Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ)
May 17, 2006
Author: Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 3

About 7 percent of Arizona's 1 million school-age children are classified as gifted and qualify for special services under state law.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about gifted education.

Question: How can I tell if my child is gifted?

Answer: There is no single definition, but your child could be gifted if he or she shows strong verbal or math skills at an early age, an ability to reason abstractly and a long attention span. Gifted children are often creative, inquiring, sensitive and expressive. The best way to determine whether your child is eligible for gifted services is to have your child tested.

Q: How do I get gifted services for my child?

A: The school district must provide services if your child scores in the 97th percentile or higher on one of 27 state-approved tests that measure reasoning abilities. Some districts have more lenient cut-offs. Contact your school or school district for information. School districts offer testing at least three times a year. Testing is free if your child attends public schools. There may be a cost if your child is in private schools.

Q: How do I find out about gifted programs?

A: Contact your school principal or school district. Many districts have the information on their Web sites or offer brochures.

Q: What if I don't like the programs offered at my school?

A: Check with another school or school district. Many districts and schools will accept children from outside their boundaries through an application process called open enrollment. Some caveats: The program must have room, and parents often have to provide their own transportation if they live outside school boundaries.

Q: What are examples of gifted programs available for elementary students?

A: Pullouts/replacement of services: Students go to a separate classroom to work with a gifted teacher for reading and math.

Clustering: Gifted students are grouped together in a regular classroom and given more challenging assignments.

Self-contained gifted classes: All gifted students are in one class.

Q: What about gifted programs in junior high and high school?

A: The most common offerings in middle school are advanced classes.
Enrollment isn't limited to gifted students. High schools offer honors and Advanced Placement courses, and some high schools have the rigorous International Baccalaureate or IB, programs. Many high schools also offer dual enrollment in which students can get community college level credit without leaving their high schools.

Examples of gifted

Here are some examples of what Arizona gifted children are capable of:

* Some students in the Isaac School District in Phoenix leave the eighth grade ready to take college-level math.

* A sixth-grader in Scottsdale is taking a high school algebra class online and told his teacher the class is easy. He was motivated and wanted to do the class on his own. His parents didn't suggest it.

* A sixth-grader in Scottsdale thinks poetically and writes poems when he responds to a written questions in class.

* Several gifted sixth-graders are reading the adult bestseller The Da Vinci Code in preparation for the movie release.

* A 16-year-old student in Paradise Valley began taking college classes at age 12 and has taken courses in the Arabic, Pima and Navajo languages.

Gifted spending

Isaac School District

Gifted students: 174.

Amount from the state: $10,467.

District supplement: District pays salaries of four gifted teachers and pays
to bus gifted children to special programs. Total unavailable Tuesday.

Paradise Valley Unified

Gifted students: About 2,500.

Amount from state: $44,000.

District supplement: $1 million.

Per-student spending: $417.

Tempe Elementary

Gifted students: 547.

Amount from state: $16,000.

District supplement: About $580,000.

Per-student funding: $1,090.

Scottsdale Unified

Gifted students: 3,515.

Amount from state: $33,329.

District supplement: $1.3 million.

Per-student funding: $379.

Local school districts

Sidebar to: "Schools may get more aid for the gifted"

Reach the reporter at (602) 444-8072.

CAPTION: Comparing bright kids, gifted kids
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Front
Page: A10

Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the
permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: pho137251826

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