Gifted and Talented Student Services (19 TAC 89.3)
Students are provided an array of learning opportunities for gifted and talented students in kindergarten through grade 12 and shall inform parents of the opportunities. Options include:
- instructional and organizational patterns that enable identified students to work together as a group, to work with other students, and to work independently;
- a continuum of learning experiences that leads to the development of advanced-level products and performances;
- in-school and, when possible, out-of-school options relevant to the student’s area(s) of strength that are available during the entire school year; and
- opportunities to accelerate in areas of strength.
PFISD Gifted Program Design:
PFISD offers a flexible system of viable program options throughout the district that provide a learning continuum and reinforce the strengths, needs, and interests of gifted and talented students. The district provides an array of learning opportunities that are commensurate with the abilities of gifted/talented students, and that emphasize content in the four (4) core academic areas (English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) in elementary and in Advanced Academic courses in secondary. Teachers responsible for delivery of services will have thirty (30) hour foundation training as well as six (6) hour annual updates.
- GT services will be available during the school day throughout the entire school year.
- Parents will be informed of the educational options available to identified students.
- Program options will enable students to work together as a group; work with other students; and work independently as a direct result of GT program services:
- Elementary: GT cluster grouping - minimum of three (3) GT students in a cluster, or up to 10 in a cluster if campus and grade level numbers allow (The Cluster Grouping Handbook, Winebrenner); grades 4 and 5 may have GT only classes if the campus identifies this as a scheduling need.
- Secondary: Enroll and successfully complete at least one core content Advanced Academic course each school year.
- In-class flexible grouping patterns and pacing will be employed to meet the needs of gifted and talented students.
- Identified students will be provided with out-of-school educational opportunities with differentiated learning experiences that provide students enrichment and choice. Some of these opportunities may include participation in Math Pentathlon, Destination Imagination, and/or UIL or other campus-selected activities.
- Local Board policies are developed that are consistent with State Board of Education rules on credit by examination and early high school graduation opportunities.
PFISD will encourage input and recommendations from parents, teachers, and administrators of the gifted. A district gifted advisory group made up of parents, teacher, and administrator volunteers will meet a minimum of two times per year to review and provide feedback on services as needed.
I. Elementary GT Program Design:
Kindergarten: Kindergarten students enter the GT program by March 1 after the screening and nomination window concludes. Kinder students receive services in a heterogeneous classroom by GT trained teachers differentiating instruction. (All kindergarten teachers will have GT 30 hour training. All kindergarten students will be considered for gifted and talented services using teacher feedback. Full implementation target for these items is the school year 2021-2022.)
Grades 1-5: GT students are cluster grouped within a mixed student population during the major portion of the school day within heterogeneous classrooms and receive differentiated instruction as well as weekly pull-out PFLEX classes delivered by GT specialists. GT identified students have access to extensions aligned to the PFISD curriculum that include the Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) units. Students are challenged to meet their academic potential in their area(s) of giftedness during class time when they have mastered content and during station or grouping time and/or during intervention times scheduled by campuses. Grades 1 and 2 pull-out groups meet a minimum of 60 minutes per week for 12 weeks per semester. Grades 3 - 5 pull-out groups meet a minimum of 90 minutes per week for 12 weeks per semester. At the end of each year, GT learners will select their best product or performance from the cluster class or PFLEX class to share at the GT Program Fair hosted at their campus.
To provide feedback on student response to services, students in grades 1-3 receive a GT Growth Report completed by the GT cluster teacher once each semester. During third grade, currently identified GT student data is reviewed by the campus to provide data for the GT Personal Enrichment and Academic Plan (PEAP). This plan is updated annually at the end of fourth and fifth grades by the GT cluster teacher with support from the campus GT Lead to inform instruction and set goals for learning.
II. Secondary GT Program Design:
Grades 6-8: GT students are required to enroll in one core content Advanced Academic class each year. Advanced Academic core content (English, social studies, math, and science) teachers are trained in instructional strategies to address GT learner needs. Students should be cluster grouped to the extent allowed by campus master schedule. GT students in grades 6-8 may also elect to take the PFLEX enrichment elective class. GT students are required to participate in at least one academic competition, academic extracurricular activity, or academic elective that allows students to deepen knowledge about a topic/subject, and challenge thinking through research or investigation leading.
