GIFTED IEP DEVELOPMENT FOR
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A gifted student’s identified educational needs must be met through a plan called the Gifted IEP. It is designed to provide a meaningful educational benefit. The gifted student has an educational need in one or more subject areas, learning differently enough from their peers that they require Programming and Specially Designed Instruction beyond those used in grade-level programs. Having reviewed 100's of Gifted IEPs from across the country, I have learned that:
- The scope and nature of the educational needs must be identified using objective criteria.
- An individualized educational plan must be developed to address unique educational needs to provide a FAPE - Free, Appropriate Public Education. It is not a one-size-fits-all or just list a program to attend. The plan addresses educational (academic and functional) needs that cannot be met adequately in the regular educational environment like:
- Enrichment Access, support and programming
- The pace of instruction in a regular education classroom
- The amount of repetition and drill during instruction
- Differentiation in instruction
ARE YOU PREPARED TO PROFESSIONALLY ADVOCATE FOR A GIFTED IEP?
- You are an equal partner in the Gifted IEP process – come prepared
- Bring suggested accommodations for the regular classroom to the Gifted IEP meeting
- Ask for present level educational performance assessment testing prior to the meeting
- Ask for curriculum and SDIs used in any “program” described or suggested prior to the IEP meeting.
- Document all conversations.
- If something is a “policy” ask for a copy of it in writing.
- Do NOT assume your school district knows, understands, and appropriately implements state or federal gifted educational regulations.
- Know that
- A Gifted Program is not only enrichment
- Grade or subject acceleration occurs as IEP decisions are made despite district policy
- Using regular Education homework to make up for missed instruction due to Gifted Pullout is punitive and must be addressed. Gifted does NOT mean you just do more work.
- Getting A’s does not mean that they do not need an IEP
- Address parental concerns with parental input to the IEP to address:
- Not being challenged
- Development of poor study habits
- Low motivation and contentment with doing below-ability level work
- Don’t ever show up cold to a meeting.
- Know your role in the IEP process.
- It is not just to approve the IEP.
- Have your concerns defined
- Not being challenged
- How a program is working or not working for your child
- Additional needs that require assessment and request the appropriate evaluation
- Study habits and concerns
- Need for explicit instruction
- Understand the use of each part of the Gifted IEP and how they relate
- Be familiar with your child’s testing and baselines
- Understand basic IEP and educational terms and concepts to be used
- Ask for clarification in writing
- Take time to think about whether the Gifted IEP meets your child’s needs
- Document what was asked for and refused and get prior written notice from the Notice of Recommended Educational Placement - NOREP
DO YOU WANT TO DISCOVER EFFECTIVE PROFESSIONAL ADVOCACY SKILLS AND TRANSFORM MORE STUDENTS LIVES ?
KNOW WHAT MUST BE
INCLUDED IN A GIFTED IEP?
- Areas of need identified in the Gifted evaluation
- Present Levels of Educational and Functional Performance PLEFP
- Annual Goals
- Short Term Learning Objectives
- Appropriate use of measurable objective criteria, assessment procedures, determination of appropriateness of the goals and learning outcomes that have been achieved.
- GIFTED IEP team participants and the date of the meeting.
- Specially Designed Instruction and Support services
- Differentiated homework (not just more)
- Differentiated curriculum
- Content modifications: abstractions, complexity, and subject-based acceleration.
- Process modifications: critical thinking skills, creative problem solving, open- ended questions, pacing, and flexibility.
- Product modifications: choices from various sources of graded level materials
WHAT LInks for Student Enrichments
Are/Can be Paid for by Schools?
These programs if included in the IEP should be paid for by the school district.
- 24 Card game challenge
- 3D CAD Masters
- Advance Program for Young Scholars
- Aquatic Science Adventure Camp
- Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development's University for Young People
- Daily SET Puzzle
- Davidson THINK Summer Institute
- Discovery Education Brain Boosters
- Duke University TIP - Talent Identification Program
- First in Math
- Kahn Academy
- Mighty Minds Enrichment Programs
- NASA Quest Challenges
- NRich Math
- Oilfield Energy Center
- Scratch Programming
- STEMed Labs
- Storybird Story Creator
- Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth
ARE YOU AWARE OF WHAT
GIFTED STUDENT ACCOMMODATION
STRATEGIES ARE APPROPRIATE?
Gifted students may need a range of accommodations or services. They can be organized in a variety of ways:
- Acceleration or grade advancement
- Accommodations in the regular classroom
- Full-time grouping with students of similar abilities
- Part-time assignment to both regular and special classe
- Educational Acceleration matches students’ general abilities and specific talents with optimal learning opportunities. It showed improvement in socialization, self-esteem, and continued accelerated performance long term. There are other options than skipping a grade.
- Curriculum Compacting condenses, streamlines, and reduces repetition in the core curriculum and allows for enrichment time and prevents boredom.
