Appropriate curriculum for gifted students must be qualitatively different from the regular school program. As the governing board and staff of Coolidge Unified School District are committed to the encouragement of excellence and optimal talent development among gifted students, the district has developed a comprehensive program of educational interventions to meet the needs of our gifted students.
The Governing Board of each school district has developed a scope and sequence for the identification process of and curriculum modifications
Gifted education provides a variety of instructional techniques that encourage and enable learners to reach their full potential. An effective gifted education program provides appropriate services for students who require differentiated educational programs beyond those normally provided through the regular school program. Enrichment and accelerated learning opportunities meet the cognitive and affective needs of gifted children. Comprehensive gifted education will meet the varied needs of all types of giftedness including intellectual, creative, artistic, and academic excellence.
“Gifted education” means appropriate academic course offerings and services that are required to provide an educational program that is an integral part of the regular school day and that is commensurate with the academic abilities and potential of a gifted pupil. Arizona Revised Statute § 15-779
The philosophy of the Coolidge Unified School District includes providing a challenging and multi-dimensional teaching approach that encourages higher order thinking skills in the provided academic curriculum. CUSD understands that “gifted students are gifted all day, not just for a small segment of that day.” Building from this understanding, we are committed to providing continuity of services in grades k through 12.
The goals of the district gifted education program are:
Students with exceptional abilities and talents exist in all cultural and linguistic groups, in all economic levels, in all geographic areas of the state, in all domains of intelligence and in groups of individuals who also have disabilities. The official definition of "gifted child" is available in Arizona Revised Statute 15-779.
"Gifted pupil means a child who is of lawful school age, who due to superior intellect or advanced learning ability, or both, is not afforded an opportunity for otherwise attainable progress and development in regular classroom instruction and who needs gifted instruction or advanced supplemental services, or both, to achieve at levels commensurate with the child's intellect and ability." (A.R.S. 15-779)1
Although each gifted student is unique, gifted students do have some characteristics in common. They usually are swift and efficient learners, may make intuitive leaps, quickly sense patterns in information, ask themselves questions about perceived patterns in order to understand them, and form connections among stored concepts and related bits of new information to modify their existing knowledge base. In their area of interest, they are able to construct clear mental maps that organize concepts efficiently; they are able to think flexibly about new possibilities, and they thrive on questions and problems that have a wide range of possible answers instead of those that have one correct answer.
Gifted students develop asynchronously. This means that they are intellectually advanced in one or more areas, yet may have difficulties or be very average in other areas. Their motor skills may or may not match those of other same age children. The same is true for social skills. In addition, social skills may be advanced. Young gifted children progress through developmental milestones more rapidly, and sometimes prefer to associate with older children or adults who are more likely to understand their vocabulary and the complexity of their ideas.
One important point is that gifted students of the same age are not alike. There are differences between moderately gifted, highly gifted, and profoundly gifted students that may require as much curriculum differentiation within the group as is necessary between moderately gifted students and their non-gifted peers. Program modifications for gifted students must be sufficiently varied and flexible that these students receive challenging learning experiences and appropriate resources.
In the Coolidge Unified School District, as of 2008-2009 school year, there are 167 students who are identified as gifted and who participate in the Gifted Education program. Of the 167 students, 83 or 49.70% are males and 84 or 50.30% are females. 103 or 61.68% are Caucasian; 38 or 22.75% are Hispanic; 13 or 7.78% are African American; 10 or 6.00% are American Indian and 0% are Asian.
Coolidge Unified School District uses the Cognitive Abilities Test to determine eligibility for gifted services. During school year 2009-2010, the district will identify a second state approved assessment to students of the district.
Testing is available three times during the 2009-2010 school year as mandated by the Department of Education Gifted Services.
Testing will be in the fall, winter, and spring.
In alignment of Arizona State Gifted Education Guidelines, any of the following persons who are familiar with the students’ abilities, potential performance, and past records may make testing referrals:
Formal evaluation may begin only after the gifted services teacher has received written approval from a student’s parent or guardian. Every effort will be made to provide information in home languages other than English, in accordance to the diverse population of the districts. The Gifted Program Specialist and site teacher of the gifted to each school site will address characteristics of gifted children in the same training. District wide gifted training will address the characteristics of gifted children. A student must wait for a period of at least 12 months before retesting.
Once a student has qualified for the program, the Gifted Services will mail a placement form, along with an informational letter, home. Services can only begin after the parent has completely filled out and signed the placement form.
Students transferring into the district who have been in a gifted education program in their other district will receive individual evaluation through review of transfer records. These students must meet the same criterion as students in CUSD to participate in the gifted program.
The district will provide dates and timelines through newsletters and made available through printed material at each site’s front office. Testing will occur in a group setting unless other arrangements have been made.
Coolidge Unified District uses the Cognitive Abilities Test Form 6, a State approved test for the identification of gifted education students. .
Students who do not qualify when tested within the district must wait twelve months for an opportunity to retest.
Please fill out out the permission form below if you are interested in having your child tested for the Gifted Education Program.
Test Administration and Description
The Cognitive Abilities Test Form 6 will serve as the district’s primary assessment tool. At kindergarten, first grade, and second grade, test items are read aloud to students who choose answers in a multiple-choice selection of pictures. There are two subtests per battery. Each battery requires approximately one hour, with breaks between the subtests. At grades three – twelve, this test consists of three batteries, each requiring approximately one hour.
The Cognitive Abilities Test Form 6 evaluates student-reasoning skills in the following areas:
All parents will receive notification, in writing, of their child’s testing results. This information will also go in each student’s cumulative file for future reference or for students transferring to another site or school district. For each qualified student, the designated classroom teacher, the site gifted education teacher, and the parent will meet to determine the Gifted Education Plan for each individual student. Students may also be included in the planning meeting. Once a student qualifies for services, no further testing is required.
Coolidge Unified School District understands that a continuum of services must exist for gifted learners. Services are available on a continuous basis from the point of identification through high school graduation. Students receive services through cluster groupings provided by the classroom teacher with the assistance of the gifted education specialist in the preparation of challenging programs for each individual gifted student.
At the middle school level, students have many academic and extra-curricular options from which to choose. Some options include honors courses in Language arts, Mathematics, National Junior Honor Society, Gear Up, mentoring opportunities, etc. During grades nine through twelve, students will encounter several academic challenges such as Interactive Television courses, Advanced Placement courses and Summer Gifted Camp. Various levels of services are available to match the needs of gifted learners by providing different learning options. Gifted services supplement and build on basic academic skills and knowledge learned in regular classrooms at all grade levels to ensure continuity as students progress through the program. The use of flexible groupings of gifted learners, as described below, is an integral part of gifted education programming.
In addition, placement decisions take into account the needs of students with disabilities or English Language. School district personnel will provide academic and personal/social guidance or counseling services related to learning opportunities for gifted students, and their parents.
Designated Cluster/Gifted Classroom Teachers K-8 will serve gifted education students and work towards a gifted endorsement. These teachers will: