Monday, September 29, 2008

GT Book Study Question 2

Chapter 5, pages 48 – 64, discussing different instruments for identifying the profoundly gifted. After reading this section, describe your belief as to the importance in correctly identifying these students. How do you see SBISD now and in the future serving the highly gifted?

27 comments:

Solanaw said...

My belief of identifying the gifted should not only rely totally on standardized test scores. We have creative and productive students. There are students that have general and specific abilities, they are task committed and they are creative individuals. Spring Branch is now relying on these concepts to target our gifted and they are also receiving input from teachers and other professional experts. The district strives to serve our gifted population when they are acknowledging their existence and needs.

Patricia Kassir said...

GT Book Study Question 2 Reply:
According to the book, the highly gifted population is a very tiny percentage of the total population. Because of the small number of highly GT students that are enrolled in or plan to enroll in Spring Branch, we need to have a place that meets their needs and becomes their home outside of home. I think a good place for the highly gifted would be by transforming Bendwood into a place for the highly gifted and for high gifted students. To meet their needs, it would need to be a full-time school where students receive instruction and guidance. It would also be a place that had a close collaboration with area high schools, and a close tie with one of our major universities. Technology would also be a major component of how students learn. Besides addressing the academics, the school would need to have a counselor and be a place for highly gifted and other gifted students to come together and develop socialization skills and have their other emotional needs met. To pull this off successfully, lots of planning by people passionate about GT education would have to take place.

solanaw said...

YES!!! I totally agree that we need a special place like Bendwood where our Gifted children can strive and their needs can get attended to. If Spring Branch could pull that one off, which I know they could, they would provide a great service to our Gifted kids. They would probably be the first district to do something innovative like that. They deserve to be taught with challenges, to be treated with love, and to be inspired to spread their knowledge.

jenniferk said...

I would love to see SBISD provide more information on our students who are classified as gifted. As it is now, I know that a child if identified as gifted only by their designation in SASI. It would be helpful to know where they fall on the gifted spectrum if we have that information from when they are tested.
I do agree with the other posts that giftedness should be defined by more than just standardized tests. I like that SBISD considers teacher and parental input as well as a student portfolio.
I was under the impression that part of the five year plan for advanced studies included a special school for the highly gifted at WAIS. I thought plans were already under way for working with these kids?

solanaw said...

What about the gifted kids who live on the other side of the tracks, who are economically disadvantaged and have low or no resources? Most don't have transportation or can't afford to travel to WAIS. Bendwood would be the closest place for those gifted kids also. At least they would get bused. Would WAIS bus those kids?

Naletta Galbraith said...

It is very important to correctly identify gifted children. If not identified their exceptionality may be dimished as they conform to classroom norms. I think that our district strives to serve the gifted, but I'm not sure that improvements could not be made. I am at the elementary level and have had the GT class. I had only a few children who would leave on Mondays for their pull out day. What they did on Mondays seemed wonderful and exciting, but I didn't always see how it fit with what we were doing. It was difficult for us to integrate the two, almost as if they were in two realities. I suppose in some ways they were. Reading some of the anecdotal chapters (4, 7, 8), you can see that public and even some private schools were not a fit for these children. I don't know the answer, I'm just wondering if SBISD would be a fit for these students. Do we have the resources? Do we have the ability to give them the individualized instruction they need? We have special learning centers on campuses for students with learning disabilities do we need the same for students of exceptional ability?

oliverl said...

The information concerning the testing was interesting, but classroom teachers never see this data. The only way we know who is "gifted" is by looking at our roll sheets. Having access to this information would help us know our students capabilities sooner rather than having to find out ourselves by classroom experiences. It also seems that all the testing gives varying results depending on the particular area of giftedness a student may possess.

oliverl said...

Reply to solanaw. I agree that the district is trying to serve these students and testing should not be the sole criteria for placing students into the program. I have never had an exceptionally gifted student but would like to see the classroom setting the district has for these students.

sandra hardie said...

I see that SBISD will need to change it's program dramatically. First they will need to have testing earlier in the year for the lower grades. Waiting until October to even start the process makes it so that many highly gifted children have to sit in a class for most of the year getting no benefit or services. Thus increasing the odds of being pulled and homeschooled. We, as a district, need these students to stay in the system in order to improve the GPA expectations and curriculum(higher levels). We also need to either have a separate campus for the studetns to attend or better communication/connections between the campuses and the GT program students are taken to (elementary). When there is no continuation of the skills from campus to campus the activeities begin to have no meaning or higher/longer extensions to the materials being explored.

sandra hardie said...

