Former US Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland, Jr. stated,
“Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society.” (Marland 1972)
At ECDS we recognize that there are highly gifted students who need additional programming to meet their educational needs. While vertical integration allows for them to learn at the appropriate grade level, they need additional time to meet in small groups and explore topics at a more in depth level. We have 2 groupings of gifted students based on age. The Juniors program runs from K to 4th grade and the Senior level is for grades 5 to 8. Three additional classes are offered to each group and each class meets twice week. The Humanities class offers exploration of literature and writing at a complex level. Many of the selections are chosen for their social context and discussions center on integration of themes into their daily lives. Project Classes are a time for them to delve into projects that interest them. Examples are the study of the inventions of Leonardo Davinci (and creating their own) or building robots with Lego Mindstorms.
Students will be selected on the basis of their composite scores on intelligence and achievement tests as well as recommendations from teachers and outside professionals. Assessments must measure diverse abilities, talents, strengths and needs. Psychological evaluations used to determine eligibility should include recommendations based on the findings. An assessment of social competence must be included.
Individualized Program Plan
An individual program plan will be developed for each student. Each plan will reflect the gifted learner’s interests, learning style, strengths and needs.
Students will be evaluated for individual placement within curriculum. Placement will be based on ability rather than age/grade. Students in the gifted program will develop skills in critical and creative thinking, problem – finding/solving, logic and independent research. Academics will be provided in a combination of small groups, large group and individual learning sessions. If appropriate, students will take courses at accelerated levels and if necessary at an accelerated pace. Programming designed to develop problem solving/ research skills will be provided in a small group setting as grouping students together allows them to learn from and challenge each other.
It is imperative that students placed in the gifted program work on social-emotional/community goals as well as academic goals. Upon entering the gifted program social-emotional goals and objectives will be determined and included in the individualized education plan. Special attention will be placed on non-verbal communication skills, development of emotional intelligence and group dynamics/interaction skills. A gifted child must be able to share their knowledge with others in an effective way in order to be successful members of the community.
Individual teachers will develop assessments for specific subjects. At the end of each year the ERB’s (Educational Records Bureau) will be given as a guide to overall achievement. It is recommended that the students participate in the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Program and take the SCAT test or SAT’s to further assess academic growth.
Outside recourses will be actively sought out to provide programming guidance and education for the staff working with these students. The school will provide funding for teachers to participate in staff development designed specifically for gifted learners. A network of professionals who will provide knowledge and support to staff will be developed so advice and ideas can be exchanged on an on-going basis.
Gifted students will also participate in the arts programming available at Easton Country Day School. This will include drama, fine arts and music. Physical Education and Spanish will also be offered.
ECDS’s motto is Responsibility, Integrity and Community in Praxis. The goal of the Gifted Program is to develop highly motivated, talented, flexible learners and teachers who can participate in and enhance the community at large.