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Gifted Scope and Sequence

QUESTION:  What is your district's definition of a gifted student and gifted education?
 
Definition of Gifted Education: The state of Arizona states that because it is in the public interest to support unique opportunities for high-achieving and underachieving pupils who are identified as gifted, the governing board of each school district shall provide gifted education to gifted pupils identified as provided in this article.
 
The governing board shall modify the course of study and adapt teaching methods, materials and techniques to provide educationally for those pupils who are gifted and possess superior intellect or advanced learning ability, or both, but may have an educational disadvantage resulting from a disability or a difficulty in writing, speaking or understanding the English language due to an environmental background in which a language other than English is primarily or exclusively spoken. Identification of gifted pupils as provided in this subsection shall be based on tests or subtests that are demonstrated to be effective with special populations including those with a disability or difficulty with the English language.  A.R.S. 15-779.01
 
Definition of a Gifted Student: Gifted refers to a student who is of lawful school age, and who scores at or above the 97th percentile on national norms in verbal, nonverbal, or quantitative reasoning on any test from the State Board-approved list of tests.
 
An alternative process that incorporates a matrix is also utilized to determine eligibility.  The matrix combines point values for cognitive ability scores and standardized achievement test scores to determine eligibility.  It is applicable when cognitive ability scores fall between the 94th and 96th percentile. If a student comes to Dysart with a gifted identification from another school district or out of state we will honor that qualification for services. 
 
QUESTION:  Describe the philosophy and goals for your gifted program. 
 
Statement of Purpose:  Based on the unique needs and characteristics of students identified as gifted, the mission of the DUSD is to provide an array of services to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of these students in our community.
 
Mission:  To deliver educational programs designed to assist gifted individuals to achieve their full potential in intellectual pursuits, community leadership, and creativity.  This mission is achieved through the use of sound differentiated instructional strategies that include but are not limited to:  complexity, depth, novelty, pacing, independent study, and acceleration.  Professional expertise is fostered and exemplary resources are utilized to develop intellectual rigor, humane values, and creativity. The program recognizes and responds to the diverse gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups.
 
QUESTION:  How do you group and deliver services to your K-8 students?

Grouping categories:
  • Group 1—Gifted: All gifted-identified students, including those who are not fluent in English, not productive in school, and twice-exceptional gifted students.
  • Group 2—High Average: Highly competent and productive students who achieve well in school.
  • Group 3—Average: Students achieving in the average range of grade-level standards.
  • Group 4—Low Average: Average students who are able to achieve at grade level with some support.
  • Group 5—Far Below Average: Students who struggle in several subject areas and score below proficiency levels on academic measures.
The group of gifted students (Group 1) is placed in a classroom with the designated gifted lead teacher for that grade level. High-achieving students (Group 2) are then evenly placed into the classes that do not have the gifted students. Students from Groups 3 and 4 are then placed into each class, and students in Group 5 are placed into all classes except the gifted cluster class. With this placement method, no teacher has the full spectrum of abilities. Narrowing the range of achievement levels in every class allows teachers to focus their efforts more productively (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2008).  

Marcia Gentry Whole School Cluster Model

Programming
K-8 students identified as gifted are grouped into gifted grouped classrooms with teachers who have been designated as such by their school principals. Gifted Lead Teachers are provided with professional development in gifted education, and facilitate with the planning and implementation of differentiated curriculum and instruction through regularly scheduled Gifted Lead Teacher meetings. In this model, gifted students receive differentiated curriculum and instruction on a daily basis.

Program features:
  • Emphasis on 21st Century Skills
  • Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking
  • Curriculum compacting
  • Integrated technology
  • Personalization
  • Differentiation in core content
  • Enrichment

 QUESTION:  How do you group and deliver services to your 9-12 students?
 
High school students who are identified as gifted are supported through the designated gifted counselor at each school site in choosing classes and programs that best fit their needs

Students grouped together as much as possible in Honors, AP, IB, and elective courses 
 
 QUESTION:  Describe how you integrate your program standards with the Arizona State Standards at each grade level. 
 

