A: Gifted Education is a service provided by the school district for qualified students. As defined by the State of Pennsylvania:
Q: What students qualify for services?
A: Students must be evaluated and identified by the school district. The criteria is set forth by the school district under the guidelines of Pennsylvania Law. This is generally accepted as an IQ score of 130 or higher, but IQ is not the only criteria. Students with lower than 130 IQ may be accepted as defined by Pennsylvania Law, through a list of multiple alternative criteria.
Q: When should my child be evaluated?
A: Gifted Students are defined as any child of “school age”. (PA Code, 22 § 16.1) This means K-12. The sooner your child is tested, the sooner your child can be qualified for services. As a parent, it will be up to you and your child to determine when is the best time to be evaluated. The evaluation, including the IQ test and scores, are adjusted for age. Being comfortable is the most important factor for both the parent and the child.
Q: How do I get my child evaluated?
A: Send a written request to your building principal. See sample letter on the NPAGE website under “Is my child gifted?” (PA Code, 22 § 16.22(c)) You should then receive a Permission to Evaluate form from the district within 10 days.
Q: What is the evaluation process like?
A: The evaluation process has changed over the years, but will typically include intelligence testing (IQ test) and achievement testing. The testing is usually done over multiple days and is primarily handled by a licensed school psychologist. In addition, a reading specialist may conduct a reading assessment.
Along with testing, parents and teachers are often asked to complete
surveys to identify gifted characteristics which may be seen in the child. You must sign a Permission to Evaluate form prior to testing. You will likely not be notified in advance when your child will be tested, but it must occur within 60 days of the district receiving the signed Permission to Evaluate (not counting summer).
Q: What is a GIEP?
A: A GIEP is a Gifted Individualized Education Program. This is a plan unique to the student and will be developed after the student qualifies for gifted services. It should include a description of the child and his/her abilities, the child’s needs, and goals for fulfilling that child’s needs with measurements. The GIEP is updated once annually, or more frequently by request.
Q: What is “Resource”?
A: Resource is the name of the gifted delivery program at the Elementary Level, specific to North Penn School District. The “Resource” teacher is the teacher assigned to provide the gifted education services to the identified students. Multiple elementary schools often share one “Resource” teacher, who must travel between schools. The Resource teacher works with the classroom teachers and also offers pulls-out generally divided by grade.
Q: Does my child have to make up the missed class work during pull-out Resource?
A: Depends. This should be coordinated with the Gifted Resource Teacher and the classroom teacher, and the agreement may be written into the GIEP. An example of a statement that can be included in a GIEP is “Missed work does not need to be made up unless it is essential to Sally’s mastery of content.” Knowing what is going to be missed and providing for a way to either make up or catch up to the work is an important part of a successful experience with pull-out Resource.
“The scheduling of options should enhance, not penalize, the gifted student's participation. When scheduling gifted program options requires students to miss regular education classes, the GIEP should clarify the student’s responsibility for completing make-up work from missed regular education classes. Make-up work may be necessary under certain circumstances, but requiring make-up work to be completed that inappropriately penalizes the student and detracts from a successful gifted education is an unintended consequence and should be avoided. The GIEP is the best instrument to avoid any confusion and misunderstanding and ensure student success.” (p27 Gifted Guidelines)