School board members express concern at lack of gifted education services

by Kim Robins - Posted on Jul 02, 2013 - 02:50 PM

Gloucester School Board members expressed concerns about the lack of educational services for gifted children, especially at the elementary level, during a June 25 board work session.

In her presentation on gifted education, Bess Worley, an instructional supervisor with the school division’s gifted education department, discussed the process of identifying gifted students and serving them.

Worley said grouping by ability was used primarily in math and reading for elementary students, but staffing reductions limit the division’s ability to teach small groups. She said more advanced assignments and differentiated instruction is also used. For older gifted students, she said the emphasis is on advanced content or courses and differentiated classroom instruction.

Board members Carla Hook and Kim Hensley expressed concern that these strategies were not being carried out, especially at the elementary level, where gifted children are usually first identified. "My concern is we’ve gone too far in one direction and we’re not providing any services for our gifted learners," Hook said.

"As it stands right now, we have absolutely no differentiated instruction for our gifted kids at all. I think we’re seriously underserving this population. I really think we need a whole new approach," said Hook, adding her observation was that "everyone generally just moves along together."