East Fort Worth Montessori Academy
Gifted and Talented Education Policy
East Fort Worth Montessori Academy defines the gifted and talented student as a child who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, and environment and who exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual area or excels in a specific academic field.All gifted and talented students need a learning environment that enables learning outcomes consistent with their abilities and fosters lifelong learning. The Montessori methodology naturally supports giftedness and talent development by providing classrooms where students are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. A student’s innate passion for learning is encouraged through opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and self-discipline. They progress at their own pace and rhythm within a framework of order and according to their individual capabilities. EFWMA offers a GT program to provide further educational pathways and appropriately challenging enrichment, extension and acceleration experiences to meet the needs of those students identified by the G/T process.
Guidelines for Eligibility
To be eligible for the G/T program, a student must qualify in 3 or 4 of the criteria listed below. The Screening Committee, consisting of at least three people who have received training in the nature and needs of gifted students, will review data collected using a screening profile.
Nominations for the G/T program will be taken from teachers, peers and parents. Nominations for the program will be accepted throughout the school year. A nominated student will then proceed through the entire screening process.
Teachers and parents will be informed of the opening of nominations and can obtain nomination forms from the school intranet or from the G/T Coordinator. Parents may be asked to provide a portfolio of work that they believe shows giftedness. If nominated by teacher or peer, parents will be notified that their child has been nominated to be considered for placement in the G/T program. Any new testing must be preceded by a Permission to Test form signed by the parent.
All nominated students will be assessed using multiple measures, both subjective and objective, to determine their abilities, performance, and productive thinking abilities. If in the event a second Abilities/Reasoning assessment is required, the higher of the two scores will be used as the part of the scoring matrix.
The use of comprehensive criteria and a balance between objective and subjective assessments will ensure inclusive screening. Measures will vary depending on the grade of the nominated student and may include, but are not limited to, the following instruments:
A campus selection committee will be used to make all placement, exit, transfer, and appeals decisions. The committee will consist of at least the principal, G/T program coordinator, and a teacher.
Parents of students nominated and considered by the Selection Committee are sent either a letter which notifies them of placement and requests their permission for placement or a letter which notifies them of non-eligibility. All letters require a parent signature and return to school. Parents will also be notified at the time of any major changes in the student’s curriculum or programming due to intervention by the Gifted/Talented Coordinator. The Coordinator is responsible for communication with parents regarding identification and programming.
Students New to the District
Identified students who transfer to EFWMA must be considered for placement in the G/T program. Placement criteria from the previous district should be requested and considered in placement of the student. It is the selection committee’s responsibility to determine eligibility. Comparable tests administered in other districts may be accepted in place of EFWMA measures. However, the EFWMA G/T program reserves the right to administer all its own tests. Assessment will be completed within six weeks of receiving records.
If parents disagree with the placement decision, an appeals process may be initiated by the parent by conferencing with the principal and completing an Appeals Request Form.
The student is notified of the decision, if appropriate, and the Appeals Decision Notification is sent to the parent immediately following an Appeals Committee meeting. The Appeals Committee is the Principal and the Selection Committee. Any subsequent appeals must be made through the director’s office. All appeals must be made within 30 days of notification of the decision.
Parents may withdraw students from the program at any time by contacting the school principal and submitting written notification. If a child consistently has difficulty in the program, the teacher, student, parent, or school administrator may request that a conference be held to discuss the problems in an effort to provide intervention strategies.
A Growth Contract will be written specifying areas of concern and improvements required. If, after a specified period of time, the student has not complied with the terms of the contract, the student may be exited. Students who are exited will be eligible to be nominated each subsequent year for identification for the G/T program. Documentation will be placed in the student’s cumulative folder.
Students who wish to be withdrawn for a temporary period of one year may request “furlough status”. They or their parents should present to the placement committee their reasons for wishing to be furloughed and their educational plans for the intervening period. The placement committee would then make arrangements through the coordinator to monitor that student’s progress in the regular program and make him or her aware of activities appropriate to his/her needs. The furlough shall be documented in the student cumulative folder. Limited extension of a furlough may be granted by the committee, if the student and/or parents present appropriate documentation. Students who do not reenter the program at the end of the furlough period may reenter at a later date through the standard identification process.
Gifted and Talented Screen and Admissions CalendarWithin the first 30 days of attendance- New student screening. Rescreening of students recommended for rescreening by committee.Completed by March 31st- Evaluation for students referred by teachers, students, and/or parents and 2nd Grade Talent Pool students.Completed by January 31st- Kindergarten screening.PROGRAM MODELStudents in kindergarten and 1st grade who show the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, and environment will be entered into the G/T Talent Pool. The G/T program for kindergarten through 5th grade is an inclusion program. G/T students are provided opportunies to work on projects and assignments with other G/T students throughout there school day. Enrichment is also available through special interest clubs. The projects and assignments given to students will be differentiated to serve the particular needs and/or interests of identified students through inquiry learning which focuses on problem solving skills, self-directed study, task commitment, risk taking, higher level and critical thinking, evaluation skills, and advanced core area subject matter. The students are further serviced through collaboration between the G/T coordinator and the classroom teacher to accerlarate or modify classroom assignments as appropriate.
CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
EFWMA will provide challenging learning experiences in Kindergarten through 5th grade in language arts, math, science, social studies, and the arts based on individual needs. Focus will be on creative thinking, critical thinking and analysis, research, and advanced-level products and/or performances. Opportunities will be provided to accelerate in areas of student strengths. The school will inform parents of available opportunities. Out of school experiences will also be provided.
· Acceleration: Acceleration offers standard curricular experiences to students at a younger-than-usual age or lower-than-usual grade level. Acceleration includes early entrance to kindergarten or to college, grade skipping, or part-time grade acceleration, in which a student enters a higher grade level for part of the day to receive advanced instruction in one or more content areas.
· Ability Grouping/Cluster Grouping: Ability grouping is defined as using test scores and school records to assign same-grade children to classes or instructional groups that differ markedly in characteristics affecting school learning. Cluster grouping is a form of ability grouping in which 3 to 6 students are clustered according to their identified strength areas in a mixed-ability classroom.
· Curriculum Compacting: A systematic procedure for modifying or streamlining the regular curriculum to eliminate repetition of previously mastered material, upgrading the challenge level of the regular curriculum, and providing time for appropriate enrichment and/or acceleration activities.
· Differentiation: A means of addressing the particular characteristics and promoting the continual growth of students in an environment that is respectful of individual differences through modification of pace, depth, and complexity of curriculum and instruction.
· Flexible Pacing: A form of "acceleration" in which the pace at which material is presented and/or expected to be mastered has been sped up.· Guided Independent Study: A process through which student and teacher identify problems or topics of interest to the student, plan a method of investigation, and identify a product to be developed.
COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS
Parents will receive information on the characteristics of gifted students, on other facets of the Gifted/Talented Program, and on ways they can assist the school in planning and implementing the program. Parents will have opportunities through group meetings and individual conferences to discuss their children’s abilities, needs, and progress as well as ways they can assist the school in strengthening those abilities both at home and at school.
EFWMA will call on all available resources including the regional education service center, colleges, universities, and the Texas Education Agency to provide on-going, in depth training for administrators, teachers, and teacher aides. Gifted/Talent Program teachers will complete training as required by the Texas Education Agency.
EFWMA recognizes the value of continual assessment and evaluation of programs in increasing the effectiveness and quality of those programs. Consequently, EFWMA will undertake to evaluate all aspects of the Gifted/Talented Program annually.