Middle & High School Gifted

Historically, tension has existed between gifted education and middle school education (Tomlinson, 1992),
leaving some
advocates of each educational practice suspicious of the other, and leaving middle school students who are advanced in one or more dimensions of learning in a sort of educational no-man's-land. One common practice highlights this middle school waste land all to well. The overwhelming encouragement of middle school student’s to give up their IEP’s as they enter middle school, not only is against state guidelines but can be extremely damaging to the gifted student; who’s needs may be far beyond that of the regular education classroom.


With an open mind and a little creativity the middle and high school IEP can be just as effective in providing a FAPE as the elementary IEP. Gifted pull-out programs, advanced level subjects such as algebra beginning in as early as the 6th grade, AP classes starting in middle school, duel enrollment starting in middle school, distance learning specifically designed for the gifted student, mentoring opportunities and independent project based learning are all examples of appropriate education for gifted middle and high school students.


Listed below are a few resources to get you started in your journey to understanding the needs of your gifted middle and high school student.



A Myth About College Planning: It's Not Too Early to Start! by Avis Wright

A college planning checklist for middle school students and their parents, from knowing your support personnel to studying the right subjects to moving ahead with accelerated learning, distance education and advanced classes.  Time management and study skills are another important detail, and...



Meeting the Needs of High Ability and High Potential Learners in the Middle Grades: A Joint Position Statement of the National Middle School Association and the National Association for Gifted Children

Curriculum and Instruction: Advanced middle grade learners thus require consistent opportunities to work at degrees of challenge somewhat beyond their particular readiness levels, with support necessary to achieve at the new levels of proficiency...



Academic Diversity in the Middle School: Results of a National Survey of Middle School Administrators and Teachers by Tonya R. Moon, Carol A. Tomlinson and Carolyn M. Callahan

Teachers and principals report that academically diverse populations receive very little, if any, targeted focus in middle school. They hold beliefs that underchallenge advanced middle school students. The overwhelming majority of responding educators believe middle schoolers are more social than academic, concrete thinkers, extrinsically motivated, and work best with routine. More alarming, nearly half of the principals and teachers believe that middle school learners are in a plateau learning period….



Educating Gifted Students in Middle School: A Practical Guide by Susan Rakow 

Practical information about meeting the unique needs of gifted students in middle school. Focuses on helping teachers, administrators, and parents to: understand gifted middle school students, implement effective program models, define the role of the gifted teacher, identify best practices for the classroom, and apply curriculum ideas that are effective and research based...