Gifted Programs: Elem, MS, HS

Elementary Gifted

Andover’s elementary schools offer a rich array of services for students identified as gifted, providing learning experiences to facilitate each student’s growth as a self-directed, lifelong learner. The Andover School District supports gifted education by providing two full-time gifted education specialists to cover six elementary schools.  ELP students at the elementary level are provided 30 minutes of service, 5 days a week.

ELP (Extended Learning Program) provides challenging instruction that is unique in content and process; provides opportunities for students to further develop problem solving skills, critical and creative thinking skills, research skills, and technology skills; allows students to pursue individual interests; and addresses social-emotional needs of gifted students.

ELP is taught through Project Based Learning (PBL).  This is a shift from the teacher centered model of teaching to the student centered model of learning. PBL is activity based and structured around the students taking responsibility for their own learning.  The following is a list of possible activities in which identified students may be asked to participate:

·         Multiple Intelligences

·         Learning Styles

·         Student Centered Learning

·         Meaningful and Authentic Tasks

·         Higher Order Thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation)

·         Concrete/hands on learning

·         Cross Curricular Integration

Middle School Gifted

Andover middle schools offer a rich array of services for students identified as gifted learners, including individual consultations with the gifted education specialist in various grades, access to beneficial resources, and Individualized Education Program (IEP) development.

Students who have been identified as gifted learners in an Andover elementary school are automatically enrolled in gifted class when they enter middle school. Students transferring from other districts within Kansas who have previously received gifted education services should notify the registrar when enrolling.  They should have copies of their IEP, placement testing results and other official documents forwarded to the middle school. ELP at the middle school includes activities that provide gifted students the opportunity to identify, develop, and expand their interests and strengths. The program at the middle school level is designed to address the intellectual, academic, social, and emotional needs of each student. Most activities are individualized and self-paced in accordance with the students' Individualized Education Programs (IEP).

ELP activities are designed around several broad areas: problem solving skills, critical and creative thinking skills, research skills, leadership skills, technology skills and social/emotional development. Emphasis is placed on managing and optimizing personal strengths and interests.

Ultimately, ELP provides opportunities for young people to be themselves and grow individually. Through all of this, the gifted facilitator focuses on the needs of the whole student with all of his/her strengths, talents, and challenges.

General education curriculum differentiation in middle school is a systemic approach to meet the individual needs of all students. In middle school general education classes, differentiation strategies might include adjusting questions, compacting curriculum, tiered assignments, acceleration/deceleration, flexible ability grouping, independent study, learning contracts, and a variety of other possibilities.  It is realistic to expect that your child can experience differentiated work at various times in his/her general education courses, but it is unrealistic to expect teacher to differentiate all work for all students.

ELP encourages students identified as gifted to challenge themselves academically.  For many students identified as gifted, this means that they should be taking several advanced courses each year.  Each family needs to determine which classes are appropriate for the child based on the student’s needs and other circumstances or commitments that may exist.

High School Gifted

The Andover High Schools offer a variety of services for students identified as gifted, including individual consultations with the Gifted Education Facilitator, small group meetings, personalized curricula, and Individualized Education Program (IEP) development.

General education curriculum differentiation in high school is a systemic approach to meet the individual needs of all students, specifically providing appropriately challenging curricula for gifted students.  Differentiation is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of instructional strategies focused on varying the complexity or difficulty of the material to be learned.  In high school general education classes, differentiation strategies might include adjusting questions, compacting curriculum, tiered assignments, acceleration/deceleration, flexible ability grouping, independent study, learning contracts, and a wide variety of other possibilities.  It is realistic to expect that your child can experiences differentiated work at various times in his/her general education courses, but it is unrealistic to expect teacher to differentiate all work for all students.

The Andover Education Program believes that students identified as gifted should adequately challenge themselves academically.  For most students identified as gifted, this means that they should be taking several honors  or Advanced Placement courses each year.  Each family needs to determine which classes are appropriate for the child based on any other extenuating circumstances or other commitments that may exist.