Gifted and Talented Services
The Wauwatosa School District believes that all students are unique, have the ability to learn and achieve, and need opportunities for optimal development. We believe that intelligence is dynamic and fluid and that educational systems should be responsive to students’ needs.
Students with gifts and talents are capable of high performance and require differentiated and challenging educational services beyond those provided in the general school program. Gifted services span all grade levels and areas of gifted and talented identification and provide a variety of opportunities to students with a wide array of gifts, talents, and sustained interests.
Wisconsin State Statutes define gifted and talented students as, “Pupils enrolled in public schools who give evidence of high-performance capability in intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or specific academic areas and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided in a regular school program in order to fully develop such capabilities.” (from s.118.35(1), Wis. Stats.)
Gifted and Talented Services
The purpose of providing gifted and talented services is to make those persons responsible for a student’s education aware of the student’s capabilities so that the best match can be made of capabilities to programming. Identification of gifted services is an ongoing and continuous process to develop awareness of student capabilities and needs. All students are considered for gifted education services in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Initial referrals for gifted and talented services usually come from the classroom teacher who has in-depth knowledge and understanding of a student’s abilities. Principals, other educational staff, or parents may refer students for identification using the Parent or Teacher Nomination Forms.
When considering students for gifted education services, teams gather data from multiple sources and use the information, in conjunction with district criteria, to determine eligibility for gifted services. When gathering information to inform decisions about students’ need for challenge beyond the regular curriculum, a number of tools are used such as standardized tests, portfolios, selected grade-level classroom assessments, or rating scales.
Elementary and middle school parents are notified by mail of new services provided to their child. At the secondary level, students and parents work with their child’s school counselor to ensure a sequence of advanced courses that are most aligned to the student’s interests and academic goals.
The appropriateness of a student’s services is periodically reviewed. This review may result in the continuation of the same services or a change in services. At times, it may be determined that students’ needs can be met through the regular school program and course offerings.
Service options are matched to the strengths and needs of the students receiving gifted and talented services. All students receive high quality, differentiated, culturally responsive core curriculum and instruction. In addition to differentiation, some students may require additional services and opportunities in order to make continuous progress such as enrichment activities, participation in academic competitions, acceleration, etc.
Areas of Gifted Services
The five areas of gifted services are:
- General Intellectual Ability (high level of overall ability)
- Specific Academic Ability (excels in reading or mathematics)
- Creativity (has original, varied, or unusual ideas and solutions)
- Leadership (demonstrates an unusual ability to relate to and motivate other people or to take charge)
- Artistic (Visual/Music) (intuitive sense of artistic or musical concepts)