How Can I Support My Gifted and Talented Child?

What is Gifted and Talented Education?

If you have a child who is advanced or displays special leadership skills compared to students of his or her age, then he or she may be eligible for a school’s Gifted and Talented (G/T) Education Program. The purpose of a G/T program is to provide intelligent, curious students with an education that meets his/ her needs and challenges their growth. The goal of G/T is to develop students who exhibit self-direction, research, and communication skills that reflect individuality and creativity. It is important to know that there are a wide range of students who classify as G/T, and a child can be G/T even if he/she does not make good grades.

How Does My Child Qualify for G/T?

In Texas, schools start evaluating for G/T abilities in Kindergarten and continue through 12th Grade. Each district has different schedules and procedures for this evaluation, but it will take place at least once a year. Your child’s test should be conducted in the easiest language for them to speak.
To be evaluated, a student must typically be nominated by a teacher, parent, community member, or school staff. Sometimes school districts even allow schoolmates or the student to make the nomination. Parents can call their school campus or school district to learn about the process and timeframe for nomination and testing.
There is currently no formal test to qualify as a G/T student. In general, G/T children score in the 90th percentile or higher on the state-approved achievement test or the 90th percentile or higher on the state- approved ability test. They must also meet certain criteria in teacher evaluations and surveys. If your child is eligible for G/T, you will be notified and must approve for your child to participate in these programs. Below are some key differences between children who are bright and those who are gifted:

What Will My Child Learn in G/T?

Depending on the programs offered in your child’s school district, the G/T curriculum will vary. Some programs are individualized, meaning that your child’s teacher will approach each student with a unique way to pursue his/her learning according to the grade level that he or she is at academically. An effective G/T program will consider and pursue all possibilities for your child, ensuring that his/her education is challenging and their learning is limitless.
Additionally, some school districts offer special clusters of curriculum that your child can be part of. If your district offers this, your child’s G/T curriculum will be specialized based on if he/she tests into a certain G/T category. For example, your child may have above average intellectual ability or may be more creative. Ideally, his/her learning will be tailored to which type of G/T cluster he/she falls into.

How Can I Support My G/T Child?

Sometimes, G/T students feel that their schoolwork is too easy. When this happens, students can become bored, begin to give less effort and be less excited about school. To ensure that your child continues to grow and develop, here are a few things you can do:
  • Have a conversation with your child about the importance of learning.
  • Help your child learn more about things that he/she finds interesting.
  • Help your child stay organized.
  • Have your child come up with solutions to problems to develop his/her critical thinking skills.
  • Involve your child in programs that allow him/her to discover personal abilities, explore new academic challenges, and celebrate accomplishments. One program that does this is Duke TIP – to participate in this program, make sure that your child takes the PSAT in 4th grade and the ACT in the 7th grade. For more information on this program and scholarships available, check out their website: tiedup.duke.
If you think your child may be eligible for G/T based on his/her performance, contact your district or school to check their evaluation policies.

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