Gifted curriculum is aligned with state standards at each grade level, assuring that the content of the standards is covered and providing for enriched content to meet the needs of gifted students.
 
DUSD defines gifted education as services and coursework that provide extended learning opportunities focused on the cognitive and affective needs of gifted students. Gifted Education services in DUSD are inclusive of all school populations and student demographics, and consist of integrated, differentiated learning experiences provided during the regular school day. The array of gifted education services in DUSD incorporates and addresses:
  • customized curriculum
  • flexible grouping and pacing
  • creativity and problem solving
  • differentiated instruction
  • continuity and continual progress
  • interaction with other gifted students
  • social and emotional needs of gifted students
 
QUESTION:  How do you involve parents in your program?
   
Parent Collaboration & Community Involvement
  • Parent input to support creation of Notice of Differentiation (NOD) 
  • Parents will be notified and can request a conference when NOD is completed and/or updated throughout the year. 
  • Communication about Dysart’s Gifted Model during curriculum night
  • District website
  • Parent / Teacher meetings during district Parent Teacher Conference times

QUESTION:  How do you differentiate instruction (pace and pedagogy) to K-2 students? 
  • Grouping the students in one class using Dysart’s prescribed model
  • Flexible grouping opportunities within classroom
  • Notice of Differentiation collaboratively created with the student, teacher, and parent/guardian based on qualifications, needs, and  interests 
  • Differentiate and personalize content,  product, and process according to individual student needs and interests in all core content
  • Use formative assessment to identify mastery to advance or enrich (Long Term Projects, Increased Depth and Complexity, Acceleration)
  • Appropriate supports from other school stakeholders [Gifted Technology Instructional  Assistant (GTIA), Admin, other teachers]
  • Access to additional learning opportunities based on qualification and student interest (Second Language Learning, Coding, Project Based Learning, STEM etc.)
  • Social Emotional Focus: Who am I as a learner and collaborator and how do I contribute to my classroom and school community?
 
QUESTION:  How do you differentiate instruction (pace and pedagogy) to 3-6 students?  
  • Grouping the students in one class using Dysart’s prescribed model
  • Flexible grouping opportunities within classroom
  • Notice of Differentiation collaboratively created with the student, teacher, and parent/guardian based on qualifications, needs, and  interests 
  • Differentiate and personalize content,  product, and process according to individual student needs and interests in all core content
  • Use formative assessment to identify mastery to advance or enrich (Long Term Projects, Increased Depth and Complexity, Acceleration)
  • Appropriate supports from other school stakeholders [Gifted Technology Instructional  Assistant (GTIA), Admin, other teachers]
  • Access to additional learning opportunities based on qualification and student interest (Second Language Learning, Coding, Project Based Learning, STEM etc.)
  • Choice in special area elective courses (6th Grade)
  • Social Emotional Focus: How can I use my strengths and interests to impact my school and local community?
 
QUESTION:  How do you differentiate instruction (pace and pedagogy) to 7-8 students? 
  • Grouping the students in one class using Dysart’s prescribed model
  • Flexible grouping opportunities within classroom
  • Notice of Differentiation collaboratively created with the student, teacher, and parent/guardian based on qualifications, needs, and  interests 
  • Differentiate and personalize content,  product, and process according to individual student needs and interests in all core content
  • Use formative assessment to identify mastery to advance or enrich (Long Term Projects, Increased Depth and Complexity, Acceleration)
  • Appropriate supports from other school stakeholders [Gifted Technology Instructional  Assistant (GTIA), Admin, other teachers]
  • Access to additional learning opportunities based on qualification and student interest (Second Language Learning, Coding, Project Based Learning, STEM etc.)
  • Choice in special area elective courses
  • Student Gifted Conference to showcase products and explore opportunities based on student interest
  • Students who have mastered 8th grade content have opportunities to take HS courses through iSchool
  • Social Emotional Focus: How do I advocate for and showcase my learning to a global community?

