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Parent Webinar Transcript

Slide 1

Welcome to A Parent's Guide to the Gifted Identification Process. The purpose of this webinar is to walk you through Prince William County School's gifted identification process. After viewing this presentation, if you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact your school's gifted resource teacher.

Slide 2

Let's begin with some background information. Definitions of giftedness vary from state to state and even from district to district within the same state. In Prince William County Schools, we use a definition of giftedness based on Virginia Regulations: Students who demonstrate high levels of accomplishment or show exceptional academic potential beyond their age peers of similar experience or environment in one or more specific academic areas:

  • Language (Grades Kindergarten through 12)
  • Mathematics (Grades Kindergarten through 12)
  • History and Social Science (Grades 6 through 12)
  • Science (Grades 6 through 12)

Exceptional academic strength may indicate a need for enriched or accelerated curriculum and support.

Slide 3

The goal of gifted education in PWCS is to develop advanced skills in…critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and conceptual thinking in order to encourage and enable students to become self-directed learners. Gifted resource teachers use advanced curriculum connected to standards as vehicles to teach skills.

Slide 4

What is the Gifted Education Program?

We use pull-out resource services for students whose learning needs cannot be entirely met in the general education classroom. Minutes and frequency vary depending on the grade level of the student.

It is part of an appropriate education for identified students.

Our program is subject to the Regulations Governing Educational Services for Gifted Students in Virginia.

The program is referred to as START (Kindergarten through Grade 3) and SIGNET (Grades 4 through 12).

Slide 5

The identification process is ongoing throughout the year. Students may be referred at any point in the school year.

There are multiple referral sources, such as: professional, parent, self, and Gifted Resource Teachers based on universal screeners and other data collection.

In PWCS, we use a multi-criteria approach to our identification process. We consider the student's aptitude testing (such as the K-BIT, CogAT, and/or Naglieri). We look at the student's academic record to include: grades, levels, and SOL data. Parents and professionals submit reports. Student work or portfolio, student response, self-initiated projects, and norm-referenced achievement test data are collected.

There is no one criteria, like a test score for example, which can automatically identify a student and no one piece of evidence can prohibit a child from being identified for the gifted education program.

Slide 6

Now we will outline the Gifted Identification Process. In the coming slides, we will break down each step of the process.

First a referral is made by either a parent, professional, self, or gifted resource teacher based on universal screeners or other data collection. A universal screener is an assessment that is given to all students in a particular grade level. Students are added to a screening pool for possible gifted identification based on the results of the assessment. In the 2019-20 School year, universal screeners are being administered in grades 2, 3, 6, and 9.

Then permission to evaluate must be obtained. No evidence will be collected until parent/guardian permission is received.

Once permission is received, the collection of evidence begins. This collection includes:

  • Aptitude test results
  • Academic record
  • Parent and professional reports
  • Student work products, student responses, self-initiated projects, and norm-referenced achievement data.

After the collection of evidence is complete, a local profile development committee will meet at your child's school. This committee includes an administrator, school counselor, at least 1 classroom teacher, and the gifted resource teacher. This committee can include specialists as needed, such as ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) or Special Education. The committee meets to review and evaluate evidence. There is no eligibility decision made at the Profile Development Committee meeting.

The final step is the Identification and Placement Committee, which meets at the division level. At this point administrators, school counselors, classroom teachers, and gifted resource teachers from other similar schools will review your child's collection of evidence. This committee can include specialists as needed. They meet to review evidence and make decisions about gifted eligibility and placement for services. After these meetings, written notification of decision will be mailed home by your child's gifted resource teacher.

Please note that any part of the file can be reviewed by the parent at the completion of the identification process. The time frame from parent/guardian permission to eligibility decision is up to 90 instructional days.

This process is ongoing throughout the school year.

Slide 7

Now we will break down the individual components of the gifted identification process.

Before a case is begun, a referral form is filled out. This form is completed by the person initiating the gifted identification process. This can be a professional, parent/guardian, the student themselves, or the Gifted Resource Teacher. It is also available on the Gifted Education webpage on the PWCS website.

Slide 8

Once a case is initiated the parent will receive a permission for evaluation form. This will be sent home by the Gifted Resource Teacher once a referral is received. This form must be completed and signed by a parent/guardian before any testing or evaluation can begin. It is a green form.

