The Blairsville-Saltsburg School District is committed to working in partnership with school staff, family and the community to serve the needs of our high achieving learners. We advocate for students with outstanding gifts or talents and align our services with the established Pennsylvania State Guidelines provided in Chapter 16. Highly trained gifted instructional coaches support classroom teachers in the development of differentiated instructional activities and assignments. This adds intensity, rigor, relevance, and dynamic, authentic assessments to meet the continuous growth model for every student.
Our objectives for high achieving learners include:
- Engaging high achieving learners in challenging activities that fulfill their individual needs and maximize their potential.
- Offering high achieving learners experiences in a respective learning environment with support from peers, faculty and family.
- Providing intensive support and teacher professional development across math, reading, English Language Arts, science and social studies student learning can be optimized through rapid acceleration and in-depth investigations or research that are based on students’ interests and abilities across the curriculum.
- Enhancing school-wide enrichment by utilizing research-based teaching methods as well as coordinated planning time that is connected to ongoing assessments resulting in high student outcomes.
Mentally gifted is defined as outstanding intellectual and creative ability the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program. (22 Pa. Code §16.1)
SCREENING & ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION PROCEDURES
Process for locating students who are thought to be gifted and may be in need of specially designed instruction (screening).
Gifted Screening Process:
The Blairsville-Saltsburg School District has established screening procedures to locate and identify students who are gifted, and who require gifted education services. These procedures comply with the Pennsylvania regulations that are delineated in 22 Pa. Code Chapter 16. Screening and identification of gifted students occurs from kindergarten through twelfth grades. A request for a multidisciplinary evaluation may occur one time per school year. A Universal Screening Process is included at Level I of the Gifted Screening & Eligibility Determination matrix to determine strengths in math and/or reading. To ensure fidelity the guidance counselor will facilitate the building-wide screening process.
The process of screening for eligibility begins with an examination of existing screening data from a variety of sources, including scores of cognitive abilities, achievement testing, district benchmark data, grades, teacher and parent ratings scales. When multiple criteria indicate that the student may need instruction beyond the regular education curriculum, an individual intelligence test is administered by the district's Certified School Psychologist and considered with all of the other data required for the Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE). When a student meets the criteria, a Gifted Individualized Education Program (GIEP) is developed and a Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) is presented to the parents/guardians for approval of services.
Teacher/School Screening Process or Parent Inquiry about Screening:
Through classroom based assessments and other assessment data, a school-based educational team may identify a student who is exceeding grade level standards in learning. The B-SSD has a three level matrix (process) of Gifted Screening & Eligibility Determination. The screening process is listed below.
A teacher may complete a nomination form based on teacher observation and individual student performance. Based on this information the student’s nomination may move to Level II. A Universal Screening Process is included at Level I to determine strengths in math and/or reading. To ensure fidelity the guidance counselor will facilitate the building-wide screening process.
Building level data team will conduct an internal review of student assessment and performance for consideration in order to move the student on to Level III.
The Guidance Counselor will administer the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test K-Bit. The classroom teacher(s) will complete the Chuska Acquisition/Retention Scales.
Procedures for determining eligibility (through multiple criteria) and need (based on academic strength) for potentially mentally gifted students (evaluation).
Parent Request for Evaluation:
Parents/Guardians may request a district evaluation to determine if their child is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction to meet his/her unique learning needs. The performance data will be reviewed at a multidisciplinary team meeting.
When parents suspect their child is gifted, they may request a GMDE at any time, with the limit of one request per school year. The request must be in writing. If a request is made orally to any professional employee or administrator of the district, that individual shall provide a copy of the permission to evaluate form to the parents within ten (10) calendar days of the oral request. The district MUST receive a parent’s signature on the form in order to move forth with the evaluation process.
New Student to the District Previously Identified as Mentally Gifted:
Gifted Individualized Education Plans (GIEPs) written by other districts in Pennsylvania will be honored and either implemented or modified as needed to best meet the needs of the student in the B-SSD. Students with identification as gifted in another state will need to undergo screening with the internal data review team and/or evaluation with the school psychologist and will need to meet the criteria for identification as set by the B-SSD, in accordance with Pennsylvania’s Chapter16 Regulations.
Screening Team Determination of Need for Evaluation:
The established Gifted Screening & Eligibility Determination matrix uses a scoring system based on the screening data to determine eligibility for gifted services. Based upon review of the data, recommendation to proceed with a multidisciplinary evaluation is made if the screening criteria is met. In that case, the counselor will contact the parent to obtain permission for a GMDE. The GMDE results will be reviewed by the team to determine if the child is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction to meet his/her unique learning needs based on the evaluation. The paperwork and timelines governing the process, which are outlined in Chapter 16 regulations, will be implemented.
To be identified as a gifted student, the child must meet the criteria as outlined on the district’s Gifted Screening & Eligibility Determination document.
Once a student has been identified as gifted according to the above criteria, the multi-disciplinary team must decide whether the student is in need of specially designed instruction to meet his/her unique educational needs. If the team decides that specially designed instruction is needed, the team will develop a Gifted Individual Education Program (GIEP) for the child within 30 calendar days. If the team determines the child does not need specially designed instruction, the child would continue to receive general education instruction. The invitation to the GIEP meeting will be sent to the parents at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the scheduled GIEP meeting. The Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) can be presented to parents at the GIEP meeting or by certified mail within five (5) calendar days after the completion of the GIEP meeting. The parents shall have ten (10) calendar days to respond to the NORA sent by mail or five (5) calendar days to respond to a NORA presented in person at the conclusion of the GIEP meeting. The GIEP will be implemented no more than ten (10) school days after the NORA is signed (or the start of the following school year if completed fewer than 30 days prior to the last day of school). If the parents receive the Notice in person and approve the recommended assignment within five (5) calendar days, the school district may not implement the GIEP for at least five (5) calendar days.
District’s Gifted Program – Continuum of Services
The district has a continuum of services K-12 that are officered within the five district buildings. The LRE principle guides GIEP teams with determining a student’s educational placement, first considering the student’s individual needs to ensure meaningful progress and proceeding through the continuum of services. A student’s GIEP team develops an educational plan based upon the individual student needs and abilities. Placement decisions are made after the needs of the student are individualized and goals and objectives are developed. Comprehensive service delivery model cannot only be enrichment. The district has put into place a series of guidelines that determine acceleration. Differentiated options are offered through a variety of options and selections. The district has in place a “pull-out” program and a “push-in” program at the elementary and middle school level. It is the goal to determine a student’s are of giftedness to develop goals that directly impact that skill level. The use of a needs assessment survey for gifted learners as a tool to guide decision on services delivery options within the district. The secondary level provides multiple opportunities for student through dual enrollment, AP courses, and College in High School courses.