Special Education » Gifted Support

Gifted Support

Program Description

Gifted Support at Spring Cove School District follows Pennsylvania State Guidelines as set down in Chapter 16 of the School Code. The purpose is to meet the strength-based academic needs of students who are academically gifted.

At SCSD, we recognize that subject area specialists can best deliver services to gifted students within the regular classroom setting with accommodations as specified in each student's GIEP. Students may access a variety of accommodations, including curriculum compacting, individualized enrichment, and acceleration. Plans are worked out individually among the gifted support teacher, the classroom teacher, the parent, and the student.


Spring Cove School District provides gifted support to students who are eligible in accordance with Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania School Code. In kindergarten through grade 12, strength-based, specially designed instruction is primarily delivered in the general education classroom setting. Students must have opportunities to work at a pace and depth which is consistent with their learning rates and their academic needs. When planning specially designed instruction to grow a student’s areas of strength, it is preferable to provide as much connection to the educator who has the most specialized knowledge in that content area. At the secondary level, students are encouraged to select courses which reflect their academic needs and their interests.


Student Identification

Screen Protocol

A multi-level screening process is used at Spring Cove School District.  Spring Cove School District implements a comprehensive child find process for students in grades K-12 with a special focus on students in grades K-5.  The comprehensive child find process utilizes universal screening data in literacy and math.  This data is collected three times a year (September, January, and May).  Students who perform at or higher than the predetermined cut-offs are identified by the grade level teams.  During the universal screening process, students who meet the established cut-offs in the minimum number of areas are referred for further, diagnostic screening.

Evaluation Protocol

Requests for a gifted multidisciplinary evaluation (GMDE) may result from the comprehensive child find process or through parent referral.   Parents who suspect that their child is gifted may request a GMDE of their child at any time, with a limit of one request per school term.  The request must be in writing.


Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP)

If the gifted multidisciplinary team (GMDT) decides the student is gifted and in need of gifted education, the gifted individualized education plan (GIEP) team writes the GIEP at a meeting within 30 calendar days from the date of the gifted written report (GWR). The GIEP is based on the unique needs of the gifted student and enables the gifted student to participate in acceleration or enrichment programs, or both, as appropriate, and to receive services according to the student’s intellectual and academic abilities and needs. Parents will be invited to participate on the team and to attend the GIEP team meeting.


The Role of the Gifted Support Teacher

The gifted support teacher works collaboratively with the general education teacher to help him/her understand his/her role and function in the development and implementation of the GIEP.

The gifted support teacher will

  • offer teachers support on how to differentiate for the gifted (and advanced) learners;
  • collect documentation from the general education teacher to report on goal progress in the GIEP;
  • collect and analyze data, coordinate assessments with appropriate professionals, communicate with student and parents to develop an academically appropriate GIEP;
  • schedule and conduct GIEP meetings, monitor signature of the NORA;
  • inform service providers (general education teachers) of their responsibilities for specific identified students in a timely fashion;
  • provide direct instruction to gifted students in strength areas (when specifically called for and certification allows); and
  • support enrichment and acceleration for the identified student (space to work, resources, managing deadlines, consulting with teachers, collecting documentation, reporting to parents, etc.).


Classroom Opportunities

Differentiated Instruction is employed  in order to meet the learning needs of all students.  Even in courses designated “honors” or “advanced placement,” students maintain the option stated in their GIEP to compact courses, to seek individualized enrichment, or to accelerate in order to meet their academic needs.

Course compacting is a strategy whereby a student works with the classroom teacher and the gifted support teacher to develop a plan to work through the curriculum more rapidly than the rest of the class in order to provide time to focus on specific goals, on more in-depth work within the compacted area, or on an area of student interest.

Individualized enrichment can occur easily within any setting, and provides an opportunity for in-depth learning as opposed to superficial, rapid coverage of a given curriculum.  The gifted teacher or the classroom teacher can provide enrichment materials for the student who wants to study a topic in depth. 

Acceleration refers to the rare instances when a student tests out of an entire course by showing mastery of the material through passing the final exam for that course.  Acceleration also refers to skipping an entire grade level, but this is an extreme measure that usually takes place at the elementary level. 

Gifted education continuum of acceleration/enrichment opportunities (K-12) available but not limited to

  • classroom-based acceleration and enrichment opportunities;
  • tiered and differentiated instruction;
  • curriculum compaction;
  • interdisciplinary and/or arts infused curriculum;
  • advanced grade or subject-level placement;
  • honors, AP, dual enrollment, and independent study courses;
  • self-directed projects and activities


Parental Rights

At all times, a parent has certain rights with all gifted education services received by his/her child. Parents have the right  

  • to be notified about a child’s program and progress, and any changes that take place;
  • to approve or reject programs and testing;
  • to privacy and confidentiality; and
  • to make a formal complaint.