Friday, January 26, 2007

Who is Gifted?

According to the Washington Post, school systems differ in how they determine whether a student is gifted or highly gifted. Here is the selection criteria of the three largest systems in the area:

Montgomery County

  • Screens all students in grade 2, using two intelligence tests, grades and surveys of parents, teachers and staff members.
  • About 40 percent of all students are identified as gifted; about 4 percent study in highly gifted centers.

Fairfax County

  • Screens all students in grade 2, using two intelligence tests and teacher appraisals.
  • Highly gifted centers serve about 12 percent of students. A broader gifted program serves about 36 percent of students.

Prince George's County

  • Screens all students in grades 1 and 3, using the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test. Parents and teachers may nominate students at any grade level.
  • Between 8 and 9 percent of students are identified as gifted.

Although Charles County wasn't detailed in the report, CCPS information is given below.
Charles County Public Schools use the Treffinger Service Delivery Model for gifted services. This model does not include a gifted identification procedure. However, it does provide services for top academic students which are provided at the school level based on student need. At the elementary and middle school levels, gifted education resource teachers work vcollaboratively with classroom teachers to provide appropriate experiences for their students. The service delivery model has four levels of service: ALL - all students receive the gifted initiatives and information, MANY - students receive services associated with various enrichment and special interest groups, SOME - students are included who can learn at a faster pace and need some adjustments to the curriculum to meet their full potential, and FEW - students need direct support from the gifted staff.


LegalBeaglette said...

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The “Treffinger Service Deliver Model” – All, Many, Some, Few – The Layer Cake – has been the CCPS “gifted program” for about a decade now…and it’s such a joke.

As recently as the 2003 Maryland Report Card, CCPS would invariably report, under “Demographics and Other Supporting Facts/ Gifted and Talented Student Information,” the following:

"Students with outstanding abilities in general intellectual capabilities and specific academic aptitudes are identified for gifted education services. Observations, assessments, academic achievement, standardized tests, recommendations, and interviews by professional staff and parents are used to provide these services. Percentages of students provided services are: from grade 1 to 5 (30%); from grade 6 to grade 8 (33%); and from grade 9 to grade 12 (33%)."

It was a load of bunk. First, as parents repeatedly pointed out, if “The Layer Cake” provided “All, Many, Some and Few” of our students with “gifted education services,” then theoretically the report to MSDE should read that 100% of CCPS students receive “services.” Second, CCPS dumped the “gifted education” program (which had clear “identification” procedures…and to which some parents vehemently objected) under the Superintendent before Richmond. Tossing him out the door didn’t restore the program, though…because “gifted” programs were made pretty much taboo under Grasmick. MSDE ignored the findings of the (1994?) Task Force on Gifted Education – money and effort were instead focused on student groups who were not performing well in academic areas.

Parents were in an uproar over what they knew had been lost – academically – for their children, and they wanted it back. They were presented with “The Layer Cake” – introduced with lots of hype…a sales job that bore absolutely no resemblance to the reality of the classrooms. Parents would ask teachers how spelling lists, science topics, math units would be adapted (CCPS uses the word “differentiated”) for their children, and be treated like they had snakes for hair. “Scholars’ Program” – at a middle school that didn’t offer “enrichment level” classes? Explain that, please. “Accelerate” someone’s child through a topic area for which the child has already demonstrated mastery? Go fish. [And besides, CCPS now uses the term “accelerate” instead of “remediation” – and trust us parents of highly-able, academically motivated children, remediation is NOT what our children need!!!]

There is no “gifted education” in CCPS. A few gems in the staff who truly recognize the needs of such students, and do their best to help…but a “delivery of services” – generally speaking – to those students who would be characterized as “highly-able” or “gifted” or “talented”?


The 2004-2005 CCPS Master Plan Update included “Implications,” one of which was “Gifted services must continue to emphasize the differentiation of instruction and the professional development necessary for implementation.”

It’s been a decade. At least. A lot of us parents are wondering just when CCPS is going to get a handle on its “non-program.” And we’re not talking about chess tournaments, summer enrichment camps through MSDE, or CTY – these are things OUTSIDE of our children’s school day.

Anonymous said...

All, many, some, few....

Well, that's the first time I've ever heard a name put to it, Treffinger, but it's NOT the first time I've heard someone complain about the method. And asiber is right. People have been complaining about it for YEARS.

Anonymous said...

Wowie! That thar warter frum Farefax and Muntgummery countie must have come from Lake Wobegon. Imagine! A population whar 36% and 40% of the popalashun be gifted! Must be in dem dar kromosome things. Culdn't jes be no tricky way of makin' da taxpayers and da socker moms THINK they's gettin' them thars money worth, could it?

Heather Brooks said...

I was frustrated at the lack of gifted services at the elementary school level. I can't tell you how many things she was interested in doing that the school couldn't provide - even when I phoned to the high schools to find out ways for her to learn Italian and French which was something she was very intersted in from third to fifth grade - and no tutors in town to speak of. Not that having a gifted program would help proivde things like language courses in elementary school - it was just one of the things that stand out in my mind.

She is now in middle and takes "enrichment" courses and is pretty bored. She used to love to go to school and do schoolwork - now she finds it less than exciting.

Can't wait for high school - especially now that she has decided she wants to be a singer and musician and possibly expand to drama. Any suggestions as to which Charles County High School she should go to for that?

I suppose if she wanted to be a astronaut she'd be set.

LegalBeaglette said...

"I suppose if she wanted to be an astronaut she'd be set."

LOL. Probably. I wonder what kind of response we'd get if we asked Mr. Richmond to re-assign that $200,000 cost on page 27 of his budget for “Supplemental Requests”

MOI (Consultants, transportation & materials) - $ 200,000 (cost)

Let's see. "Fine and performing arts programs need to be expanded to embrace more varied opportunities for participation so that students can expand their thinking and creativity supporting the more traditional academic areas." CCPS Update Master Plan 04-05, Page 10's in an update. A report. Words in print. Good for CCPS...keeps hauling out the words. I do hope Mr. Richmond will continue to tell us how the arts are "near and dear" to his heart. Sounds good.

By the way, Margrit -- please remember that CCPS long reported 30-33% of its student population as "gifted" (or, I'll be fair "receiving gifted education services.") "Culdn't jes be no tricky way of makin' da taxpayers and da socker moms THINK they's gettin' them thars money worth, could it?" Sure, it could. It's a sales pitch; helps sell real estate. Realtors point to that kind of "good stuff" on a regular basis. I'd be interested in hearing exactly what the parents and students in Montgomery and Fairfax think of the "gifted education services."

Heather Brooks said...

Does anybody else here feel that Mr. Richmond is sort of "untouchable?"

I feel like we can talk about this sort of thing all day and night, but Mr. Richmond is only going to be a few quotes in the Indy and we won't have any real answers.

I feel like I'm spinning my wheels about this stuff all the time.

I really would love to have been able to say:

"My experiences with Charles County School systems has been wonderful. My daughter has had all of her needs met and the superintendent is very responsive and constantly in touch with the public. The board moves quickly to implement good ideas that help move the schools forward and I think everybody should be proud of our system."