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Gifted Education

Philosophy Statement

Belgrade Public Schools have the responsibility to provide services that meet the needs of all students to develop their potential. Gifted students have exceptional intellectual and creative abilities that differ from those of their peers. Belgrade Public Schools are dedicated to providing appropriate educational experiences for those students. Gifted identification is used to respond to possible academic, social, and emotional support students may need in order to be learning and interacting at an optimal pace and level.

Core Values

A strong gifted program should include:

  • A research-based evaluation and identification process free from bias
  • An immersive and enriching experience for students
  • Curriculum and programming adaptive to student needs
  • Opportunities for enrichment in core classes as well as in gifted education classes
  • Time together with other gifted students
  • Quality professional development for teachers
  • Tracking of individual student growth
  • Consistent review and growth of the program
  • Long-term pathways

Definition of Giftedness

Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.

Identification Process

Students in grades K-8 can be referred for screening for giftedness by teachers, counselors, or other educators. When a student is referred, parents will receive a written permission to test form for further evaluation. A referral is not a guaranteed placement into the program. With parent permission, referred students will be given the CogAT test to appraise their cognitive development.  Additional data, including grades, current standardized test scores, home and school rating forms, and teacher feedback will be collected and analyzed to determine if placement in the gifted program is warranted. A student is identified for services when at least 2 scores are at or above the 96th percentile. Parents will be notified of the screening results and placement decisions. Qualifying students and their parents will meet with the committee to adopt a service plan for the student. Documentation of qualification will be included in their file.

Curriculum and Instruction

Gifted students will receive on-going differentiated instruction that is planned and embedded in the core curriculum. In order to more fully meet the unique educational needs of gifted and high ability students, identified students will have a service plan outlining multi-tiered systems of support available both in and out of the regular classroom setting.  These supports include, but are not limited to:

  • Classroom instruction that utilizes evidence based materials and differentiation practices. Examples include: abstraction, choice, curriculum compacting, enrichment opportunities, extensions, flexible project times, higher-order thinking skills, jig-saw/cooperative learning, mini-lessons, thematic units, and tiered assignments.
  • Supplemental support in addition to classroom differentiation. This includes support in and out of the regular classroom and may include ability grouping, cluster grouping, goal setting, guided studies, pull-out/push-in groups, real-world problem solving opportunities, and inquiry based projects.

  • Targeted intervention. Targeted interventions will be used when evidence shows a student’s academic and/or intellectual needs are not being met through differentiation and supplemental support. Examples of interventions available on an as-needed basis include: single subject acceleration, independent study, pull-out groups, social/emotional support, counseling services, mentorship, and progress monitoring.

  • Middle school electives, organizations, and clubs.  Middle school students will have the opportunity to select electives and participate in organizations and clubs geared toward their specific gifts and talents.  

Program Evaluation

Belgrade Public Schools are dedicated to the continuous evaluation, growth, and improvement of the gifted program. The district will do an annual review of the program in the following areas: identification of gifted students, program options, teacher training and support, and parent communication. In order to improve services, input from teachers, parents, and students will be included in the evaluation process when appropriate.

Resources for Parents

Montana Association of Gifted and Talented Education
National Association for Gifted Children