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Jennifer Serafin Gifted Endorsement Portfolio, May 2013

Reflection Part 2: Based upon your local school experiences, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Fulton County Schools procedures for implementing Georgia Board of Education Rule 160-4-2.38.
State Board Rule 160-4-2-.38 states: The Georgia State Board of Education defines a gifted student as one who demonstrates a high degree of intellectual and/or creative ability(ies), exhibits an exceptionally high degree of motivation, and/or excels in specific academic fields, and who needs special instruction and/or special services to achieve at levels commensurate with his or her abilities. Fulton County does auto-refer based on standardized test scores, have opportunities for all students to be CISS-ed during the year, and serves students in a variety of ways to meet their needs. I have enjoyed learning about the myriad of programming options in gifted education, especially through the study of Theoretical Models, Systems and Models for Developing the Gifted and Talented, edited by Joseph Renzulli, et al. It is very interesting to see what is available to help gifted educators meet the needs of students based on Georgia Rule 160-42.38. I have also enjoyed seeing the opportunities present for our middle and high school students throughout the county that do serve to meet the diverse needs of our gifted students. Given our transition to a charter system, I am excited to look forward and imagine how our gifted instruction may change and grow! Id love to see the incorporation on a local level to certify all teachers on a school-wide level in TAG strategies, and then incorporate a school-wide enrichment model. I could only imagine the depth of learning that would take place! I believe a weakness in identification across the diverse populations of Fulton County, especially with regards to minorities and lower socioeconomic status. After reading Aprils News You Can Use distributed by Ann Scott Hanks, I inquired about universal testing and better practices to identify students, especially more diverse students. She mentioned that the TAG department has repeatedly requested and been denied the ability to give all students in grade 1 the CoGAT test in Fulton County. This has been denied due to cost, but it is evident

within the department that we need better processes to identify students, especially those students not traditionally served. I think Fulton County does a great job, especially at the middle and high school level to serve TAG students in a variety of programs. I loved reading more about and interacting with teachers that participate in school programs like TAG internships, the IB program, and Advanced Placement courses. Id love to learn more about the statistical breakdown by subgroups to see who the gifted children are, especially in the central and south learning communities. Unfortunately, I anticipate that our county falls along national and state statistics with fewer non-traditional minorities represented as well as economically disadvantaged students. I appreciated the research and subsequent changes sited in Orlando, Florida and it made me ponder how and who we could drastically impact by working to reach more-nontraditional students. On a local level, I believe the entire staff needs to be refreshed in how to properly CISS students. For example, one observation I found in collecting data for the third grade was a myriad of students who exhibited all ten characteristics. For example, finding all ten characteristics present in a student based on a Physical Education class is a bit difficult to fathom. I have also observed both within my grade level and during observations of scoring, the importance of the product portion of the creativity scale. We need to convey the importance of the product, consistent directions, and expectations to teachers. There seemed to be a lack in consistency across the school. For example, one teacher in first grade wrote out the prompt for her students, which helped them elaborate their ideas. This would be helpful for all students, and possibly help more students meet the standard of 90% for creativity.

Fulton County TAG Brochure Excerpt Page 3 Elementary School Elementary students receive gifted services one day per week in a resource class. The student attends the gifted resource class at his or her home school.

Elementary class size is limited to 19-22 students. Program includes challenging units linked to science and social studies. While the student participates in a gifted resource class, assignments in general education classes are modified or eliminated depending on the student's academic strengths.

Another weakness is how to best support students because while TAG students are served one day a week through the TAG program, they still need to be differentiated for in the general classroom, which there still seems to be a large discrepancy across the board in doing so. Ann Scott said it best when she said, They arent just gifted one day a week! As it is noted in the Fulton County TAG brochure, students in a gifted resource class should have assignments modified or eliminated depending on that students academic strengths. Many teachers seem to struggle with the idea of equity versus equality, and will often send missed work home on TAG day. Curriculum should be compacted and either pre-taught or reviewed as necessary based on individual needs, not given a packet or stack of work missed. A student is serviced by gifted, so lets actually modify the curriculum to meet those needs. With great anticipation, I look forward to increase collaboration and communication with the homeroom teachers to best support students. I plan to do my best to meet the needs of the students, teachers desires for her students, and to advocate for the rights of all students as well as the TAG students.