/guardians of the student before testing begins.  Families are also notified of committee decision and requested for permission to participate if committee feels student's educational goals would benefit from program, or family is notified of negative committee decision and appeals procedure.  LISA North continues strong communications with monthly newsletters and website updates to keep families aware of what is continuously developing in the GT classroom.  The newsletter is sent home with students, emailed to families, and posted in classrooms and in front foyer of the school as well for anyone who enters the building to review.  The information found on the newsletter is also on the GT website http://lisaacademy.educatorpages.com for more resources to families.  Community members and families are also invited to become part of the GT Advisory Board to help guide the program and make contributions to the community in which we live. The Advisory Board will consist of a community representative, a student, two parents, a teacher, and the GT teacher who will serve to help guide program to best meet the needs of the gifted students. The GT teacher will keep a sign-in sheet and notes from the meeting to guide future planning. The Board will meet once a semester to assist in compiling Program Evaluation for reflection and improvement of program.

                      The parents and community are informed about the GT program and activities not only through the newsletter and website, but also meetings which are publicized on the website and in the school wide Wednesday mail.  During the annual parent and community meeting attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions, and gain information about the GT program. Meeting agendas and sign-ins will be kept on file.

                      Since students can be nominated at any time the GT program is ongoing with communication and awareness activities. 

 

Protocol for GT inquiries in regard to placement decisions:

1.      Contact Mrs. Ratermann, the GT Coordinator, at ratermannn@lisaacademy.org or  call  501.945-2727.

2.      Parents/guardians may provide additional data for the GT committee (5 educational professionals including an administrator and chaired by the GT Coordinator) to review (parents may be present). Then the GT committee will reconvene in private (parents not present) to make final decision.

 

Furlough, Re-Evaluation, Acceleration, Exit and Transfer Procedures:

 

1.    Furlough Procedures

At times a student may seek a furlough or have such a “time out” recommended for many reasons: emotional trauma, family considerations, health issues etc.

The GT Committee or the parents may grant the student a furlough, by executing a Furlough Contract, for a period not to exceed one year.  During the period of the contracted furlough, the GT Facilitator or designee shall monitor the student’s status and periodically report to the GT Committee. At the end of the time period stated in the contract, the student may be considered for return to the GT Program conditional up in the decision of the GT committee.

If a student does not return to the GT Program at the end of the furlough period, the student will be exited from the program. 

2.    Annual Review of Placement

LISA North has ongoing placement.  It is the policy of LISA Academy to have nomination forms posted at the front of the building and on the website at all times under Wednesday mail links, so that if any nominations can be made at any time.

Student annual evaluation will consist of self-evaluation surveys and an interview with the GT teachers to show perceived growth skills in areas covered in scope and sequence for appropriate grade, as well as data analysis. Pre-AP and AP courses will be noted on student transcripts. 

All students who are identified for Gifted and Talented will be evaluated at the end of the year by the GT teacher.  The GT teacher will review the student progress and if the GT program is meeting the student's educational needs. During the review if the program appears to no longer meet the needs of the student, the GT teacher will meet with the student, parents, and teachers to determine why the student is having difficulties in order to create a plan of action.  If it is determined that the program is not able to meet the student's needs then exiting the program will be considered by the GT committee.

 

3.    Exit Procedures

Occasionally, there may be students who are identified for LISA Academy GT Program whose needs may be best met in the regular classroom. The decision will go before the GT committee for review and consideration of the student’s educational needs.  Before a student is exited from the program the student’s teachers and/or school administrator will talk with the student’s parent and explain the procedural safeguard to request a review of the decision to exit the student.

If a parent requests a student be exited, the student may not return to the program without retesting.

 

4.    Transfer Procedures

Students transferring into LISA Academy may be placed in the GT program with appropriate information of previous GT placement in the sending district.  LISA Academy reserves the right to administer its own measures if there is any question concerning the appropriate measures or other information received.

5.    Acceleration

LISA Academy uses the Iowa Acceleration Scale when whole-grade acceleration is a consideration.  The Iowa Acceleration Scale is a researched based method that looks at test scores, motor skills, social and emotional development, system resources and sibling effects to determine if a student is strong, good, or marginal student for grade acceleration.  A team of teachers, parents/guardians, and administrators review the results to determine if acceleration is the most effective option for the student. 

