Intellectually gifted students require specialized educational experiences that promote the development and expression of their potential. If gifted individuals—as children, youths, and adults—are to experience fulfilling lives and if society is to derive optimal benefits from gifted individuals’ uncommon potentials, an educational program must be structured to more fully develop their exceptional and varied abilities, interests, and talents.
The Fulton County gifted program is a response to the need to address the unique learning characteristics, interests, personal needs, and capabilities of gifted children. The program emphasizes the gifted students’ need for interaction with intellectual peers. Emphasis on the individual highlights the fact that there are differences among gifted students and a need for specialized educational experiences to meet these differences.
Basic to the philosophy of this program is the idea that no one teacher, resource, or instructional method can meet the needs of gifted students. Education for the gifted is viewed as a cooperative endeavor characterized, facilitated, and realized by the efforts of numerous individuals in the schools and community.
These goals are accomplished in Fulton County elementary schools by providing interdisciplinary extensions and enrichment of the Fulton County curriculum for identified gifted students. Adjusting the rate and depth of their learning and using a variety of appropriate teaching methods provide differentiation of the basic curriculum. Challenging instructional activities are designed to intensify and extend their particular interests and aptitudes.
The Talented and Gifted Program identifies gifted students based upon State Board of Education Rule 160-4-2-38. All students in Fulton County Schools are screened twice a year for the gifted program. If a student is referred for the gifted program, the school must gather information in the areas of multiple criteria: mental ability, achievement, creativity, and motivation. In order for students to be eligible for gifted services, they must qualify in at least three of the following four areas:
- Mental Ability: 96th percentile component or composite score on a nationally-normed test of mental ability
- Creativity: 90th percentile score on a nationally-normed creativity test; or a score of 90 on a scale of 1-100 on a product or performance evaluated by a panel of three or more qualified evaluators
- Achievement: 90th percentile score in total reading, total math, or complete composite on a nationally-normed achievement test
- Motivation: 90th percentile on a standardized motivational characteristics rating scale; or a score of 90 on a scale of 1-100 on a product or performance evaluated by a panel of three or more qualified evaluators
One source of information may not be used to qualify a student in more than one area. Students identified for the gifted program are served at their home school by a gifted endorsed teacher.
In accordance with this philosophy, the following program goals have been adopted in order to identify and serve the gifted students of Fulton County:
- To help teachers, administrators, and parents identify gifted students and understand their unique abilities, needs, and preferences.
- To design and implement differentiated instructional experiences in the school and the community.
- To develop in gifted students an accurate and increasing awareness of themselves, their abilities, and their value to society.
We believe that by meeting the program goals and objectives, we will be able to promote and achieve the following learner goals:
- Advanced research methods and independent study skills,
- Creative thinking and creative problem-solving skills in order to be generators of ideas and products which are original to the learners,
- Higher order and critical thinking skills,
- Advanced communication skills that incorporate new techniques, materials, and formats in the development of products and ideas that will be shared with real audiences.