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What’s the best way to make sure my gifted child gets the proper education?

Ana Ribeiro

The Academically and Intellectually Gifted program (or AIG for short), developed and approved in 1997, is offered by both New Hanover and Pender school districts.

The program aims to provide services for students who perform or show the potential to perform at substantially higher levels of achievement compared with others of their age, experience or environment. School officials look at a variety of factors, including student performance on yearly N.C. testing scores.

To select students for the program, school faculty looks at five factors: aptitude and achievement, judged by scores from standardized tests; performance in math or reading; observable student behavior; interest; and motivation (judged by the child’s teacher and parent). The school conducts formal and informal assessments to help determine ongoing needs.

In the lower grades, AIG criteria are the same for all schools, but implementation varies, as teachers tailor classes to the students’ needs.

At the high school level, rigorous Advanced Placement courses are available, as well as early college programs that place students in a college setting and allow them to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

For more information on AIG programs in New Hanover County, contact Diane Flagler, Coordinator of Gifted Education Services, at (910) 254-4333, or via e-mail at dflagler@nhcs.k12.nc.us. For information on the Pender County program, contact Molly White, K-8 Director of Student Learning and Assessment , (910) 663-3542, or Bobby Hudspeth, 9-12 Director of Student Learning and Assessment, (910) 663-3544.

The gifted program in Brunswick County Schools starts in fourth grade, according to Connie Enis, the schools’ curriculum coordinator. The factors used to determine whether a child is eligible for the gifted program include an evaluation of overall academic performance, specific testing at the end of third grade and teacher recommendations, Enis said.

In rare cases, younger children with an extremely high intellect may be placed in a fourth-grade gifted class for a period of time, she said. Although the school system doesn’t conduct testing for gifted students until third grade, parents may seek out private tests from psychologists or psychiatrists. The county school system uses the CogAt (Cognitive Abilities Test) and ITBS (Iowa Tests of Basic Skills) and also honors the results obtained when those tests are given privately, Enis said.

Students from grades K-12 can take the CogAt, while the ITBS targets students from K-8.

For more information on Brunswick County Schools’ gifted program, contact Connie Enis at (910) 253-2913 or at cenis@bcswan.net.

Chelsea Kellner of the StarNews contributed to this post.

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Stephanie Norman

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2 Responses to “ What’s the best way to make sure my gifted child gets the proper education?”

  1. On October 21, 2010 at 6:18 am anne russell wrote:

    Great post! Good information. Lets us know the public school emphasis in NHC is not only on “the least of these” but also on those with the most potential for achievement. My grandmother, who was state president of NC PTAs, told me when I was young, “Anne, some people are racehorses who go fast and some are mules who do the heavy lifting, and we need both kinds in this world, and each should be treated differently, according to their needs.” Glad our schools recognize this, and I hope more voc ed emphasis is on the horizon, especially for those who have excellent mechanical potential but are not great scholars.

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