Slide 9

We will now explore the parent report. A paper copy will come home with the permission for evaluation form. This report matches the "Look Fors at Home" which we will look at next. This gives the parent/guardian an opportunity to highlight the child's strengths in a non- academic way. There is also an electronic copy available on the Gifted Education webpage on the PWCS website. This form is translated into Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Slide 10

On this slide you will see some of the "Look Fors at Home." Think about your child as you hear each one:

  • Curious, questioning attitude, keen observer
  • Vivid imagination
  • Learns quickly
  • Sophisticated sense of humor
  • Exceptional memory
  • Sensitive to human issues, fairness, justice
  • Strong communication skills
  • Motivated to learn or develop a skill
  • Els (English Learners)-quick to learn a second language
  • Intense interests
  • Enjoys problem solving with numbers and puzzles

Slide 11

Now we will look more closely at some of the prompts given in the parent report. The directions are to print clearly or type your responses. In Part One of the parent report (in other words, the front page), you are to check the box that you feel applies to your child for each prompt. The choices are: not observed, sometimes, frequently, or always. You are then able to add any narrative to support your marking. If you feel a trait is not observed, no narrative is necessary.

The first prompt we will look at is: My child is curious; has a questioning attitude; is a keen observer. Think about what makes your child stand out. Think about examples, characteristics that might not always be seen in the classroom setting. Check the box that applies and try to come up with examples. Be specific if possible.

So as an example, I might mark that my child frequently displays these characteristics. I might give the following as my narrative for a first grade boy: Inquires about construction sites and the process of building a new structure; connects real construction sites and vehicles to ones he sees in books and shows at home; notices small differences between houses.

Slide 12

Another prompt on the parent report is that: My child has a vivid imagination. Again, I would check the box that applies: not observed, sometimes, frequently, or always. Try to think about specific examples; imagination can encompass verbal, written, visual, auditory, technology, etc. Let's look at two options for this one. For a fourth grade girl, I might mark always and give the following narrative: She writes elaborate plays and stories in her journal; creates elaborate illustrations in her notebooks; uses coding to create "worlds" of her own; pieces together various songs and melodies into new songs. As a second example, if I feel that my seventh grade child does not exhibit the characteristics of this prompt, I can mark Not Observed and no other narrative is necessary. This does not reflect poorly on your child, as not every characteristic of gifted is seen in all children.

Slide 13

Another prompt on the parent report states: My child has a subtle or sophisticated sense of humor. Again, I would check the box that applies: not observed, sometimes, frequently, or always. You can site broad observations or specific examples of a joke or time when your child used humor beyond his/her age group.

For a sixth grade girl, I might mark always and give the following narrative: understands sarcasm when others use it; can banter back and forth with children and adults older than her; tells jokes kids her age can't understand; can find irony in situations

Or for a 10th grade boy, I might mark frequently and say: He often writes parodies of songs to fit a political or world news situation; picks up on irony in everyday situations and connects it to other ironic situations; quick wit

Slide 14

This prompt on the parent report states: My child is sensitive to human issues; is concerned with fairness and justice. Again I would check the box that applies: not observed, sometimes, frequently, or always. Try to site specific situations or issues or examples; can be global issues or issues within a home or friend situation. For a Kindergarten boy, I might check always and write: He wanted to send money or extra food to help people impacted by the recent hurricane; becomes sad when he sees commercials about dogs who need sponsors; when playing in the neighborhood, he is concerned with everyone receiving far treatment or fair snacks.

Slide 15

On the back of the parent report are other general questions for you to consider about your child.

  1. How does your child spend time outside of school? What are his/her interests? Consider things like extracurricular activities, hobbies, what your child would choose to do when the choice is all his/hers, family hobbies, collections, or games
  2. Describe what you consider to be your child's greatest strength in learning and his/her greatest challenge in learning. Try to highlight both here. Strengths/weaknesses can be a subject area or a behavior related to learning. Try to be specific where you can be.
  3. List examples of books (fiction and non-fiction) your child has read independently that were not required assignments. Try to list particular titles of books. Try to make connections as to why books were chosen (for example from something they learned in school, a movie or TV show, or a life experience). Is your child an avid reader or a reluctant reader?
  4. How has your child used mathematical concepts and ideas outside of school? Think about more than addition and subtraction here. Think about games you and your child play, cooking, family situations, play time, and so on. Consider patterns, measurement, and fractions.
  5. Describe any special circumstances affecting your child that you would like the committee to consider (i.e. medical or health-related issues, frequent moves, language barriers, special needs). Consider anything about your child's life up to this point that could have shaped him or her in regard to this process.

