Gifted and Talented
Holly Pies, Curriculum Coordinator
Children and youth with outstanding abilities that perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment may be identified for placement in the Gifted and Talented Program of the Vigo County School Corporation. These children and youth exhibit high performance capability in intellectual, creative, and/or artistic areas, possess an unusual leadership capacity, or excel in specific academic fields.
The children of Vigo County are first identified for the Gifted and Talented Program at the end of their first grade school year. Through a series of screening tests, a teacher checklist, and a student inventory, students are recommended for the program. Once enrolled in the G/T Program, students of high ability are brought together with other students of similar abilities. Students are not only placed in a creatively challenging environment, but they have access to diverse, appropriate, quality materials that will promote the greatest degree of individual skill development. The G/T Program will maximize a child's potential by allowing him to pursue a differentiated curriculum, which will accelerate his/her learning and allow him/her to become an independent yet interactive learner and leader.
Throughout the G/T Program, students are placed with their intellectual peers so that student interaction can stimulate thinking and motivate productivity. Students are given instructional materials that are challenging, as they are asked to lead discussions, direct lessons, give reports, and make announcements to the class. Additionally, students are encouraged to share information and talents, as they build a learning atmosphere that promotes tolerance and understanding.
Another important aspect of the G/T mission is enrichment, and students with a talent, special interest, or desire to achieve excellence in the field of Performing or Visual Arts are encouraged annually to apply for the VCSC Performing and Visual Arts Program. This summer program allows students to develop their artistic abilities through a variety of programs. Those students who enjoy performing will audition for a part in the summer musical. Additionally, if a student would like to participate as a visual artist, he/she will create a portfolio which will be judged by the program's art teachers. This program provides a great opportunity for students to display their artistic talents and work together to create a final show.
The Vigo County School Corporation offers the Gifted and Talented Program at five of our elementary schools: Dixie Bee, Hoosier Prairie, Lost Creek, Ouabache, and Sugar Grove. For those students who are recommended for the program outside of the boundaries of these six schools, transportation is provided to each site. Additionally, the following middle schools are the sites of the G/T Program: Honey Creek, Otter Creek, West Vigo Middle, and Woodrow Wilson.
The progress of Gifted and Talented education in the Vigo County School Corporation may be attributed to several factors. First, the school corporation encourages teachers with a Gifted and Talented endorsement to pursue the G/T teaching assignments. Currently, there are twelve G/T teachers at the elementary level. Together, all of the elementary G/T teachers meet on a monthly basis to present, discuss, and gather lessons that help to strengthen their G/T programs. Additionally, our middle schools share much of the same approach. Through the team teaching concept at the middle schools, teachers are given time to spend daily to discuss student issues, curriculum planning, and enrichment activities.
Secondly, the G/T program is largely funded through a G/T Grant from the State of Indiana. Annually, this grant provides funds to allow the G/T Coordinator to monitor additional resources, which are spent on student and teacher materials and programs.
Thirdly, the G/T program is supported by the Broad-Based Planning Committee. As specified in Indiana Statute, this committee acts as a sounding board for programmatic ideas in regard to Gifted and Talented Planning. Throughout the course of the school year, the BBPC meets monthly to act as the keeper of the vision for G/T. The committee is made up of a diverse population, including students, teachers, parents, professors, community members, former G/T Coordinators, and the current G/T Coordinator. Throughout the course of the most recent school year, the BBPC evaluated data collected for future program direction, created a new G/T brochure, discussed ways to improve G/T identification, researched additional testing instruments, reviewed the Appeals Procedure, and supported a variety of G/T programs.
During the summer of 2005, over one hundred students participated in the Summer Performing and Visual Arts Workshop. The Performing group presented the musical, The Music Man, while the Visual Arts portion of the workshop displayed ceramics, drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures. The summer program lasted four weeks and celebrated its fourteenth year.
Lastly, the G/T Grant supports another program during the summer. The Foreign Language Summer Enrichment Program is offered at the middle schools level. Students are given the chance to enroll in a three-week course, which focuses on four foreign languages: French, German, Latin, and Spanish. Students are given opportunities to learn the basics of foreign languages, participate in a number of hands-on activities, and demonstrate what they learn through enrichment projects. Additionally, students are given several cooking lessons, as they prepare recipes from other countries. Students and teachers meet daily from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. The program will be offered again during the summer of 2006.
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