QUESTION:  How do you differentiate instruction (pace and pedagogy) to 9-12 students? 
  • Designated Gifted Counselor at each school site
  • Grouped in core classes at the appropriate level and qualification as much as possible (if a student took Alg 1-2 in 8th grade they would be grouped in Geometry with other gifted students)
  • Differentiate and personalize content,  product, and process according to individual student needs and interests in all core content
  • Use formative assessment to identify mastery to advance or enrich (Long Term Projects, Increased Depth and Complexity, Acceleration)
  • Opportunities to choose in person and/or iSchool electives 
  • Accelerated pathways through iSchool

 QUESTION:  What curricular materials do you use for grades K-12?
 
Curriculum & Instruction
  • District adopted core curriculum
    • Computer Programs and Applications
    • Collaborative learning tools
      • Schoology
      • Google Suite
  • Honors courses
  • Advanced High School Coursework
    • International Baccalaureate programming
    • Cambridge courses
    • AP courses
    • Career and Technical Education courses
      • Career and Technical student organizations
    • Dual Enrollment courses
 
QUESTION:  Describe how your referral process for identification involves parents and staff.

 Students may be nominated for testing through the following methods. These students will be tested in verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal areas using a state-approved test:
  • Referral: Students may be referred for gifted testing by the teacher, principal, or the parent of a K-8 student, at any time by completing a referral form.  Students may also nominate themselves.  
  • Grade Level PLC: Teaching and Learning Specialists will support grade level PLCs in engaging in discussions to determine students who may exhibit possible gifted characteristics. These students will then be referred by the PLC for testing.
  • Universal Screener: 4th grade students who scored in the top 15% (as compared to students at their school site) on the 3rd grade AzMERIT (ELA and/or Math) will be referred for testing in the Fall. 

Referral form is available at each school site and online.

Parents of students transferring into the District are provided a form that allows them to indicate whether their student had previous gifted services.  Those forms are forwarded to Education Services. Documents are reviewed upon receipt. Parents are notified in writing of the students eligibility and given referral for testing information if appropriate.
 QUESTION:  Describe your process for the identification of K-12 students, including how your process addresses the variety of student environmental backgrounds.

 Referrals for testing are accepted from parents, teachers, administrators and the students.  All referred students are tested. Testing is conducted three times each year. Testing dates are set in advance and published on the district web site and other district publications.  All testing takes place during the school day by the Gifted Technology Instructional Assistants who have been trained in standardized testing procedures. Parents are notified as soon as possible, once the testing window has closed, of the results of the testing

Students receiving gifted services must meet one the following qualifications:

Path A
Students who score at the 97th percentile or above in Verbal or Quantitative or Non-Verbal subtests of a state approved test of cognitive ability will qualify as gifted and be offered Notice of Differentiation (NOD) services following the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model (Winebrenner and Brulles, 2008). A consent for placement form is sent to parents and signature required for all eligible students.

Areas of identification include:
  • Quantitative - Student tends to think logically in terms of numbers and pieces of mathematical information.
  • Verbal - Student has the ability to effectively use words and language.
  • Non Verbal - Student tends to be highly skilled  in regard to spatial awareness and abstract thinking through the use of mental images.

Path B
Students who score between 85%-96% on the nonverbal portion of the CogAT will then take the Naglieri (NNAT) to determine eligibility in the qualification area of Non Verbal.

Students who score at the 97th percentile or above on this test will qualify as gifted and be offered Notice of Differentiation (NOD) services following the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model (Winebrenner and Brulles, 2008). A consent for placement form is sent to parents and signature required for all eligible students.

Path C
Use of a matrix that assigns points value to scores on cognitive measure and scores on standardized achievement tests when student score between 94%-96% on the cognitive measure. The matrix also allows for discretionary points to be added when student is a member of an at-risk group. These students will qualify as gifted and be offered Notice of Differentiation (NOD) services following the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model (Winebrenner and Brulles, 2008). A consent for placement form is sent to parents and signature required for all eligible students.

