Gifted FAQ's

What do Phoenixville’s gifted services look like?

Elementary 
At the elementary level, student data is analyzed and reviewed to determine if the student’s gifted needs extend beyond the regular education curriculum. The regular education and gifted support teachers offer enrichment opportunities to extend student learning and promote higher level thinking skills. Additionally, the GIEP team will determine if acceleration is appropriate based on multiple data points. 

Grade level acceleration (decoupling) is determined after data is collected at the end of each school year.  

Middle and High School 

At the secondary level, students receive gifted services through a mentor program. The purpose of the gifted mentoring service is to provide students with a challenging and enriching learning experience that meets their individual needs through mentoring and self-directed, independent study. Students are paired with a mentor teacher based on their chosen area of interest. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the areas of interest include technology, math, science, social studies, and writing/literature. Under the guidance of their mentor, students synthesize new learning to create a project or projects that align with their chosen area of interest. The mentor program helps students develop higher level thinking skills, academic stamina, and time management skills. It offers students an educational opportunity that they would otherwise not have in the regular education setting. 

Secondary gifted students also have the opportunity to attend a minimum of 6 seminars throughout the school year. At these seminars, professionals speak to the students about their careers and how they got them. This helps to create career awareness for our gifted students, while also providing a road map to follow should they want to pursue that particular career. 

How does a student become identified as “gifted?”
As per Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania School Code, a student is “mentally gifted” if they have an IQ of 130 or higher, or demonstrate very strong indication of gifted ability based on multiple educational criteria. To then be eligible for gifted services, a student must also display a need, as evidenced by examples of the regular education curriculum not meeting their needs. A team of people including the child’s parents, teacher, and a certified school psychologist take part in the gifted evaluation.

What is the appropriate age for gifted evaluation?
We conduct a universal screening at the end of 1st grade to determine which students may be eligible for gifted evaluation. It is strongly recommended that students not be tested earlier than this, as those tests often reflect rich pre-school experiences, which are almost indistinguishable from advanced learning capabilities in young learners.

What do I do if my child is not found to be gifted?
It is important to remember that most students are not gifted. The United States Department of Education estimates that only 6% of students are mentally gifted. There are many extremely bright and talented students who are not identified as gifted, and they have an abundance of opportunities to flourish at PASD. It is important that students know that their parents are proud of them and love and accept them for who they are.

How often may a student be reevaluated for giftedness?

It is best practice to wait at least one year after a student’s last evaluation before requesting another evaluation. This will allow for the most accurate results. Additionally, we strongly encourage parents and teachers to discuss whether there is any new data that would increase the likelihood of a student being identified as gifted before requesting reevaluation. We do not want to subject students to unnecessary testing, as it can be demoralizing to continue a process that will ultimately not result in their being identified as gifted. This is especially true if they believe that their identification is of particular importance to their parents.

May parents obtain testing from a private psychologist?
Parents may obtain testing, at their own expense, from a private psychologist. The findings of the testing will be considered by PASD, but we are not required to accept the results. Any student who wishes to receive gifted services must have testing done in the district by our Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team.

What opportunities are available for students who are not identified as gifted?
Time and time again, PASD has been recognized both at the state and national level for the opportunities that it provides students. All students, regardless of whether or not they have been identified as gifted, have access to enrichment, advanced courses, and a plethora of clubs and activities that provide a sufficient challenge and encourage growth. Formal identification as “mentally gifted” is not required for students to access academic opportunities that meet their needs.

If my child was identified as gifted in another school district and transfers to PASD will they still be considered gifted?
If a student moves from one Pennsylvania school district to another, their GIEP remains in place. A GIEP meeting will most likely be held not long after the student enrolls in the district. If a student moves into a Pennsylvania school district from out of state, they must go through the PASD evaluation process.

Where can parents get more information about PA Chapter 16 and their rights?
This link will take you to a copy of the Notice of Parental Rights for Gifted Students 
This link will take you to Chapter 16 PA Code 
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