ABSOLUTELY! GT programming is WAY more necessary than many people realize!
Here are three reasons why:
1. To meet the diverse academic, social, and emotional needs of GT students
Contrary to what many may believe, gifted and talented students will NOT be “fine” if left to learn on their own. Like all students, they deserve an education that challenges them to new levels of understanding, inquiry and discovery. They deserve time and instruction from their teachers, just like other students do. Being gifted does not mean that these children already know everything or are adept at learning independently. It means that they have the capacity to learn faster, deeper, and wider. Many gifted children spend the majority of their days sitting in classrooms, listening to information they already know. It is the duty of GT Coordinators, in collaboration with classroom teachers, to provide instruction, resources, and opportunities that result in academic, social, and emotional growth. These children need to be taught how to advocate for themselves, with the goal of eventually driving their own educational paths, which is the true meaning of personalized learning.
Consider this. When the needs of gifted children are not met, one or more of the following are likely to occur:
Perfectionism Acting out Underachievement Stress Negative self-image Depression Isolation Self-mutilation Severe identity issues Dropping out Not attending college Suicide
2. To prepare these young people to make the world a better place
Gifted children have the potential to make a difference in our world. We need to take advantage of this under-used resource. These students think on another level, make deep, meaningful connections, and really push the boundaries of the status quo when given the chance. Let’s encourage all students, not just the GT, to master the art of critical and creative thinking, innovation, problem solving, and risk taking. The results will be astounding!
3. It’s the law!
Wisconsin Statute 121.02(1)(t): Each school board shall provide access to an appropriate program for pupils identified as gifted and talented.
Wisconsin Statute: s. 118.35, Wis. Stats. Programs for gifted and talented pupils.
- In this section, “gifted and talented pupils” means pupils enrolled in public schools who give evidence of high performance capability in intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or specific academic areas and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided in a regular school program in order to fully develop such capabilities.
- The state superintendent shall by rule establish guidelines for the identification of gifted and talented pupils.
- Each school board shall:
a) Ensure that all gifted and talented pupils enrolled in the school district have access to a program for gifted and talented pupils.
- From appropriations under s. 20.255(2)(FY), the department shall award grants to nonprofit organizations, cooperative educational service agencies (CESAs), institutions within the University of Wisconsin System, and the school district operating under ch. 119 for the purpose of providing to gifted and talented pupils those services and activities not ordinarily provided in a regular school program that allow such pupils to fully develop their capabilities. https://dpi.wi.gov/gifted/laws
Gifted students are not asking for preferential treatment. They deserve what every student deserves: engaging, appropriate educational challenges that allow them to grow and inspire them to reach new heights.