Slide 16

We will look briefly at the professional report. We have included screenshots of the cover sheets for both the elementary and secondary professional reports. These are filled out by the classroom teachers. Current grades and levels are recorded. Student will be rated on a variety of descriptors. The descriptors in the professional report are focused on gifted characteristics both generally and in subject-specific areas. Students can be rated as consistent, exceeds, or far exceeds in relation to age level peers. Teachers may add narrative to any ratings provided. We also have an ESOL Professional report that is filled out for any student who is part of the ESOL program. Any professional, like a special education or speech teacher, who works closely with the child may also fill out a professional report.

Slide 17

After the collection of evidence is complete, your child's folder is reviewed by the Profile Development Committee and the Identification and Placement Committee.

The Profile Development Committee (or PDC) takes place at your child's school. This committee consists of the gifted resource teacher, classroom teacher, administrator, and School Counselor (with other specialists as needed). During this time, each folder is examined and discussed based on comparison with students of similar age, experience, and environment. Each piece of evidence is reviewed and professionals who know your child will get to speak about your child.

Each folder then moves from the PDC to the Identification and Placement Committee (or IDP). This is a division level committee meeting. Each reviewing group consists of administrators, gifted resource teachers, school counselors, and classroom teachers. ESOL and other specialists are included as needed. Each child's folder is examined by a variety of professionals from various schools. All criteria are considered equally. Parents are notified in writing of decision made after this meeting.

Slide 18

There is a range of possible outcomes to the gifted identification process. In all cases, parents will be notified in writing of a decision. Parents may contact the Gifted Resource Teacher to review student file. Parents can request an appeal (within 90 instructional days) of the identification and placement committee's decision.

Let's review the Options. Each will be explained further in coming slides.

  1. Your child could be found eligible for gifted education services in one or more specific academic aptitudes. It would be determined in what area(s) your child requires gifted services. This could be Language (K-12), Math (K-12), Social Studies or Science (Grades 6-12) or a combination of subject areas. Based on this determination, your child's placement would make them eligible for direct services. He or she would be offered educational options to support strengths.

  2. For students in Grades Kindergarten through second grade, it could be determined that your child is not currently eligible for gifted education services. However, he or she is recommended for our Early Talent Development Program. Within this program, a portfolio would be established and developed collaboratively between the Gifted Resource Teacher and your child's classroom teacher. The Gifted Resource Teacher maintains this portfolio.

    Your child will be returned to the PDC and IDP committees before the end of 3rd grade for re- evaluation.

  3. It could be determined that your child's folder requires further monitoring. No decision is made as more evidence is requested. The folder will be brought back to the committee for review once additional evidence is collected.

  4. Your child could be found not eligible for gifted services at this time. This means that evidence did not support placement for direct services currently.

Slide 19

A bit more detail on if your child is found eligible for direct services. In grades Kindergarten through Grade12, a student can be found eligible in the area of Language Arts (LA), Mathematics, or both LA and Math.

Beginning in sixth grade, students can also be found eligible in Social Studies and/or Science.

Parents/guardians will receive a yellow permission for services form from the Gifted Resource Teacher included with the notification letter.

The Gifted Resource Teacher will communicate information regarding the specifics of the program upon eligibility.

Slide 20

Let's discuss the decision that your child is recommended for our Early Talent Development (or ETD) Program. This is for students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. The classroom and Gifted Resource teachers will collaborate to provide enrichment and extension activities to foster talents and strengths found in your child.

The Gifted Resource Teacher will check in on your child at least twice per quarter.

A portfolio of quarterly evidence will be maintained by the Gifted Resource Teacher. Your child will be re-evaluated for the Gifted Program in third grade, if not sooner based on evidence collected.

Slide 21

Your child could be monitored. This is for any case where the committee felt they did not have enough information or wanted another piece of evidence in a certain category before making a decision. This could be additional writing samples, further testing, SOL scores, grades, additional professional input, etc. If further test data is requested, a new parent permission form will be sent home.

Slide 22

It could be determined that your child is not found eligible for direct gifted services. This means that the evidence did not support eligibility at this time. You may contact your Gifted Resource Teacher to review your child's collection of evidence. You have the option to request an appeal within 90 school days in order to share any additional evidence you feel may have been overlooked in the identification process.

Slide 23

This concludes our presentation of the gifted identification process and possible outcomes. If you have further questions, please contact your school's Gifted Resource Teacher. There is also more information available on the PWCS website under Academic and Programs, then Gifted Education Program.

Thank you for your time.