 

Characteristics of a Gifted Child:

 

Bright Child                    vs.           Gifted Learner

____________________________________________

When trying to decide if a child should be recommended for gifted and talented services, consider the following:

 

 

A BRIGHT CHILD:                                     A GIFTED LEARNER:

Knows the answers                                      Asks the questions

Interested                                                      Extremely curious

Pays attention                                               Is mentally and physically involved

Has good ideas                                             Has wild, silly ideas

Works hard                                                  Plays around, still tests well

Answers the questions                                            Questions the answers

Top group                                                              Beyond the group

Listens with interest                                               Shows strong feelings and opinions

Learns with ease                                                     Bored:  knew the answers

6-8 repetitions for mastery                                     1-2 repetitions for mastery

Understands ideas                                          Constructs abstractions

Enjoys same age peers                                   Prefers adults or older children

Grasps the meaning                                       Draws inferences

Completes assignments                                  Initiates projects

Is receptive                                                     Is intense

Copies accurately                                           Creates a new design

Enjoys school                                                          Enjoys learning

Absorbs information                                     Manipulates information

Technician                                                               Inventor

Good at memorization                                             Good at guessing

Enjoys sequential information                                 Thrives on complexity

Is alert                                                                      Is keenly observant

Self satisfied                                                             Highly critical of self

                                                                                       (perfectionist)

 


 

 

 

 

 

Renzulli’s Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness:

Figure A

 

The Three Ring Conception of Giftedness:

Research on creative-productive people has consistently shown that although no single criterion can be used to determine giftedness, persons who have achieve recognition because of their unique accomplishments and creative contributions possess a relatively well- defined set of three interlocking clusters of traits, These clusters consist of above average, though not necessarily superior, ability, task commitment, and creativity (see figure A). It is important to point out that no single cluster “makes giftedness.’ Rather, it is the interaction among the three circles that research has shown to be the necessary ingredient for creative-productive accomplishment (Renault, 1978). This interaction represented by the shaded portion of Figure A. It is also important to point out that each cluster plays an important role in contributing to the display of gifted behaviors. This point is emphasized because one of the major errors that continue to be made in identification procedures is to overemphasize superior abilities at the expense of the other two clusters of traits.

 

 

Arkansas Department of Education Rules and Regulations:

 

State Plan

            Responding to the concern for educational programming for gifted and talented students, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 106 of 1979. This legislation established the Office for the education of Gifted and Talented Children, headed by an administrator to direct the state program. Funds were appropriated to provide financial assistance to school districts operating programs for gifted and talented students.  Guidelines were developed to provide information to assist districts in planning, implementing, and evaluating programs for gifted and talented students. This document was approved by the State Board of Education in 1981.  Since that time, a number of pieces of legislation enacted have has a profound effect on gifted education.

 

            Act 445 of 1983, the Quality Education Act, established minimum standards for accreditation of public schools and authorized the State Board to name a committee to recommend regulations, criteria, and minimum standards.  The Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools, which were adopted by the State Board of Education February 22, 1984, included a provision that all districts must provide a program for gifted and talented students.

 

            Act 34 in 1983, First Extraordinary Session, the School Finance Act provided funding for districts which were developing or operating programs for gifted and talented students. The Department of Education was dedicated to annually set aside funds for program development, not to exceed $6 million beginning in 1984-85. Districts which were operating approved programs were eligible to receive funds based on “add on “weight of .25 for each student identified as gifted and talented (funding was based on no more than five percent of the district’s average daily membership).

 

            The original guidelines developed to assist districts were then refined and updated and became the rules and regulations for gifted education in Arkansas. This document, Gifted and Talented Program Approval, was approved by the State Board of Education in 1987. Act 917 of 1995 changed the funding process to local school districts regarding gifted and talented students. The new law now stipulates an expenditure requirement replacing the funding provision that had previously existed. This expenditure requirement reads; local school districts shall expend from state and local revenues not less than the following amounts on gifted and talented programs, in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the State Board of Education- The previous year’s average daily membership participating in gifted and talented  programs, up to five percent(5%) of the previous year’s average daily membership, multiplied by fifteen hundredths (.15) times the base local revenue per student.

 

 

 

Contact information:

 

 

GT Coordinator –Bethany Ratermann

501.945.2727

ratermann@lisaacademy.org

 

 

Principal – Mr. Fatih

501.945.2727 ext. 100

fbogrek@lisaacademy.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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