New Students:
Parents must provide documentation of test scores on an Arizona approved test. A list of these tests is provided on the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) website. If parents are able to provide appropriate gifted designation from their previous district/school that they were identified as a gifted student will accept that identification as a gifted student in DUSD. Test scores will be evaluated by the Gifted Education designee to determine whether the student is eligible to  receive gifted services under the Dysart Gifted criteria defined by DUSD Governing Board Policy.
 QUESTION:  Please list all the testing instruments and data points you use for gifted student identification and explain why you use those instruments
 
DUSD gifted assessments ensure fairness to the Districts ethnically diverse population. The assessment battery includes tools that are language-free and culturally unbiased to provide equal opportunities for identification of the Districts English language learners and culturally diverse students:
  • The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAt), Form 7
  • The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT-3)

QUESTION:  How do you inform parents and staff of your referral and identification process?
  • District Website
  • Parent meetings
  • Governing Board presentations
  • School Communication
 
 QUESTION:  Once eligibility is determined, how do you inform parents of the decision and then handle an appeal of that decision?
  • Parents are notified of test results and eligibility through a formal letter
  • A consent for placement form is included and signature required for all eligible students
  • Parent appeals are handled on an individual basis beginning with the Director of Education Services.
  • Consultation with principal, classroom teacher, and parent

QUESTION:  How do you provide for the unique affective needs of your gifted students K-6?
  • Grouping
  • Training for Gifted Lead teachers and other support staff specifically addressing the social emotional needs of gifted learners

QUESTION:  How do you provide for the unique affective needs of your gifted students 7-8?
  • Grouping
  • Training for Gifted Lead teachers and other support staff specifically addressing the social emotional needs of gifted learners  

QUESTION:  How do you provide for the unique affective needs of your gifted students 9-12?
  • Training for High School Counselors and Teaching and Learning Specialists specifically addressing the social emotional needs and academic needs of gifted learners.
  • Teaching and Learning Specialists will support honors and AP teachers in effectively differentiating instruction for the individual needs of gifted learners.

QUESTION:  What specific orientation activities do you provide for parents and teachers regarding students affective needs?
  • Training for Gifted Lead teachers and other support staff specifically addressing the social emotional needs of gifted learners
  • Notice of Differentiation includes social emotional aspects
  • Grouping

 QUESTION:  How do you monitor, identify and provide assistance to at-risk gifted students?
  • Referral process established for all students for counseling and/or social worker services
  • Implement 504 referral/assessment/accommodation plans as needed
  • Counseling provided on an as-needed basis (individual, small group: focusing on social skills, conflict  resolution, family issues)
  • Partnerships with community organizations for intervention:
  • Southwest Behavioral Health Services for classroom prevention lessons and small groups at elementary and high school; Teen OutReach Pregnancy, City of Surprise Victim Advocacy, Maricopa County Mobile Crisis Team, referral sources for local mental health agencies and social services provided to parents, referrals to Child Help,  Department of Child Safety
  • Credit recovery  program at the high school level
  • Dual enrollment offered to high school students through local community colleges
  • Competency testing offered at the high school level
  • Academic contracts
  • Behavior contracts
  • Functional Assessments
  • Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Interpretation of cognitive, aptitude, and achievement tests
  • Threat Assessments
  • Chronic Illness plans
  • Homebound services
  • Universal Prevention: K-8 classroom prevention lessons facilitated by counselors; Career exploration at 7th and 8th grade using AzCIS; Educational Career Action Plan (e-CAP) at the high school; Graduation checks; honors testing; college applications and letters of recommendation

 QUESTION:  How do you regularly provide opportunities for regular classroom teachers and gifted teachers to receive specialized training about working with gifted students?
Staff from Education Services provide professional development to Gifted Lead Teachers and Gifted Technology Instructional Assistants (GTIAs).

Fund attendance at state AAGT conference and national NAGC conference for specialists.

Professional development for Gifted Lead teachers:
  • District-wide professional development for Gifted Lead Teachers will occur twice a year.
  • Monthly Gifted PLC / professional development at the school site for Gifted Lead teachers and GTIAs.
  • Increase understanding of how to differentiate for gifted learners
  • Share and support with resources for differentiation for gifted learners
  • Support with gifted referral and testing guidelines and procedures
  • Online collaborative support
  • Support of the gifted students social and emotional needs

Professional development for Gifted Technology Instructional Assistants:
  • Face to face professional development presented three times a year
  • Develop expertise with technology troubleshooting
  • Develop expertise with technology differentiation resources
  • Online collaborative support
  • Training in standardized test administration in preparation for proctoring gifted testing three times a year.

