I have continued to ponder my idea of how we screen for gifted education. Here are just a few more random ideas that have swirled into my brain since having a little bit of time to process things from the NAGC conference.
1. What is your vision? I think that before you begin the screening process you have a specific vision for your gifted program. Many times schools and districts have a very general and vague vision or explanation. This needs to change. Are you focused on high intellect and academic rigor pushing students to new levels? Are you more concerned with Talent Development? Are you focusing on a more special education mindset where you look for something in particular that needs to be identified and worked on? Are you more interested in a holistic, whole child approach? Are you looking for just the top 3-5% of you overall population looking to expose them to various activities? Are you a combination?
Whatever it is you want you must have it clear cut and defined. Without a specific vision, then how can you cater the screening to meet your needs. Often times the vision is blurry and perhaps your screening process is not accurate enough to your goals.
2. This new screening concept eliminate the 5% or 10% rule many schools use. By giving anyone an opportunity to apply, then this opens things up to people who might not be good test takers. Additionally, schools are no longer looking for a set number. Instead it allows schools to look for key things/skills/abilities and work with kids who need the help. You may only have one or two students at this grade level and maybe much more a different level. The whole notion of meeting quota to meet quota goes away. This is good. No longer will there be kids involved in a program that really does not suit their needs. This then prevents a dummying down approach that must be implemented as you have students in a program that don’t belong. This allows the system to identify a need and meet that need.
3. This involves more than one day of screening. My key idea revolves around this one day of fun, creative play and screening, but the process is much more. Planning, preparing, training for the day takes time. Interviewing parents and teachers take time. Gathering the resumes and portfolios prior to the day takes time. Ensuring that you have the standardized test data takes time. Taking to reflect,discuss, and monitor takes time. This is a highly involved process, but one where I believe eliminates pressure and stress on a student.
4. The issue of screening times and dates. I keep coming back to this. With the process being so involved it is something that cannot be done very often. Looking at a three year process or something along those lines will be needed. I need to work through move ins. Can there be a stripped down approach that can be used in a pinch? I think so, but not sure how it all works and if the stripped down approach works, then why go all intensive?
Alright, just more ideas. I need a day to just work through this and sketch up the ideas into a more cohesive structure. I am still playing catch up from being gone for 4 days. Once I do that and have time I will begin to develop this in more detail.