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Regulations Governing Educational Services for Gifted Students [8 VAC 20 ‑ 40]
Action Revision of regulations school divisions must meet in their gifted education programs, K - 12
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 9/26/2008
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9/26/08  11:41 am
Commenter: Anna Cassalia, Teacher Old Donation Center *

Do Not Approve Proposed Gifted Reguations-Virginia Can Do Better for Gifted Students
 

I am a teacher in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools.  I have taught in other states and know Virginia is a leader in the field of education, especially gifted education.  I have been to various national gifted conferences and have been asked by those in other states to help them understand what makes Virginia so exceptional in gifted education.  We can continue to strive and do what's right for gifted children, or we can approve the propsed gifed regulations and take a giant leap backwards. 

We are currently facing world problems we have never seen before.  Please take into consideration our most promising future leaders, thinkers, and problem solvers.

Before making this vital decision please research best practices in teaching and learning.  Then compare them to what is suggested below by Kelly Hedrick, Director or Gifted Education in Virginia Beach.  I think you will find that her recommendations do infact support the current research in the field ofgifted education. 

1.      As the Director of Gifted Education in VBCPS, I do not support the following definitions outlined in the proposed regulations. I recommend the modification of the definitions in the proposed regulations with the changes noted below.

as defined by one or more of the following: English/ language arts, mathematics, history/social science, or science

·         I recommend the identification and placement committee be changed to: identification and placement committee(s)

·         I recommend a change to: “Referral” means the formal and direct process that parents/guardians, teachers, professionals, students, peers, self, or others use to request that a student be assessed for gifted education program services.

·         I recommend a change to: Screening is the annual process of creating a pool for potential candidates K-12 using multiple criteria through the referral process, review of current assessment data, or information from other sources. Screening is the active search for students who are then referred for the formal identification process.

·         I recommend a change to: Service options means the instructional approaches, settings, and staffing selected for the delivery of appropriate service or services provided to eligible students based on their assessed needs in their areas of strength.

 

2.      I do not support the annual review of achievement data on all children K-12, but recommend maintaining review of student achievement data at key points throughout the K-12 continuum.

 

3.      I recommend a change to:  School divisions may identify and serve gifted students in career and technical aptitude or visual or performing arts aptitude.

 

4.      I recommend a change to: Some data used in the screening process may be incorporated into multiple criteria reviewed by the designated identification and placement committee to determine eligibility, but those data shall not replace norm-referenced aptitude test data.  

 

5.      I do not support the acceptance of referrals beginning at kindergarten. The proposed regulation fails to adequately ensure equity and excellence for all students with the potential for gifted identification. I recommend school divisions have the option of providing gifted services on a regular basis in the primary grades (K-2) or beginning the screening, referral, and gifted identification processes.

 

6.      I recommend a change to Paragraph C: These uniform procedures shall permit referrals from school personnel, parents/guardians, teachers, professionals, students, peers, self, or others.

 

7.      I do not support inclusion of a person on the eligibility who “knows the child” due to the costly nature of such a regulation in large school divisions with centralized eligibility committees such as the one in VBCPS. Students in VBCPS are best served if the school division maintains a citywide gifted eligibility committee to ensure ongoing referral and identification allowing multiple considerations across the K-12 continuum with consistency possible only with a centralized eligibility committee and continues to use a teacher recommendation form with narrative so that a professional who knows the child has an opportunity to submit information.

 

8.      I recommend a change to the language in the proposed regulations related to identification and placement committee …change to: A designated identification and placement committee… Paragraph 2, change to: The committee shall determine the eligibility of each referred student for the school division’s gifted education services.

 

9.      I recommend a change to Paragraph 2: Students who are found eligible by the identification and placement committee shall be offered service options with appropriately differentiated curriculum and instruction by the school division.

 

10.  I recommend a change to Paragraph 5: If a program is designed to address either the visual or performing arts or career and technical aptitude, a portfolio or other performance assessment measure in the specific aptitude area shall be included as part of the data reviewed by the identification and placement committee.

 

11.  I do not support the restricting time frame of 60 days for gifted referral, identification, and placement. This regulation also suggests that a referral may be submitted at anytime and from the time it is submitted, the school division has 60 days to complete referral, identification, and eligibility processes. This is an unreasonable expectation for a large school division the size of VBCPS. Additionally, the structured processes in place in VBCPS that allow for testing in all schools in the division every quarter would have to be abandoned in order to meet the guidelines in the proposed regulations. Such action would limit accessibility and diminish the equity and excellence currently in place in gifted eligibility throughout VBCPS.

 

12.  I oppose the reporting of monitored and assessed outcomes of gifted learners. This would necessitate gifted instruction and achievement measures outside the regular education curriculum. This regulation suggests an IEP-like approach to gifted services which would be detrimental to the existing high quality curriculum, instruction, and assessment currently in place for gifted students in VBCPS.

 

13.  I do not support a shift from development of a five year local plan to an annual plan. One year plans are not beneficial to the future growth and development of any gifted program. Additionally, one year plans do not allow for the most beneficial use of central office staff time.

 

14.  I do not support the regulation requiring school divisions to have assurances that testing and assessment materials selected and administered are free of cultural, racial, and linguistic biases because there are no assessment materials that have been proven to be free of cultural, racial, and linguistic biases. This calls into question even those instruments that have been shown to be valid and reliable measures of student abilities. While all school divisions must work to eradicate biases in testing processes and materials, this proposed regulation is impossible.

 

15.  I do not support the proposed regulation which calls for assurance that every gifted child will have instructional time each day and week in the following configurations: i) to work with their age-level peers, (ii) to work with their intellectual and academic peers, and (iii) to work independently. The current methods associated with differentiating curriculum and instruction according to alignment among content, process, and the needs of the student are far more responsive than what is suggested in the proposed regulation.

 

16.  I do not support the proposed regulation which calls for assessment of each gifted student’s intellectual and academic growth because current practices of embedding gifted education in the regular education for sustained and ongoing development of students’ gifts and talents is superior to an IEP-like approach. It is fiscally impossible to administer individualized intelligence tests to all gifted learners in a district the size of VBCPS in order to report to parents and legal guardians on the intellectual growth of their child.

 

17.  I recommend a change to Paragraph 14: remove/delete: …including review of student outcomes and the intellectual and academic growth of gifted students

 

18.  I recommend that state funds administered by the Department of Education for the education of gifted students be used only to support those activities identified in the school division’s Local Plan as approved by the VBCPS and the Department of Education. I recommend a change to reinstate: State funds administered by the Department of Education for the education of gifted students shall be used to support only those activities identified in the school division’s plan as approved by the Board of Education




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