Understanding Gifted/Talented Instructional Support at YES:
The Yarmouth School District is committed to addressing the academic and emotional needs of all students. Students may be supported in small groups or in the regular classroom through differentiated work. YES Literacy and Math Lead Teachers work with classroom teachers to establish strong differentiation practices for students. The GT teachers collaborate with the classroom teachers in a well established consultative mode. Typically, any direct GT small group services begin in 4th grade. By Maine statute, identified GT students comprise 3-5% of our student population. GT instructional support needs in the earlier grades (grades 2 and 3) are met through consultation with the classroom teacher. The GT teachers reach 2nd and 3rd grade students and teachers through their work during 2nd and 3rd grade hour, as well as through grade level challenges.
What is giftedness?
There are many definitions of giftedness, ranging from the very narrow (the top 1% of the population based on IQ) to the very broad (the top 20% based on the School-wide Enrichment Model). The State of Maine defines gifted children as those in grades K-12 who excel, or have the potential to excel, beyond their age peers, in the regular school program, to the extent that they need and can benefit from programming for the gifted and talented. Chapter 104, which governs our programs here in Maine, mandates that students selected for direct GT services comprise approximately 3-5% of students.
We have observed that the GT learner often takes an unusual route to an unexpected destination, frequently ending up far beyond the rubric or learning standard. A GT student does not look the same as a bright, hard working student.
Bob Gross is the full-time GT math/science contact for grades 2- 8. Charlotte Agell is the grade 2 - 8 English language arts/social studies/art contact. She is in the district Monday through Thursday. The GT teachers are each at YES approximately one day per week. Jodi McGuire is Director of Instructional Support, including GT Services. For more information on GT Instructional Support and Chapter 104, the Maine law governing these services, please visit our district Instructional Support site.
A commonly asked question is how a 4th grade student is identified as needing GT instructional support in a small group setting. The process is defined in detail on our GT/Chapter 104 website but includes a variety of data points and anecdotal evidence. These include:
- Verbal and math abilities testing (nationally normed)
- National common achievement assessment
- Student work samples
- Teacher Nomination Form based on the 12 Characteristics of Gifted Learners
Parents may consult with the classroom teacher with questions about the nomination process. The process is not all about a test score but more about acknowledging the unique needs of the gifted learner.