Comment to patricia k.-
I agree that SBISD would greatly benefit with a separate campus for the highly gifted. However I would want to have enough guidelines that only the highest would be allowed to attend. I feel that many students that are categorized as gifted fall way below the extremely gifted range. Due to this the school may not be cost effective for the district. I also have concerns about sending all GT students to a 'special school' - like bendwood. We need these higher thinkers in the classroom to not only be social with the general population but also to up the achievement expectations of others. - not necessarily all day but at least for some part - athletics etc.

jenniferk said...

Response to solanaw:

After I wrote my response, I went and checked the district website for advanced academic studies. The five year plan for GT and advanced studies is online for all to read now. It does include a timeline to open two academies for the gifted in SBISD. I believe these are aimed at the higher levels of giftedness--those students who are not being served in the SBISD schools. Students who fall in the moderately gifted range (as most of mine do) would still be taught at their regular schools.

Judy Canon said...

I can see that accurate intelligence tests only go so far in identifying the special needs of exceptionally and profoundly gifted children. In addition to the IQ test, I think there is a definite need to develop objective measures that will help improve our capacity to predict these children's ability to function effectively in all areas of their life. These tests will provide meaningful information about these gifted children's learning abilities and their special needs. Hopefully, the academies that are planned will be built around this kind of data.

solanaw said...

Response to Jenniferk
Thanks for looking that up. That was good news to my ears, to know that the district will open two schools.
That's great!

Patricia Kassir said...

Several people have proposed having more access to a students' giftedness test results. It certainly helps all the professionals that work with the gifted to know exactly what areas the child tested in the gifted range. I think this is helpful in planning the appropriate curriculum, and should be made more accessible to the professionals that work with the child, of course keeping student confidentiality of the utmost concern.

Patricia Kassir said...

Naletta Galbraith,
You raise excellent questions on whether SBISD can serve the needs of the highly gifted appropriately. We certainly need to ponder these questions you raise. I think it would be difficult to say that there is a perfect place, or even a single school that does the job of fully meeting the various needs of the gifted. We can all certainly try our best, and I think that the vast majority of those who advocate for the gifted are doing their best, but there is certainly room for improvement in many areas. There are many places where parents or other interested advocates for the gifted, need to fill in the gaps, or at least try to find the solutions to the problems as they arise. I think the parents that have written in the book show us that it takes a tireless effort to keep looking for solutions. As advocates for the gifted, we cannot ever be satisfied, and we should constantly strive to keep improving and to learning from what we do.

patricet said...

As a teacher on an elementary campus, I have noticed the changes in the testing process, especially in the lower grades. Why is the timeline so drawn out? That doesn't seem to serve the kids well. I know the students from third grade on go to Spiral, but what are the guidelines for the PGP? I don't see those students being served much at all. That might just be our campus situation, though.
As several respondents have said, the campus for highly gifted would be a welcome addition. Resources, both monetary and materiel, would have to be used in new and different ways. It would be a paradigm shift that advocates would have to fight for.
I agree with Jenniferk that it would be helpful as a lower elementary grade teacher and SIS to have more information on the gifted students in the classrooms I serve. Many teachers are so busy treading water at the moment that these gifted students can just be invisible as the kids at the lower end of the spectrum get all the attention. Every child has the right to learn something every day.

cjstrickland said...

The chart on page 60 of the book tells me there is a great difference between "highly gifted" and "profoundly gifted". This question references both. According to page 50, the average educator will never personally encounter a profoundly gifted student. Another part of the book says these children are "one in a million". While I believe the district needs a plan for dealing with profoundly gifted children, I believe we should put our emphasis on identifying and serving the majority of our GT students. Most of our students fall in the "gifted" category. I would also like to study this level of student during our next book study.

S.Acevedo said...

It seems that the book advocates using multiple types of tests or a combination of intelligence and achievement assessments when assessing a childs giftedness and academic abilities. I agree with this manner of assessment. However, I feel that there should be a required third component in the assessment process. The third component should be observations (not just teacher)of the child while in a classroom setting. In my experience, the number of times a child has revealed his/her level of intelligence or advanced cognitive ability through verbal outbursts or random contribution to classroom discussion dramatically outnumber the times he/she has done this on an assessment or assignment. I feel that out district does an excellent job of serving our gifted population at the elementary level. However, at the secondary level it seems that the GT child gets (for lack of a better phrase) "lost in the mix".

barbarac said...

