Susan Gooch, GT Coordinator
Jennifer Dawkins, K-2 GT Facilitator
Katie Lawson, 2, 4-6 GT Facilitator
The Searcy Public School District is now taking referrals for the Gifted and Talented Program. Referrals will be accepted from teachers, parents, students, or other community members who are aware of a student’s need for a differentiated curriculum. Gifted and talented children are those of high potential or ability evidenced by high test scores/grades, task commitment, and creative ability. Group achievement tests, school ability tests, creativity tests, grades, and rating scales from both teachers and parents will be considered in the placement process. Final placement in the program is made by consideration of all required data by the Placement Committee. Referral forms may be picked up at your child’s school.
What makes my child “gifted and talented”? As a parent, you may have wondered why your child was chosen for the Gifted and Talented program at Searcy School District.
The state of Arkansas has defined gifted children as “those children and youth of high potential or ability whose learning characteristics and educational needs require qualitatively differentiated educational experiences and/or services. The possession of these talents and gifts, or the potential for their development, will be evidenced through an interaction of above average intellectual ability, task commitment and/or motivation, and creative ability.”
The Searcy School District is committed to an educational program that recognizes the unique value, needs and talents of the gifted and talented student. Our program is designed to provide appropriate stimulation for these students to reach a higher level while allowing them to function with their age peers during the majority of their school work. The ultimate goal of the program is to develop within the student a desire for excellence and a sense of individual responsibility to the school, community and to a changing society.
Based on these guidelines, Searcy School District screens all students who have been referred for the program. Referrals can be made by anyone; teachers, parents, students, and/or community members. Screening includes some or all of the following: group tests of intelligence and achievement, creativity tests, teacher referrals, parent information, student data, and teacher and parent notations on traits and behaviors. Identification involves individual testing which includes all of the information which can be gathered about a given student along with educational plans. A placement committee consisting of teachers, counselors, and principals select those students in need of differentiated and special programs to fully develop their exceptional abilities so they and society have access to their talents.
All involved must understand that being placed in the program is indicative of need rather than superiority or reward for conformity to teacher requirements or certain modes of thinking. Students identified as gifted can become elitist and evoke hostility from others, especially students. In addition to the alienation this may cause, the gifted can be burdened by unreasonable expectations projected onto them by parents and teachers. They can experience tremendous stress and feelings of insecurity and inadequacy if they feel, as most people mistakenly seem to, that being gifted means excelling in all things at all times.
We are lucky in that the state of Arkansas seems to have a better understanding of who the gifted are than other states that identify on IQ scores alone. By using creativity tests, teacher and parent ratings and information, we feel that we are able to better identify the truly gifted students. One of the goals of our program is to help your child better deal with his/her giftedness while functioning with their age peers and teachers in the school setting.