Overview of Gifted Services in Arlington Public Schools
Arlington Public Schools is dedicated to maximizing the strengths and potential of all students so they may become self-confident, well-rounded, responsible and productive citizens. Believing that each and every individual has merit, we recognize that certain learners within the school population have unique abilities, interests, needs and potential for accomplishment. These characteristics necessitate systematic, continuous services to present unique and appropriately differentiated curricula and learning opportunities responsive to individual learning rates, styles, and interests. Gifted students need opportunities to think abstractly, work at various rates and levels of complexity, and pursue tasks independently. In addition, students eligible for gifted services need opportunities to learn with others of like abilities, as well as opportunities to develop social relationships with others of all abilities.
The Office of Gifted Services reflects this philosophy and complies with Virginia Regulations Governing Educational Services for Gifted Students based on the following concepts:
- Giftedness is developmental; it is potential which must be nourished;
- Gifted students share some characteristics with all other children; and
- There is variability among the gifted.
The gifted services eligibility process identifies students in the following areas.
- Specific Academic Aptitude: students with specific aptitudes inthe academic areas of mathematics, science, English, social studies
- Visual/Performing Arts Aptitude: students with specific aptitudes in visual art and/or instrumental or vocal music areas
The goals of Gifted Services include the following:
- Identify students in grades K-12 in Specific Academic Aptitude(s) and Visual/Performing Arts Aptitude;
- Provide appropriate differentiated services based on information provided in the identification process to meet the identified student’s unique learning needs;
- Train teachers and other professional educators who instruct gifted students in learning characteristics and behaviors of gifted children and differentiation of content, skills, activities, and product development;
- Encourage involvement of parents and the community-at-large in the educational program of gifted students.
For information on Arlington Public School’s Gifted Services, visit: APS Gifted Services Website Link
How Can a Resource Teacher for the Gifted Benefit Our School?
On a school-wide level, the Resource Teacher for the Gifted helps to:
- Coordinate the gifted identification process for students who are referred for services
- Provide staff development about gifted education, differentiation, critical and creative thinking, etc.
- Serve as Gifted Services liaison
- Disseminate information to staff about gifted conferences / workshops
- Oversee the application process for gifted summer programs
A Gifted Resource Teacher can benefit teachers by helping to:
- Plan/collaborate on lesson or unit development
- Provide and model strategies for differentiating curriculum and instruction for highly able and identified gifted students
- Gather resources to supplement and extend classroom lessons
- Teach whole-class “thinking tools” lessons specific to applicable topics
- Instruct small groups for special projects or extension lessons
- Help coordinate class activities, field trips, or speakers
- Provide support for parent contacts and conferences
A Gifted Resource Teacher can benefit students and parents by working to:
- Assist with the needs of individual students
- Provide guidance regarding summer programs
- Inform families about community resources and opportunities
- Communicate with parents about gifted services
Gifted Services Educators
Elizabeth Mejia and Kia Kinsler
A message from Kia Kinsler:
As an elementary educator, my role is to ensure each student feels safe and accepted as he or she learns, grows, and takes academic risks. By providing a supportive, caring, and structured environment deeper thinking and learning will take place and classroom community will be strengthened with each new day. I am excited about continuing this mission with Barcroft’s amazing team of teachers, administrators, staff members, parents, and community members to work together so our students can work hard, get smart, and have fun! For the past 10 years I have taught multiple elementary school grades and happily serve students and teachers as the Resource Teacher for Gifted Services. On my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my husband and children, visiting new museums, exercising, dining out, collecting Wizard of Oz Memorabilia, and exploring the many parks and outdoor spaces that Arlington has to offer. One book that reveals something about me is Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Not only does this book explore the unknown, it challenges conformity, touches on human values such as love, grief, joy, pain, and sacrifice. I enjoy reading this book as much as possible as it provides many life lessons for all: There’s value in the uniqueness of every individual, true love and sacrifice go hand in hand, and if at first you don’t succeed try and try again. These life lessons will help to prepare our kids to live their best lives. Very much looking forward to an amazing year!