There are many definitions of giftedness. Lynchburg City Schools has adopted the following definition in accordance with the Virginia Department of Education definition:
Students who are identified with attributes of giftedness have the potential to achieve high levels of accomplishment. Rigorous curriculum, instructional experiences that offer deep and complex content, and a variety of services help ensure these needs are recognized and addressed.
Lynchburg City Schools identifies and provides additional services to students who demonstrate giftedness as a Specific Academic Ability & General Intellectual Ability. This specific ability may be identified in math, reading and writing, social studies, and/or science. While general abilities are demonstrated across a range of academic areas. Lynchburg City Schools does not discriminate in admission or access to, or in treatment in, its gifted programs, services, or activities based on race, color, national origin, gender, disability, or age, in accordance with state and federal laws.
A teacher, parent/guardian, peer, or even self-referral can initiate the gifted identification process. These referrals can begin as early as the second semester of kindergarten. The majority of referred students will have data collected by classroom teachers until a gifted identification meeting is held during the second semester of second grade. However, in extreme cases, special standardized tests may be administered and an individual program established for a child as early as kindergarten. Such a program may involve accelerating the student in the area of giftedness.
Important Dates for Gifted Screenings and Referrals
|Fall window open for school-based and GO Center gifted referrals||August|
|Stanford 10 administered to all second graders||3rd Quarter|
|Second grade portfolio writing sample||3rd Quarter|
|Naglieri Non-verbal Ability Test administered to all first graders||3rd Quarter|
|Spring window open for school-based and GO Center gifted referrals||April|
|All GO Center referral folders due to Central Office||May|
|Gifted services letters mailed||June|
Identifying Gifted Learners
There are many challenges in identifying young students as gifted. One such challenge is distinguishing between very bright children who have experienced an enriched home or pre-school environment and children whose giftedness will create a need for acceleration that is beyond traditional enrichment activities.
There are no set rules to distinguish if a child is a very bright child or a gifted learner—all children are individuals and express themselves in their own ways. However, research attempting to identify common characteristics of these children provides some general differences that can be helpful to consider.
|A Very Bright Child||A Gifted Learner|
|Knows the answers||Asks the questions|
|Pays attention||Is mentally involved|
|Has good ideas||Has very creative ideas|
|Answers questions directly||Discusses in detail|
|Is in the top group||Is beyond the group|
|Listens with interest||Shows strong opinions|
|Understands ideas||Constructs abstractions|
|Relates well to peers||Relates well to adults|
|Absorbs information||Manipulates information|
|Completes assignments||Initiates projects|
|Is a good memorizer||Is a good guesser|
|Is pleased with own work||Is critical of own work|
|Enjoys school||Enjoys learning|
If you think your child may be gifted, please contact the Lead Instructional Coach at your child’s school and request a gifted identification referral form. By completing and returning this form, you guarantee your child’s teachers will begin collecting information related to your child’s behaviors and achievement.
The information includes ratings of school achievement, a checklist of behavioral characteristics, standardized test scores, and examples of your child’s work. The gifted identification committee will use this information to determine if your child requires gifted services and will notify you of their finding.
If your child requires gifted services, the committee will ask you to sign a form granting permission to include your child in the gifted program. Gifted services may include acceleration, in-class differentiation, pull-out programs, advanced classes, and enrichment opportunities. Additionally, a full-time center-based program is available for selected gifted students in grades 3-5.
This program, the Gifted Opportunities (GO) Center, offers a differentiated, expanded curriculum. The GO Center faculty members, who have studied the theories and techniques of gifted education, use instructional methodologies that promote higher order thinking and student-directed learning.
Students in grades 3-5 spend time each week with trained Lead Instructional Coaches. The school-based program, at each elementary school, offers enrichment services for students identified as gifted.
Even if the committee determines that your child does not currently require gifted services, he or she will still have areas of strength enriched and developed by the classroom teacher, and can still be placed in advanced sections of math and reading when appropriate.
If you disagree with the committee’s decision, you may initiate an appeal by contacting the school principal. Lynchburg City Schools’ faculty and staff recognize that a child’s experiences and developmental stage play a role in the exhibition of gifted characteristics. A child who does not require additional services at one point may need to be re-assessed for a Specific Academic Ability at a later time.
If you have any questions concerning the referral process or questions about any specific gifted service available at your child’s school, please contact your school’s Lead Instructional Coach.
If you would like additional information related to the Lynchburg City Schools Local Plan for Gifted Education, the Lynchburg City Schools Gifted Opportunity (GO) Center, or any other programs related to gifted students, please call the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at (434) 515-5040.