Southern Lehigh's Gifted Mission Statement:
To serve students whose needs require enrichment, extension, and acceleration beyond the regular, differentiated classroom.
To cultivate interest, capacity, and skills necessary for independent, intellectual inquiry and life-long learning.
To encourage freedom of thought, creative expression, and educational risk taking.
The Definition of Gifted:
As per the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (Chapter 16) Website…
Mentally gifted is defined as outstanding intellectual and creative ability the
development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program. (22 Pa. Code §16.1)
The Southern Lehigh School District provides the following (22 Pa. Code §16.2)
(1) Services and programs planned, developed and operated for the identification and evaluation of each gifted student.
(2) Gifted education for each gifted student which is based on the unique needs of the student, not solely on the student’s classification.
(3) Gifted education for gifted students which enables them to participate in acceleration or enrichment programs, or both, as appropriate, and to receive services according to their intellectual and academic abilities and needs.
Gifted Screening and Evaluation Process:
The Gifted Program is a special part of the overall educational program for children identified by a Certified School Psychologist as mentally gifted. Identification is based on a multi-criteria evaluation that includes building level evaluations of academic performance and teacher observations, along with a norm-referenced achievement and reasoning quotients assessment administered by school personnel. If a child meets the minimum requirements at the building level gifted screening, individual achievement and intelligence testing is performed by a school psychologist. Students may be referred for screening by a teacher and/or this screening may be requested in written form by a parent. Once a student is identified, a team of parents and school personnel called a “G.I.E.P. Team” meets and agrees upon individual goals and specially designed instruction for that student.
Gifted Program Opportunities at Various Grade Levels:
At Southern Lehigh the gifted program allows for…
- Activities to increase higher level thinking, evaluation, and memory skill
- Additional technology components
- Independent interest driven research projects
- Deeper understanding of giftedness
In our K - 3 elementary schools students participate in small group, collaborative pull-out class once per cycle using creative and divergent problem-solving derived from current events and/or STEM-type scenarios. The Gifted teacher also creates differentiated units for use in the regular education classroom in order to meet the needs of our gifted students curricular strengths, as determined by pre and post tests.
At the Intermediate School our 4th and 5th grade students participate in a pull out program that is project based and differentiated for academic strengths. Our 6th grade students come together for their communication block and receive instruction based on academic strengths. In the area of mathematics this grade begins our regular education differentiation by ability so that all students are instructed in the mathematics at their assessed level.
At the Middle School, in grade 7 the gifted students are grouped together for a reading/language art block, which is taught by the gifted support teacher. The gifted academic literacy course provides curriculum enrichment and acceleration for the identified student based upon the gifted IEP goals. Students participate in activities that increase higher level comprehension, memory, evaluation skills, study skills, and convergent and divergent thinking abilities. Students are offered opportunities to participate in independent, interest driven research projects. In the gifted language arts portion of the block, gifted students are taught the same curriculum as students taking the honors level language arts class, however, the gifted class moves at a rigorous, fast pace. The course reaches beyond basic skills and focuses on higher level tasks in writing, grammar, vocabulary, and oral communication. The teacher of the gifted also pushes in to the science classes to enrich the curriculum when necessary.
High School (9-12)
At the High School our program changes once again. Our regular education program offers Honors, AP and Dual Enrollment opportunities that meet the needs of our gifted students. In addition to these classes we also offer Gifted Seminars.
The Gifted Seminars, do not have to be taken in order. Students may take each section one time throughout their high school career. Gifted Seminar is a half-year elective open to student identified as gifted learners who have had a GIEP at some point in their SLSD career. In this course, emphasis is placed on activities to explore creativity and originality, independent project development and completion based on student interest, and discussion and problem solving geared toward the development of higher level thinking skills.