Gifted School Chicago Suburbs

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Science & Arts Academy 1825 Miner Street Des Plaines, Illinois 60016 (847) 827-7880 http://www.scienceandartsacademy.org Science & Arts Academy is an independent, non-denominational, co-educational, not-for-profit day school for gifted students in Junior Kindergarten through eighth grade.

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What Parents should Look for in a Gifted Education Program With the beginning of the new school year in 2017 gifted students will be transferring into a different gifted education program in Chicago or starting one that meets their needs. In some cases parents are considering the transfer aspect because they are unhappy with the current curriculum and feel that their child isn’t progressing like they should. No matter what the reason behind the search for a program is the following four elements should be in place prior to making your final decision. All programs must be designed to provide gifted students with multiple options that are based on their individual needs and requirements – for instance these options could include  continuous progress/acceleration  curriculum alternatives  grouping options  mentorships  offline and online programs Counselors should be properly trained and available to deal academically as well as emotionally with gifted students. Comprehensive and equitable identification procedures – the existence of notable achievements and talents as well as the potential for such should be found in different curriculum areas. Instructors should be trained in the identification of characteristics attributed to giftedness while test data should not exclude any students from entering a gifted education program in Chicago. Gifted education course programs should be differentiated based on multiple levels of ability – for a portion of every day gifted students should be homogeneously grouped for participation in a more rigorous curriculum. The program should:  be accelerated and enriched  include individual study topics  incorporate creative and complex thinking skills Most importantly the curriculum should provide the opportunity for authentic or real applications through the development of products that can be used in a particular topic area or field of study.

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Staff members who are responsible for running a program should be thoroughly trained in gifted education curriculum in Chicago– there are a number of specifics that their training should include such as:  concerns regarding emotional and social awareness  identification processes  individualized assessment procedures  what accommodates the gifted students Although the four points above are brief they provide a broad overview of what a gifted education program in Chicago should be comprised of. There are additional criteria that could be added to this list including how the program could be evaluated and examined for improvement. However though brief in nature it does provide parents with an idea of what they need to look for in a gifted education program. In addition to these four points you should ask for any other pertinent information that may apply and discuss this with the appropriate person. They can recommend the appropriate course of action and suggest any additional steps that need to be taken. If you think there is anything that should be added to the above list make a note of it so you don’t forget to discuss it.

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The Value of Gifted School Curriculums Authorities and professionals in the field of gifted education are always searching for ways to enroll more students in their schools. Rather than simply attaching a label to a student only once their abilities are evaluated at several junctures during their school careers. With the help of applied research that federal gifted education programs have funded in the past we have seen the development numerous identification strategies. This is especially true for those focusing on students from a number of communities that are underrepresented in gifted school programs in Chicago suburbs. What you need to remember is that gifted education is more than simply enrolling a few selected students out of a larger group in advanced courses. An effective program for gifted education curriculums must be comprised of evidence-based options such as ability grouping and grade acceleration that is used in judicious fashion. It might also include the online delivery of supplemental content as well as a number of other such strategies. All of these require the presence of well-trained instructors. Unfortunately most students find themselves in a position where they have to fend for themselves. The Downside Although this may or may not be indicative of the gifted education landscape in general policymakers in certain areas want to know about the applicable data that applies on a national scale. So far they have established the following three points:  Although many students have been identified as gifted by the wealthier suburban school districts relatively few of them are being catered to.  Reporting of gifted school data in Chicago suburbs appears to be inconsistent.  Up to this point in time the available data does not reveal a relationship between the gifted service rate and the growth of the student population. Despite the legal requirements for reporting educational and school data there are still some inconsistencies. However this in no way detracts from the quality of any gifted education programs.

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Role of the Educator Today’s educators play an important role in the identification of gifted children and do so using many tools that are at their disposal. By extending the acquired knowledge that they have the identification process has become relatively easy. They have developed an awareness of a gifted child’s characteristics and by recognizing them can help form educational teams that have the ability to instruct these children. As a result gifted children are able to pursue their development and thrive within their educational environments. It is also possible for educators to discover emerging course curriculums and a provision for specific activities that are more school-like and formal. While some research studies have shown different schools of thought in regards to the definition of “giftedness” they do concur on the fact that the identification of it can occur during the child’s pre-school years.