Accurately identifying exceptionally and profoundly gifted children can create challenges for even experts because according to the book a small percentage of the population will warrant these identification labels. The chart on page 60 helped to clarify the identification levels of Intellectual Giftedness. In Spring Branch, we are already seeing an increase in enrollment of highly gifted students, as well as more inquiries about the services that our district offers for the highly gifted students. Currently, as a district, I believe that our identification process for both elementary and secondary students has strengthened. All elementary students are participating in the new addition of the planned experiences for the Level 1 screening and not relying on portfolios, which created an unfair playing field when some were completed by parents.
Since we see strides in the identification process it is time to address how SBISD will meet the educational needs of those identified highly gifted. Building a new facility is out of the question due to budget, time, and land restraints; but there could be a school within a school that offered services to meet these student’s educational needs. Creativity and foresight is needed to rely on the best practices for all students. There would need to be teachers trained and state certified in gifted education as well as have a high level of technology competencies to assist with research and student driven independent studies. For me, I like to see the possibilities and move towards them, which is not to say that we need to jump in blindly, but continue asking questions and seeking answers along the way as we continue to move towards our mission of teaching all students and having them be college ready at whatever age they are college ready.

melissa a said...

I think correctly identifying these students is extremely important. As I mentioned previously, I have only had one student this highly gifted and I know how frustrating school was for him. He eventually left SBISD and is now attending a private school. It was virtually impossible to meet his needs in a regular classroom and “a school within a school” might have been more appropriate for him. I remember at a previous book study that Lynette talked about the creation of a special school to work with these children within SBISD…that it is part of the five year plan. That makes me feel hopeful for these children’s future here in the district.

melissa a said...

comment to solanaw

In elementary school this year, we are creating the initial portfolio for identification with all of our students. The task, while time consuming, will hopefully identify students who would probably not be identified otherwise.

melissa a said...

comment for patricia kassir

I understand that a school for the highly gifted like the one you described so beautifully is actually part of SBISD's five year plan. I hope so as I think it is extremely important. I wonder, though, since according to the book, the highly gifted are such a small percentage of the gifted population if you envision the school educating more than just the highly gifted.

solanaw said...

Schools vary in their identification procedures for gifted programs. Although intelligence tests are one of the primary measures that are used to assess giftedness, many schools incorporate more than one measure of giftedness. For example, schools may consider classroom performance; achievement test scores; parent or teacher recommendations; work samples; or indices of leadership, creativity, or talent in a specific area.Just this week I was identifying kids from my classroom for the gifted program. Unfortunately, many schools do screening in a sequential, rather than simultaneous, process. In other words, they screen for achievement or intelligence and then do further testing only if the child scores at a high level on the initial screening. What I figure is that gifted kids should pursue opportunities for enrichment outside of school as well. Children's theatre, programs at area science centers or museums, and summer or Saturday programs for advanced kids at local colleges represent good choices for out-of-school enrichment. Don't forget sports, clubs and organizations appropriate to his or her age, and the local library as additional sources for enrichment. this way they keep challenged. My belief is that it's not the program that is important, it's the learning.

Kathy M said...

My impression after reading about the testing instruments is that none of the ones discussed are totally accurate in assessing who is highly gifted. There are too many variables that a test can't cover. Teachers and parents need to be aware of what makes a highly gifted child.

After reading other chapters of the book, I think it would be VERY difficult to serve the needs of the profoundly gifted. Since these children occur very rarely in the population, a place for them to reach for their potential, Bendwood might be just the place for the academy.

Kathy M said...

To solanaw,

Since I teach on the "other side of the freeway", it's always been a concern that we're not capturing the minority children who are indeed gifted. Language is such an issue with our kids, even the GT kids. I just know we're missing kids.

solanaw said...

Kathy, since I teach in a minority neighborhood of low-income and immigrant families, it used to be that teachers and administrators failed to identify poor minority children as gifted, especially in schools with a wide range of ethnic, racial and income adversity. But that pattern is playing out. Now, The Texas Education Code requires that school districts adopt procedures to make sure all populations have access to gifted assessments and services. Schools face a litany of challenges when it comes to identifying minority, low-income and non-English speaking students as gifted and talented. There are stereotypes to battle, a lack of appropriate testing and identification materials and cultural barriers to overcome. See, one of the toughest issues is the belief that a gifted child must speak fluent English. Until we overcome that barrier, what are we to do?

Debra P said...

I agree with Solanaw. As a bilingual teacher I serve a population that may not be identified by any test with an English and cultural bias. Identifying the low socioeco, Spanish speaking and gifted student is difficult by present measures. Our latest test used A House is a House for me in English.
Although the focus of our book is the profoundly gifted, I am concerned by biases in testing.
The profoundly gifted need special schooling. Since the numbers are small I think housing such a special group at Bendwood is a great idea. It is important that they still have access to the Arts and Physical Education. Some sort of collaboration with a University would also be necessary.