 QUESTION:  Have your training events targeted the needs of administrators, counselors, psychologist and support staff?
 
Administrators attend a portion of the professional development sessions with Gifted Lead teachers. They also receive important briefings on gifted education at district administrative meetings. Administrators also oversee the monthly Gifted Lead teacher PLC meetings.

High School Counselors will participate in ongoing professional development throughout the year.

GTIAs receive ongoing training and support throughout the year.  
QUESTION:  How do you make your program philosophy, goals and recruitment procedures available to all parents?
  • Web site (www.dysart.org)
  • Parent meetings
  • Governing board presentations
  • Parent/teacher conferences
  • Parental participation in the development of the NOD  

QUESTION:  How do you provide access to your scope and sequence for all parents?
 
Through the district website (www.dysart.org)
 QUESTION:  Describe how you incorporate parents into a support or advisory group.
  • Periodic meetings with gifted parents
  • Notification of parental input sent through the website
  • Teacher receiving feedback from gifted parents on their campus
 
 QUESTION:  How do you involve parents and the gifted community in the evaluation of your program?
  • Governing Board presentations
  • Site Councils
  • Formal Parent Surveys
  • Parent Surveys have been developed as part of a program evaluation process 
  • Teacher Surveys have been developed as part of a program evaluation process  

 QUESTION:  What data sources to you use to assess your programs effectiveness?
  • Disaggregate assessment data for individual gifted students and as a group
  • Compare outcomes of gifted students
  • Enrollment in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs
  • Scores on college entrance examinations such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or  American College Testing Program (ACT)
  • Participation in academic competitions
  • Scholarship awards
  • Program evaluation is facilitated by the DUSD research department and includes professional development, curriculum, and staffing needs 

QUESTION:  How do you use informal measure like surveys, open forums and teacher interviews to gather data?
 
Program Assessment is an ongoing process.  Surveys of teachers and administrators provide input into the strengths of the program, needed improvement areas, and areas of support they may require.
  
Parents and teachers are partners in the development of the NOD.
QUESTION:  What are your key indicators that your program is positively affecting students?
  •  Informal parental input
  • Anecdotal input from Gifted Lead teachers, GTIAs, Administrators, and students
  • Retention of gifted students
  • Enrollment in AP and IB classes
  • Scholarships
  • Yearly focus groups

QUESTION:  Describe performance standards you have for all gifted students.
  •  Gifted students will exceed the standard in their area of qualification.
  • Gifted students will demonstrate leadership qualities within their school communities demonstrated through involvement in student government, clubs, mentoring, and social service organizations.
  • Gifted students will participate in various academic competitions and showcases throughout the district, community and state.
  • Gifted students will receive numerous academic awards and scholarships.

 QUESTION:  Describe the structure of your gifted education staffing including the ratio of teaching staff to the number of identified gifted students.
 
  • Gifted Lead teachers provide differentiated instruction for all gifted students.
  • Gifted Technology Instructional Assistants support with technology integration in differentiation for gifted learners.
  • School Site Administration support in ensuring gifted learner needs are met on their campus.
  • Teaching and Learning Specialists and Content Specialists provide professional development to the Gifted Lead Teachers, GTIAs, and High School Counselors.
  
 
QUESTION:  To what extent does the district support the funding of our gifted program:  Please be specific as to staff and financial resources?
  • Fully funds 10 GTIAS
  • The district provides the funding for professional development for the following:
    • Gifted Instructional Technology Assistants (10 FTE)
    • Gifted Lead classroom teachers
    • Teaching and Learning Specialists
    • Content Specialists
    • High school counselors assigned to gifted
  • Funding for state and local conferences
  • Funds for Gifted Student Conference
  • District fully funds technology application
  • District fully funds gifted testing materials