Gifted and Talented Programming

Through the use of Ohio's Learning Standards, gifted programming is focused on evidence-based practices, which increase the rigor of instruction, strengthen cognitive abilities, increase creativity, and foster the effective development of gifted learners. Emphasis is placed on enhancing interpersonal and technical communication in the 21st Century for gifted youth to realize their potential.

The SWCSD Gifted and Talented Team is dedicated to providing services for gifted youth in grades 3 through 8. Students must meet gifted identification criteria set forth by the State of Ohio and then must meet the requirements set by the South-Western City School District to qualify for specialized programming. Qualifying students in grades 3 and 4 participate in a one day/week pull-out Enrichment Program with a Gifted Intervention Specialist. Intermediate students in grades 5 and 6 who qualify for service participate in an Enrichment Cluster Program, receiving services from a gifted specialist in the regular classroom five days per week. The Accelerated Studies Program offers middle school gifted students opportunities to work at faster paces and with higher level content through specialized courses.

Identification of Children Who Are Gifted

Students may be identified as gifted in one or more of the following areas: Superior Cognitive Ability, Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Creative Thinking Ability, and the Visual and Performing Arts.  Section 3324.03 of the Ohio Revised Code defines a child who is gifted as one who performs or shows potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience or environment. 

Students who do not meet state gifted criteria but who score within the district-set screening range are believed statistically to have a potential for scoring at the state required identification level and therefore are eligible for a second opportunity to test for giftedness. After each whole-grade level testing opportunity (currently 2nd and 6th grades), gifted staff identify students in this range and seek permission from parents to further assess their child for possible gifted identification.

State of Ohio Identification Criteria

Superior cognitive ability

A child shall be identified as exhibiting "superior cognitive ability" if the child performs in the following ways:

  1. On nationally normed test, scored a 128 or above, or;
  2. Performed at or above the ninety-fifth percentile on an approved individual or group standardized basic or composite battery of a nationally normed achievement test or;
  3. Attained an approved score on one or more above grade-level standardized, nationally normed approved tests
*The American College Test (ACT), the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the EXPLORE Test have been approved for use in the identification of gifted students in select grade levels.

Specific Academic Ability

A child shall be identified as exhibiting "Specific Academic Ability" if the child performs in the following ways:

  1. Scored at or above the 95th percentile on an approved individual or group administered nationally normed, standardized Achievement test in one or more of the following areas: 
Social Studies

    2.  Attained an approved score on one or more above grade-level standardized, nationally normed approved tests.

*The American College Test (ACT), the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the EXPLORE Test have been approved for use in the identification of gifted students in select grade levels.

Creative Thinking Abilities

Identification for Creative Thinking Ability involves a two-pronged process because the student is evaluated for cognitive abilities and for creative characteristics. Evaluations of this kind can occur in conjunction with the referral/screening process for Superior Cognitive Abilities.

A child shall be identified gifted in "Creative Thinking Abilities" if the child performs in BOTH of the following ways:

  1. Scored at or above one standard deviation above the mean on an approved individual or group standardized intelligence test administered by a qualified professional, AND
  2. Exhibited sufficient performance, as established by the department of education, on an approved checklist by a trained individual of creative behaviors.
Visual and Performing Arts Ability

Section 3301-51-15 of the Ohio Administrative Code provides the following definition of "visual or performing arts ability" as the ability in areas such as drawing, painting, sculpting, music, dance, drama. A student shall be identified as exhibiting "visual or performing arts ability" superior to that of children of similar age if the student has done both of the following:

  1. Demonstrated through a display of work, an audition, or other performance or exhibition, a superior ability in a visual or performing arts area;
  2. Exhibited sufficient performance, as established by the Department of Education, on an approved checklist of behaviors related to a specific arts area.
Screening and Identification Process Overview

The screening and identification process for identifying students gifted in the visual arts includes the following components:

  1. Nomination of the student for screening/assessment (except when every student in a given grade will be screened) (Click here for Visual/Performing Arts Nomination Form
  2. Evaluation of the student using an approved behavioral checklist 
  3. An evaluation of the student's display of work/portfolio/performance using an approved scoring rubric completed by professionals in the field.
Gifted Services and Programming

The Ohio Department of Education has published Operating Standards that districts must follow when identifying and designing services for gifted children. While gifted identification is required by law, gifted services are not mandated. However, districts receive state funding for providing such services, as long as those services meet the criteria set forth in the Operating Standards. SWCSD offers a variety of gifted services meeting the state criteria for students in grades 3-8. Eligibility for programming differs depending on grade level and the content each serves. For a complete understanding of the goals of each programming level, its requirements, and the content being served, please see the links below. For further questions about a particular area of programming, please contact one of the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinators.