Grades 9-12: GT students are required to enroll in one core content Advanced Academic class each year. Advanced Academic core content (English, social studies, math, and science) teachers are trained in instructional strategies to address GT learner needs. GT learners are encouraged to earn graduation distinctions demonstrating outstanding performance such as: Distinguished Level of Achievement, Performance Acknowledgements, National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar Awards, and/or AP Capstone Diploma. GT students are required to participate in at least one academic competition, academic extracurricular activity, or academic elective that allows students to deepen knowledge about a topic/subject, and challenge thinking through research or investigation leading to an advanced level product or performance.
III. Enrichment Options for Gifted Learners in PFISD:
PFLEX: Students in the Gifted and Talented program are able to participate in the PFLEX enrichment course. This enrichment service is designed to support the unique needs of gifted and talented students while also providing opportunity for learners to work with other GT identified students outside of their GT cluster classroom. In elementary this is a pull-out service led by the campus GT Lead. In middle school this is an elective course option or advisory for GT identified students led by the PFLEX teacher.
Destination Imagination: Destination Imagination is open to all students in grades K-12. The team of four to seven members forms at the beginning of the school year and is supervised by a Team Manager, a district approved volunteer. Together the team members work for several months to develop their unique solution to a central challenge, building life-long skills and enduring friendships along the way. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together, and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving.
Math Pentathlon: Mathematics Pentathlon is a program of interactive problem-solving games. It includes supportive curricular and instructional activities as well as assessment tools for students in grades K-7. This motivational program strengthens basic math concepts and skills, aligns with STEM and National and State Mathematics Standards, and stimulates creative thinking while developing problem-solving skills. A focus on conceptual understanding and the integration of spatial, computational and logical reasoning are key attributes of Mathematics Pentathlon. By using specially designed games and activities that differentiate instruction, ALL students of varying abilities and learning styles are motivated to enjoy math and spend more time learning this subject matter. These factors are critical in improving students' performance in math and this is one tool that can be used to foster this improvement.
UIL: The University Interscholastic League offers the most comprehensive program of academic competition in the nation. UIL Academics offers more activities than any other UIL division, with 29 contests at the high school level and 20 A+ Academic contests for grades 2-8. More than half a million students participate in UIL academic contests each year. These activities, which exist to complement the academic curriculum, are designed to motivate students as they acquire higher levels of knowledge, to challenge students to confront issues of importance, and to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of specific skills. Students are challenged to think critically and creatively, exhibiting much more than knowledge and comprehension.
IV. Acceleration Options in PFISD:
Credit by Exam (CBE): Credit by Exam for Acceleration is available to all PfISD learners for grade acceleration in K-8 and single subject for high school courses. CBE options require prior approval from the campus principal and discussion with the campus counselor. Check with the school counselor for testing windows, applications, and more information.
ASCEND: Accelerating Student Curriculum to Engage and Nurture Development is a full-time GT service at Windermere Elementary and Pflugerville Middle Schools for currently identified PFISD GT students who are identified for ASCEND services during a third-grade screening process in PFISD. The class is limited to 22 students maximum per grade level in grades 4-5. Students in grades 6-8 have some classes mixed with other GT learners and with other students at Pflugerville Middle. Class sizes in middle school may vary based on schedule availability. Students in ASCEND grades 4-8 are offered accelerated math instruction as well as added depth, complexity, and extensions in science, English and social studies PfISD curriculum. Teachers of these courses are GT trained and strive to support the educational needs of gifted learners socially, emotionally, and academically.
Math Acceleration: The Accelerated Math Pathway exists at every middle school in PfISD. Students enrolled in our Pre-AP Math 6 and Pre-AP Math 7 courses will master all math concepts from the 6th, 7th and 8th grades so that during their final year of middle school, students begin their first high school math course of Algebra I. Some students and families choose to accelerate in mathematics in order to take both Algebra I and Geometry in middle school. Students who choose to hyper-accelerate in mathematics are required to take a CBE test (Credit By Exam) and receive specific scores in order to skip multiple math courses. Registration information for CBE tests is available through our Advanced Academics website or through your student’s counselor.