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Disciplining the Gifted Learner without Arguing Gifted children are oftentimes compared to attorneys. They can argue with you as if they were contesting a case in a courtroom. In most instances the case they argue in favor of is usually their own. They will argue with you about being disciplined going to bed liking or not liking their dinner their punishment the rules and so on. Basically if it’s something they don’t like are unhappy about or want to avoid they’re going to argue with you about it. While it may surprise you how well they can argue with an adult you still have to remain in charge no matter what. Regardless of how intelligent your gifted child is he or she is still a child and needs your guidance. Not only do you need to lay down the rules there must be consequences whenever those rules are broken. Gifted learner experts in Chicago will tell you that even if the child makes a good point as to why they broke the rules they should never be excused for bad behavior. Otherwise they’re in control. Don’t get caught up arguing with the child – this is the tough one of the bunch. If there is one thing a gifted child is good at it’s drawing you into the argument. Regardless of the circumstances you cannot allow this to happen. If they ask questions answer them provided they don’t become argumentative. The best response is to follow through with the intended course of action while setting up a discussion regarding the evening’s debacle for the next day. If the child breaks the rules they should know there will be consequences – while a child may admit to breaking the rules they’ll argue with you about the consequences. They’ll tell you that the consequences aren’t fair or that the rule was unfair to begin with. They have their own sense of justice. Thus you have to make it very clear that there are going to be consequences or punishment for breaking the rules just as there would be in their gifted learner program in Chicago. Once a rule has been broken there can be no negotiating of the consequences. Make your rules explicitly clear – if you have to argue your case with a little attorney you have to start thinking like one. Anticipate the fact that they will find a loophole if one exists. If you tell them to go to bed that’s exactly what they’ll do. However since you didn’t say “cover up and go to sleep” or “no playing and no TV” that’s the loophole. You have to make them understand the true meaning of “go to bed.” Above all else the important thing is to remain calm but be reasonable yet firm when disciplining when disciplining your child. Avoid being overly aggressive as this can have negative consequences for you.

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Appropriate Instruction in Gifted Learning Programs There are two conflicting schools of thought where gifted education is concerned. On the one hand gifted education is seen as nothing particularly critical or substantial when compared to all mental fare. Conversely there are those who feel gifted education programs should be offered to all students. Unfortunately these two schools of thought stem from those classrooms where gifted learners are not taught appropriately. In gifted school curriculums and instructions in Chicago the way that a student is taught will vary to some degree based on:  the child’s age  the child’s culture  the gender of the child  the student’s style of learning  the subject matter not in all cases The appropriateness of the instruction will also vary for the child who has enjoyed some rich experiences in their lives compared to a child that is an equally capable learner but has not had any truly rich experiences in their lives. Regardless there are generalized indicators and measures for the proper instruction of students that should apply to any gifted school in Chicago: The appropriate teaching pace should be based on the student’s individual needs and requirements – students that are classified or labeled as “gifted” tend to learn at a quicker pace than other students in their age group. It stands to reason then that they need an instructional pace that is more rapid than that of their peers. This is oftentimes referred to as “acceleration” by some educational authorities. Although this makes it sound somewhat risky it is the pace that most gifted learners are comfortable with and what is common in many gifted school curriculums in Chicago. It all starts with good curriculum and instruction – it’s extremely difficult if not near impossible to develop a gifted student’s talents without an appropriate curriculum and proper instruction. As with any other student the gifted learner needs enriched learning experiences. In other words they need an educational experience that’s organized and based on the main concepts and principles of a specific discipline and not one that is based entirely on facts or factual information. They need activities that enable them to process ideas at a higher level as well as content that relates specifically to them.

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The teaching of gifted students involves a greater degree of difficulty – as an example of this consider the more accomplished Olympic divers. The dives that they perform have a higher degree of difficulty than those for the lesser advanced divers. This higher degree of difficulty implies that the content and processes for gifted students should be more abstract complex multi-faceted and open-minded than those for non-gifted students. Furthermore the gifted learner is sometimes but not always afforded the ability to function more independently than non-gifted learners.

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