Referral for Identification
In order to begin the process for a student’s potential gifted or talent identification, a referral may be initiated by students, parents, teachers, other district personnel, a community member, or peer. Gifted students strengths usually lie in specific areas – they need not be gifted across the board to be considered gifted. The student may be determined to be gifted in one or more of seven recognized areas of giftedness: General Intellectual Ability, Specific Academic Aptitude, Leadership, Psychomotor, Dance, Visual Arts, and Drama. It is also possible for gifted students to have a disability in addition to their strength(s), in which case they are referred to as twice exceptional. Each gifted student is unique, and may or may not readily demonstrate his/her strengths in the classroom for various reasons.
The individual who is referring the student for testing is responsible for filling out the required referral forms and submitting the completed forms to the district Gifted Education Coordinator at the school of attendance.
After a student has been referred, the gifted education team will review the referral documents and make one of three decisions:
- Request for an Evaluation from the parent/guardian
- Decline to Evaluate
- Place student on Watch: RtI or MTSS strength-based plan to develop skills and re-evaluate at a determined time
Upon request for an evaluation, the parents will receive notification and will either give written permission for formal testing or decline to move forward with the identification process.
Body of Evidence Required for Identification
Colorado Department of Education rules state, “Any program that involves the participation of gifted and talented children must use comprehensive and multiple methods for identifying and assessing the needs of those children. No child shall be denied participation in a program on the basis of a single criterion.” As such, every child considered for gifted education programming in the Mount Evans BOCES will have a Body of Evidence (BOE) to support instructional programming. Multiple points of data will be taken into consideration and may include: cognitive scores, achievement scores, portfolios, individual work samples, parent and teacher observation forms, and other artifacts demonstrating achievement and/or behaviors that build a BOE.
State of Colorado Body of Evidence Chart
In Putting the Puzzle Together: Colorado Department of Education Gifted Education Guidelines (2012), the following visual shows sample evidence collected in the four areas. Please note that the data collection instruments used by the districts within the Mount Evans BOCES may differ from these, listed as examples by the Colorado Department of Education on their website. Collection of data and artifacts occur on an ongoing basis. Additional supporting data may be collected during the school year in which the students are screened.
Identification Criteria for an Advanced Learning Plan-All identification criteria are posted on the Mount Evans BOCES’ website.
Eligibility for Gifted and Talented Program
Once the BOE is complete, an Eligibility Team reviews the BOE and determines gifted status. The Eligibility Team may include the school principal or principal designee and 2 or more of the following: classroom teacher, gifted education coordinator, school counselor, parents or guardians, and the student. At least one member of the Eligibility Team must be highly qualified in Gifted Education.
Formal notification of the determination, along with a copy of the BOE outlining the criteria for determination, is mailed to the parents. The parents will also receive a phone call from the district’s gifted education coordinator to explain the eligibility team findings and discuss next steps.
If it is determined that the student meets the criteria for gifted education programming, a meeting is scheduled to obtain signed permission and to draft an Advanced Learning Plan. Consent must be signed in order to create an ALP. A parent may decline to provide consent.
The ALP is a written report which includes information about the student’s areas of strength and what curriculum and programming options will be provided to match these strengths at tiers 2 (targeted) and 3 (intensive). It describes the differentiation methods to be used for acceleration, depth and complexity, higher order thinking skills and content extensions. Student goals for achievement in the identified area(s) and affective growth are included in the ALP. The student, parent, teacher, gifted education personnel, and any other personnel responsible for providing services sign the ALP.
The date of the initial ALP conference, and the date that the annual review will be scheduled are documented on the ALP. The annual review will take place no later than one year from the date the ALP was written. The BOCES recommends that reviews take place either in the spring or the fall with progress monitoring at natural reporting times, including parent/teacher conferences.
If a child comes from another Colorado public school district with complete identification, he/she is identified according to state rules and regulations and portability of identification will be granted.
If coming to our area from out of state, the former district should be able to provide official documentation of eligibility and the criteria/testing that were used in the identification process. Information should also include the student’s areas of strength and the nature of the programming services provided to the child in the former district. If this documentation and criteria align with Colorado and Mount Evans BOCES guidelines, it will be included in the child’s Body of Evidence. Keep in mind, additional testing or other assessments to complete a Body of Evidence may be required to meet state guidelines. *A student whose body of evidence does not meet the Colorado state identification criteria may be reassessed to verify eligibility and placed in the program if the criteria are met.
Removal from Gifted Education Program
Parents may elect to remove their student from gifted education services at any time by putting their request in writing to the Assistant Director of the Mount Evans BOCES in charge of Gifted Education or the Executive Director of the Mount Evans BOCES.
For more information please contact:
Rebecca Odegard-Siegele, M.S, Ed.S.