Written Education Plans (WEP)

All school districts in Ohio reporting services provided to gifted students must have a copy of a Written Education Plan (WEP) for each student served on file. Ohio Administrative Code 3301-51-15 (D)(4) outlines the specific points that must be included on the WEP. SWCSD gifted staff work directly with classroom teachers in creating goals for gifted students. Because this is a process of getting to know student needs, WEPs are usually written and sent home in the fall of the year of service. Those goals are then reviewed the following year if the child remains in service, and are modified as needed. Parental and student input is welcomed in this process annual process. Not all gifted students have a WEP on file; ONLY children currently receiving service will receive a WEP.

Referral Process For Gifted Testing

Currently, second and sixth graders participate in  whole grade level standardized testing during the school year. In addition, SWCSD offers referral testing during two specific windows of time per year.  During these windows of testing, any teacher, staff, parent or student may make a referral for a student to be tested for possible gifted identification. Please see the following links for specific information about testing widow timelines and referral applications.

Fall referral times:
  • Opens in mid-September and closes at the end of October
  • Psychologists screen elementary only in October/November
  • Testing is done by Gifted Coordinators in November
  • Results are delivered to parents by December
*All 6th graders will be tested for gifted identification in October. The Terra Nova and In View tests will be given at that time.

Spring referral times:
  • Opens in January and closes at the end of February
  • Psychologists screen elementary students only in February
  • Testing is done by Gifted Coordinators or elementary Gifted Intervention Specialists in March
  • Results delivered to parents by April

Academic Acceleration for Advanced Learners

The State Board of Education adopted a model acceleration policy for advanced learners in April 2006. Districts were required by Section 3324.10 of HB 79 to adopt a similar Acceleration Policy for Advanced Learners (click here for SWCS Board Policy 5409) that addresses all forms of acceleration, including early entrance to kindergarten, whole grade acceleration, subject area acceleration, and early high school graduation.

Process for Acceleration Referrals

Early Entrance to Kindergarten
This process takes place in August of each year; however applications are accepted and kept until the assessment window opens. For more information, see the following:

Single Subject (Content) Acceleration and Whole Grade Acceleration
Parents of candidates for single subject acceleration should discuss this with their child's classroom teacher for that subject. He/she can provide valuable information about the student's performance and particular curricular needs pertaining to that content area. The parent then completes (with the help of the teacher) the "Acceleration Referral form" and the attached "Permission for Screening" form and turns them in to the building principal. Assessment for acceleration requires multiple pieces of data entered in a scale/rubric in order for the acceleration team to make a final placement decision.

Early Graduation Requests
Please see your high School guidance counselor for the proper forms to complete. Any early graduation candidate with the purpose of beginning their higher education path earlier than their peers must have a Written Acceleration Plan on file with expected graduation date and a planned schedule of courses leading up to the graduation date.

Appeal Process for Acceleration Recommendations

All acceleration decisions are made as a team along with the parents. This team may consist of a principal, counselor, psychologist, receiving teacher, current teacher, gifted specialist, gifted coordinator, or other qualified personnel. Even though this process is based on a group decision, there may be times that a parent disagrees with the final recommendation. In these cases, the parent must complete the Appeal Document. Appeal decisions are made by the district superintendent or his/her designee and all decisions at that level are final.

Written Acceleration Plans

Any student referred for and is placed in an accelerative placement (early entrance to kindergarten, single subject acceleration, whole-grade acceleration, or early graduation) MUST have a Written Acceleration Plan on file for the first year of the accelerated placement. Since a child is not required to be identified gifted in order to accelerate, non-identified students are included in the WAP process. This is not a reference to gifted service or gifted programming; it is a document that specifies the placement of the student in an accelerated setting and strategies to support a successful transition to the setting.
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