- Academic Ability Grouping places students with similar abilities together within flexibly changing groups between classes, interests, or level of enrichment participation. It positively impacts educational gains through rapid or advanced instruction, which matches the student’s abilities, at the right pace in the right subject area. This creates a peer group that allows the student to be challenged and improves motivation and testing because they are grouped with similar ability level peers, who learn at similar rates, and with similar levels of background and concept knowledge which allows for deeper exploration of content through differentiated instructional strategies.
Pull-out enrichment classes are typically provided to students who qualify (usually by scoring 130 on an IQ test). These classes require the student to leave their classrooms and engage in creative problem-solving, projects, games, or field trips.
- Specialized Programs or Classes
Programming options occur in special AP classes in a subject area, special state or local magnet school in science, mathematics, arts and humanities, afterschool and summer programs, International Baccalaureate programs or dual enrollment in specialized distance learning courses like the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth
- Teacher Training
Teachers are not trained in how gifted students learn. This leaves students bored and unchallenged in their classes. In an IEP parents should ask for consults and training for regular education teachers by expert gifted teachers. This occurs under supports to school personnel. Teachers should be able to recognize:
- Learning differences
- Developmental milestones
- Cognitive characteristics of gifted students across cultural and linguistic backgrounds
- Identify academic and social-emotional needs
- The need for appropriate learning and performance modifications and how to design them
- Appropriate methods to support creativity, academic acceleration, and the depth and complexity in concepts and subject matter
- The need for and select appropriate evidence-based instructional strategies, modified for individual needs to support the advancement in learning
- Strategies to foster higher-level thinking
- Strategies to allow for greater student expression
- Individual student strengths and weaknesses
- Strategies to provide a variety of learning experiences to challenge the student
- When to ask for consults from experts
- When to ask for quality professional development
- When to ask for time, materials, and continued support
WHAT SDIs DO YOU THINK ARE APPROPRIATE
FOR THE GIFTED IEP?
Each should be defined how they will be applied AND WHY APPROPRIATE!
- Allow for rapid pacing and acquisition
- Allow student choice with clearly defined outcomes
- Assign homework that is challenging and reflective, not lengthy or repetitive
- Consider rigor, relevance, reflection, and relationships when modifying curriculum
- Employ self-evaluation and professional standards for end products
- Facilitate learning in a variety of community settings
- Facilitate problems-based on inquiry learning
- independent study opportunities through learning contracts with defined outcomes
- In-depth study of major issues, themes, and concepts
- Integrate technology with the curriculum
- Investigate real problems and solutions (relevance)
- Offer accelerated instruction (by unit)
- Offer advanced placement or honors course WITH differentiation for gifted students
- Offer enriched curriculum courses
- Offer methodological mentoring for research and investigation
- Offer pacing opportunities to advance through levels
- Offer tasks with rigor, complex, independent, abstract and multifaceted problem solving
- Pair direct instruction with coaching to promote self-directed learning
- Participation in advanced courses or college placement
- Provide content challenge and require complex responses (rigor)
- Provide credit for prior learning/acquisition of information or skills.
- Provide executive function assistance for students to reach goals
- Provide for opportunities to test out of an entire course for credit
- Provide instruction on group learning and participation
- Provide internship or shadowing experiences
- Provide learning opportunities with other talented and gifted peers
- Provide learning seminars and enrichment programs (multi-thematic units)
- Provide opportunities for alternative assignments
- Provide opportunities for on-line or distance learning
- Provide opportunities for service-learning/community projects
- Provide opportunities to emphasize leadership abilities
- Provide the student with a variety of presentation options
- Use of (pre and post) assessment(s) to prevent instruction on mastered material
- Use of acceleration options within the district
- Use of Compacting and substituting work
- Use of grouping procedures such as cluster grouping, flexible grouping, and ability grouping
- Use of Socratic Method for instruction
- High School Opportunities for Challenge
- Independent Study
- Honors Classes
- Advanced Placement Classes
- Post-Secondary Options
- Dual Enrollment Options
This ONE of 6 blogs addressing the Gifted Child within the IEP. Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to the blog so you do not miss any of the new topics coming up.
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Marie Lewis is an author, national consultant, and speaker on best practices in education advocacy. She is a parent of 3 children. As a Disability Case Manager, Board Certified Education Advocate, and Behavior Specialist Consultant she has assisted in the development of thousands of IEPs nationally and consulted with schools. She is the Clinical Director at NSEAI and has trained over 3000 education advocates. She has been recognized at the, local, State, Congressional and Presidential levels for her endless work in the education advocacy field. She brings a great depth of expertise, practical experience, and compassion to her work as well as expert insight, vision, and systemic thinking. She is passionate and funny and she always inspires and informs.
MJ Gore has an MEd in counseling and a degree in elementary education and natural sciences. She worked as a life-skills and learning support teacher She has been honored with the receipt of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She is the Director and on the faculty at the National Special Education Advocacy Institute. Her passion is social justice, especially in the area of education. She is a Board Certified Education Advocate who teaches professional advocates, educators, and clinicians the best practices in education advocacy.
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