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By Susan Brady and Cheryl Boyer-Schrock, Consultants
Indiana Department of Education
Division of Gifted/TalentedAs this issue of IMAGES explores the topic of assessment, we must address and acknowledge Indiana’s Public Law 221 and school accountability. Whether assessing students, teachers, programs or services, professional development, or individual schools; educators will be held responsible. What are the implications of “continuous school improvement” as they relate to Indiana’s gifted/talented students?
Twenty-first century educators, parents, and other stakeholders are confronted with “continuous questions and concerns” regarding the education of our gifted/talented students. However, twenty-first century Indiana educators, administrators, and school leaders are being held accountable for helping ALL kids achieve at higher levels in the content areas. For the latter part of the twentieth century most gifted/talented programs focused on the content of the process as the hallmark of their curriculum. Today’s gifted/talented educators are confronted with the challenge of integrating the content of the process into the content of the subject area.
What paradigms will we leave behind as we form new ones? How can educators ensure they are meeting the state’s accountability requirement and doing what’s best for kids? How do educators and leaders of the gifted measure the effectiveness of services and the intellectual growth of these talented students? What do leaders do with the data gathered?
Public Law 221 purports “continuous student improvement.” That means ALL students are challenged to learn, including Indiana’s gifted students. The following chart is an attempt to illustrate meaningful connections between school accountability and gifted education. Accountability and gifted education are compatible and complementary. As we enter new eras of answerability we must maintain a positive attitude, demonstrate initiative and resourcefulness, and continue to advocate for gifted children.
These words from Albert Einstein, though offered in time long past, have meaning today.
Educators must “raise new questions,” consider “new possibilities,” and “regard old problems from a new angle” if we expect to make “real advances in” gifted education.
|Gifted/Talented Education Connections|
|Major Components of PL 221||What’s best for kids?|
• Instruction (Indiana Academic Standards)
|• Align with and mastery of standards
• Added depth and breadth
• Vary content, process, product
• Develop scope and sequence
• Integrate and connect with regular classroom
• Design purposeful, meaningful, and challenging activities
• Incorporate student services, guidance and counseling plan
|• Continuum of services, program articulation|
|• Assessment||• Align with curriculum and instruction
• Assess students both formally and informally
• Employ Multi-faceted student assessment
• Design effective program assessment
• Use assessment data to improve instruction and/or program
|• Parent and Community Involvement||• Include Broad Based Planning Committee members on School Improvement Teams
• Communicate corporation vision and goals with BBPC
|• Technology||• Participate in Listservs
• Use IDOE website
• Provide challenge and natural differentiation with technology learning “tools”
• Incorporate into Professional Development plan
|• Professional Development||• Integrate with district vision, school plans, and gifted/talented program
• Differentiate by readiness, interest and preferred ways of learning