Gifted Education in Greater Victoria School District
Through the differentiation in heterogeneous classrooms, students who are designated as gifted will be provided with a wide variety of learning opportunities which will enable them to discover, develop and celebrate their strengths, talents, and sustained interests. The instructional planning for students who are designated as gifted is the responsibility of the classroom teacher with support from the school, the district, the home and the community. As stated in the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Policies and Procedures Manual, “The Ministry expects that, with sufficient training and experience, classroom teachers will be capable of including most students who are gifted, and providing a program in which they can be successful, provided that specialized support is available when needed.”
In order to enable all students to meet their potential, schools should develop a profile of the student’s strengths, talents and interests and develop programming which reflects each student’s uniqueness. The teacher assigned responsibility for gifted education (the Contact Teacher) will generally be responsible for identification processes and will primarily work in a collaborative manner to support the classroom teacher in providing differentiated opportunities.
In the Greater Victoria School District’s Elementary Schools, the support for identified Gifted students can take many forms. As indicated in the Roles and Responsibilities section, the classroom teacher is responsible for developing educational programs for all students, including those designated as gifted. Other forms of support, including pull-out support, may be offered, depending on such factors as the number of students identified as Gifted and the availability of support staff.
The Greater Victoria School District conducts annual assessments of suggested Grade 4 and 5 students to identify gifted students in all elementary schools throughout the district. The process uses a combination of identification tools, which not only test the students’ abilities, but also get information from each candidate child’s classroom teacher, the student’s parents/guardians, and the student.
Every Middle School in the Greater Victoria School District has a teacher who has, as part of their teaching duties, responsibility for Gifted education in the school. This teacher is responsible for providing a Gifted education program and development of Gifted students’ Individual Education Plans, in consultation with classroom teachers and parents. The form of this Gifted education support may include support within the regular classroom, special pull-out programs, or a combination of the two.
There are Challenge programs for Gifted and high-achieving students available at Mount Douglas Secondary School and Esquimalt High School. Students apply to participate in these programs and information about these programs is available from these schools.
Roles and Responsibilities
The District will provide the following to enable schools to support students who are gifted:
Formula funding to Elementary and Middle Schools to provide a Gifted Contact Teacher at each school
These positions are 0.1 FTE at Middle School, and are likely to be less in smaller Elementary Schools
Annual orientation sessions for contact teachers new to this area of responsibility
Continued professional development each year in this area
Criterion and norm-referenced assessment tools for the identification of students who are gifted
The Principal is responsible for ensuring the appropriate educational programming is in place for all students. To accommodate students identified as gifted, school-based administrators should actively promote gifted programming by ensuring that:
Adequate identification processes are in place for all grades
Opportunities for differentiated programming in the regular program are available, based on the strengths and needs of the individual identified student
Accommodations are documented in an IEP, as directed by the Ministry
In addition to supporting classroom-based interventions, school-based administrators may wish to consider enabling teachers to use a variety of strategies for students who are gifted, including the following:
Supplementary pull-out program
The Contact Teacher for Gifted Education
The responsibilities of the Contact Teacher include:
Working collaboratively with classroom teachers, to provide support for the design, supervision, and assessment of educational programs for students identified as gifted
Communicating with staff regarding the direction of gifted education
Supporting the process of implementing district directions at the school level
Participating as a member of the school-based team, as required
Coordinating the identification of students who are gifted at all grade levels
Serving as case manager for documenting program modifications and development of IEPs
Attending district-sponsored initiatives related to gifted education
Classroom teachers are responsible for supporting the variety of learning needs of their students, including those identified as gifted. The responsibilities of classroom teachers include:
Designing, supervising and assessing the educational program, in collaboration with the Contact Teacher, the parents, and the student
Participating as a member of the school-based team, when appropriate
Participating in the development and implementation of the IEP
School-Based Team (SBT)
The school-based team is responsible for:
Providing support through consultation on possible strategies for curriculum differentiation
Providing opportunities for case management decisions and referrals
Parental involvement and support are key factors in the educational development of children. The responsibility of parents begins with a commitment to work in partnership with teachers in realizing the child’s potential. Teachers and parents must work cooperatively to ensure appropriate programming for students.
The Greater Victoria School District’s identification process, at the elementary and middle school level, for students displaying aspects of giftedness involves getting input from several sources and a variety of evaluative tools. It is a Ministry of Education and Greater Victoria School District requirement that a Gifted designation be based upon more than a single evaluative tool.
At this time, the Greater Victoria School District uses the following evaluative tools:
- A Student Survey – This is a one-page checklist completed by the student candidate. The focus of this survey is to discover how the students will rate themselves on aspects of Creativity, Task Commitment, Fluency, Flexibility, Imagination, Complexity, Risk-Taking, Originality, Elaboration, and Curiosity.
- A Parent Survey – Like the Student Survey, this is a checklist which investigates the student’s Creativity, Task Commitment, Fluency, Flexibility, Imagination, Complexity, Risk-Taking, Originality, Elaboration, and Curiosity. This is completed by a parent or guardian of the child. In addition to the checklist, this survey also permits parents to write in additional information about the child’s accomplishments.
- A Teacher Survey – This survey is completed by the classroom teacher of the candidate student. This survey is a variation of the Williams Scale. It covers the following areas: Above Average Intelligence, Creativity, Task Commitment, Humour, Motivation, Interests, Expressiveness, Enquiry, and Problem-Solving.
- The Otis-Lennon Test of Scholastic Ability – This is the Series 8 test, which measures scholastic aptitude in such areas as Figural Reasoning, Deductive Reasoning, Pictoral Reasoning, and Pattern Recognition.
It is the combination of a percentile ranking of 97 or higher on the Otis Lennon test, along with supporting high levels in the various areas of the surveys, which produces the designation of Gifted. The Greater Victoria School District has established this set of identification tools to be used as a universal identification process within this district.