The significant drop in the number of kids being identified as academically gifted in recent years brought great concern to board members, then was brought to the attention of the curriculum and instruction team, leading to the adoption of a revised plan.
According to Erin Rady, AIG coordinator, under the new plan, which became effective in 2016, 93 additional students have been identified as academically gifted and will receive services under the AIG program.
At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, when students entering third grade were tested, only two students qualified for AIG placement, according to board member Carol Worley. Three additional students received private testing and were later placed into the content replacement tier of the program.
With the updated recommendations to the plan, the team is confident more children are being identified as AIG and be placed into one area of the program.
During the board’s work session Thursday afternoon, Rady presented the number of additional students who have qualified for placement.
• Rising third graders — 8 ELA; 14 math
• Rising fourth graders — 8 ELA; 9 math
• Rising fifth graders — 8 ELA; 11 math
• Rising sixth graders — 5 ELA; 13 math
• Rising seventh graders — 1 ELA: 4 math
• Rising eighth graders — 2 ELA; 1 math
• Rising freshmen — 2 ELA; 7 math
The new AIG plan identifies gifted students as AG (Academically Gifted) and IG (Intellectually Gifted). Students who are currently serviced through the AIG program either receive content replacement services or resource services. In conjunction with PowerSchool, the school’s grading and information system, students who are in content replacement will now be identified as AG and students who are in resource will be identified as IG.
IG focuses on developing intellectual skills and not academic skills.
Additionally, the team requested changes to the requirements for placement, hoping the change would allow more students to qualify for the program.
“We want to make sure we aren’t missing any children,” Lisa Green, AIG specialist and teacher at Sunset Avenue School, said to board members when the plan was presented. “There are a lot of children with a high IQ, but are scoring low on the achievement tests. We want to make sure we are servicing all gifted children, in every area.”
In the new plan, to receive placement in the AG portion of the program, a student must meet two of three categories. The new requirements are:
• A student must score 92 percent or higher on the Naglieri Nonverbal Aptitude Test
• A student must score 90 percent or higher on the Iowa achievement test
• A student must be recommended by a teacher or score Level 5 on the End of Grade tests
In the new plan, to receive placement in the IG portion of the program, a student must have a 92 percent or higher on the NNAT and one other of the following criteria:
• A student must score 80 percent or higher on the Iowa achievement test
• A student must be recommended by a teacher
Services for students on the K-2 level are available to all students in those grades. The new program, K-2 Think Lab, is much like the old nurturing program, as students are not tested until the end of second grade and not identified as gifted until that time.
The purpose of the Think Lab is to explore ability and uncover gifted potential.
“There are students who I would have never thought to be divergent thinkers, but the tasks are proving them otherwise,” one teacher said about the Think Lab. “There are students who are successful in Think Lab because of their out of the box thinking.”
According to Green, at the K-2 level, an AIG specialist visits all classrooms and provides whole group lessons to encourage critical, creative and higher order thinking skills. Based on that data collected from the AIG specialist during those whole group lessons, students are placed in pull-out groups that are facilitated by the specialist.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.