The Gifted Support program at the elementary school level is designed to meet the academic strengths of students identified as gifted learners. The elementary gifted model seeks to develop both the cognitive and affective domains of gifted students. Activities are embedded with performance skills that are tied to the above grade level Pennsylvania state standards. Performance skills include: information processing, problem solving, critical thinking, communication and responsibility. Students work both individually and in small groups to access and apply information. Depending on grade level and individual needs, most identified students meet with the gifted education teacher for 30-90 minutes per 6-day cycle. At this time, gifted peers work cooperatively on engaging, hands-on activities that address the higher level thinking skills of applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.
In an effort to promote a growth mindset, gifted learners are regularly challenged to venture beyond their comfort zone to make new discoveries. In order to encourage risk-taking, divergent thinking, and in-depth exploration without fear of failure, performance in the gifted support classroom is evaluated, but ungraded. Progress on gifted goals is reported twice a year, after the first and third trimesters.
Math and English Language Arts (ELA) programs at the elementary level are differentiated to meet the needs of students who are approaching grade level, on grade level, or beyond grade level. When assessments indicate readiness for challenge beyond the Common Core Curriculum, differentiated instruction occurs within the classroom setting. Based on criteria that may include classroom performance, district assessments, and teacher recommendation, some gifted students may meet with the gifted support teacher for additional curricular enrichment sessions.
Opportunities to discuss the social-emotional component of giftedness and demonstrate leadership qualities are frequently addressed in the gifted classroom setting. Students in the upper grades with specific academic interests are encouraged to participate in various extracurricular opportunities, including the Chester County Reading Olympics, the Scripps Spelling Bee, the National Geographic Bee, and the UCFSD Math 24 Challenge.