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5 Tips for Choosing a Gifted Program - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

5 Tips for Choosing a Gifted Program

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If you're a parent of a gifted and talented child, ensuring that he or she remains challenged and nurtured in school can be a challenge, especially without a specialized program in place.

At Colorado Springs School District 11, the Gifted and Talented Department offers full-day Gifted Magnet Programs for elementary (grades 3-5) and middle school (grades 6-8) students. The program seeks to ensure that these students continue to grow and optimize their learning potential through personalized programming.

Rebecca Pfingsten, facilitator for D-11's Gifted and Talented (GT) Department, stresses the importance of this kind of programming to the overall well-being of highly able children.

“A good gifted program should meet the social and emotional needs of a gifted child in addition to academics,” Pfingsten says. “Gifted children often demonstrate greater maturity in some domains over others. They can be at greater risk of social and emotional difficulties ­– anxiety, perfectionism, stress ­– if their needs are not met.”

Pfingsten recommends that parents looking at GT programs keep these tips in mind.

1. Do your research thoroughly

First, if your child hasn't been identified as gifted and talented and you think they should be tested, check out the National Association for Gifted Children's website to peruse various indicators.

Check out the information provided by schools online to begin screening options. D-11 maintains information about its GT programs and events on the district website. Schedule visits at schools that seem promising. Have your child shadow a student and explore the school in person, Pfingsten says.

2. Ask questions, questions and more questions

Ask administrators:

• How does your school increase cognitive complexity for gifted children?

“Find a school that shows more time spent working at each child's readiness level and numerous subjects in which advancement is possible. Gifted children are often beyond the regular curriculum,” says Pfingsten.

• How does the school monitor a student's progress during the year?

Focus on schools that provide consistent assessment of high-performing students and use the results to help ensure the child is continually growing. Avoid schools that provide assessments only at the end of the year or do not make changes based on a student's progress.

• How are students challenged when classwork is complete?

 “Gifted children need a hefty toolbox of thinking techniques to ensure success and satisfaction,” says Pfingsten. Look for schools that emphasize research, creative and critical writing and projects and exercises designed to teach analytic and conceptual thinking.

3. Make it a point to meet other parents at the school

Parents of gifted children can help answer your questions and provide support. “Meeting other parents of gifted children can be a wonderful way to share in the joys and challenges of raising a gifted child,” Pfingsten says.

4. Communicate with the school and teachers

Once your child is enrolled, keep the lines of communication open with the school and be a partner to your child's teacher

“Often, schools do not provide teacher candidates with ample strategies in how to deliver instruction for a high-ability or gifted thinker,” says Pfingsten. “Many teachers relish the chance to work with families to discover how better to meet a child's needs in the classroom.”

5. Pay close attention to registration dates

Gifted and Talented programs fill quickly, so keep track of application deadlines. Application for D-11's Gifted Magnet Program for grades 3 – 5 are due April 24, 2015.

Attend our information nights:

March 10, 2015, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Stratton Elementary School

March 12, 2015, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Fremont Elementary School

Download applications from the Gifted and Talented area of the D-11 website .

Did you know that Colorado School District 11 offers more choices for parents and students than any other school district in Colorado Springs? We prepare every student for a world yet to be imagined. Connect with us on Facebook #CSSD11 and Twitter @CSSD11 and visit our website.

This article was produced for and sponsored by Colorado Springs School District 11. It is not a product of or affiliated with KOAA News 5.



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