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Gifted Ed. Policies
West View Elementary School

North Hills School District

Gifted Education

What is the purpose of Gifted Education?

Gifted Education at North Hills School District is overseen by 22 Pa. Code Chapter 16-Special Education for Gifted Students. Chapter 16 assures that the Commonwealth will “meet its obligations to suspected and identified gifted students who require gifted education to reach their potential.”

The GATE Department services include academic enrichment to high-achieving students, so they can continue to progress and keep their fascination with learning.  Enrichment groups are designed to be flexible. The time and location of these sessions may vary. Also, the students in the groups may change, depending on the content and children's mastery levels.  North Hills School District is proud to offer this level of service beyond identified Gifted Students, so that our children can continue to become fulfilled, lifelong learners.

What do I do if I think my child might be gifted?

First, talk with your child’s teacher. Teachers have experience evaluating a range of students. They will be able to discuss your child’s strengths and weaknesses with you.

Click here for a list of “Some General Characteristics of Gifted Children.” You can review these traits with the teacher to see if your child might be a good testing candidate for gifted education. Either the classroom teacher or the parent can request that a formal evaluation proceed. Referrals are made to the gifted education teacher.

How are gifted students identified?

Chapter 16 requires a multidisciplinary evaluation to determine giftedness. In North Hills there are three levels of screening. Each child is assessed for ability and achievement according to these multidisciplinary criteria. Parent permission must be obtained to administer these tests, as they are individually administered in a setting outside the classroom. Scores are weighted on each criterion depending on strength of performance. Students proceed through the levels according to their weighted scores. Testing is terminated if a child can no longer mathematically qualify according to their scores.

What happens if my child qualifies for gifted education?

Gifted education is based on the unique needs of each student, not solely on the student’s classification. You will be invited to a GIEP (Gifted Individualized Education Program) meeting with your child’s teacher, the gifted education teacher, and a building administrator. The team evaluates your child’s strengths as determined by the test results. Using this information, as well as parent and teacher observations, the team then constructs a plan to meet your child’s needs. The goals and objectives are designed to reach beyond the classroom in areas where your child excels. These are often extensions and enrichment/acceleration opportunities that build on the concepts developed by the regular education curriculum in the classroom. GIEP’s are updated on a yearly basis.

How does gifted education impact my child’s school day?

Teachers already differentiate instruction to meet the needs of individual students in the classroom. According to your child’s strengths, teachers will adapt the curriculum using material such as modified spelling lists, challenging problem-solving activities in math, higher level reading books.

In addition, your child will come to gifted enrichment seminars with their academic peers each six-day academic rotation. This is referred to as “pull-out.” Sometimes, however, the seminar takes place within the classroom through a collaborative effort between the gifted education teacher and the classroom teacher. This is referred to as “push-in.”

Who do I talk to if I have questions?

Feel free to contact Mr. Richter if you have any questions regarding Gifted Education.

Martin S. Richter

412-318-1000 x5203

Gifted Education Screening and Evaluation Process

Referral for a Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation shall be made when a student is suspected by teachers or parents of being gifted and in need of specially designed instruction. The parent must sign a Permission to Evaluate form in order for the process to begin. First, the Gifted Education Instructor conducts a number of screening assessments.  Upon successful completion of the screening, the school psychologist conducts a formal evaluation. This evaluation, along with information from the parents, demonstrated achievement, performance/expertise in one or more academic areas, high level thinking skills, communication skills, academic creativity and measured rate of acquisition/retention of new academic content or skills that reflect gifted ability is used to develop a Gifted Written Report (GWR).

The Gifted Multidisciplinary Team shall prepare a written report that brings together the information and findings from the evaluation. The report shall make recommendations as to whether the student is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction.

The Gifted Individualized Education Program team reviews the recommendations of the Gifted Multidisciplinary Team and determines whether the student needs specially designed instruction including enrichment and/or acceleration. If the student is determined to be gifted and in need of specially designed instruction, a Gifted Individualized Education Program (GIEP) will be developed and implemented.

A gifted student is defined as “as student who is exceptional” under 1371 of the School Code because the student meets the definition of ‘mentally gifted’ in this section, and needs specially designed instruction beyond that required in Chapter 4 relating to academic standards and assessment. This term applies only to students who are of ‘school-age.’ Provisions for gifted students are contained in Chapter 16, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Rules and Regulations, Title 22: Education. For additional information or clarification, please contact Director of Pupil Services Nicole Bezila, 412-318-1008.
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North Hills School District
135 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Phone: 412-318-1000 Fax: 412-318-1084
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