1. What kind of program does the Union County Public Schools have for gifted children?
Union County Public Schools provide a complete K-12 continuum of gifted services. Beginning in grades K-3 all students are served within their classrooms by the classroom teacher and are not formally identified. If a student is performing above the level of the classroom grouping, achievement and aptitude testing can be done to determine correct placement. This could result in advanced subject grouping (where a kindergarten child, for instance, would go to a first grade class for reading or math) or a complete grade advancement, where the student would be advanced to a first grade classroom full time.
At the end of grade 3, all students are screened and evaluated for giftedness in math and/or reading. The 4th - 8th grade program provides an AIG class in reading and/or math taught by a gifted education licensed teacher. Advanced subject grouping and grade advancement are also available at these grade levels. The curriculum in the AIG classes is accelerated and based upon gifted education best practices. In grades 4-5 math, we are currently using Singapore Math as the core program and supplementing it as needed to completely address the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and the Common Core State Standards. The language arts curriculum includes usage of materials from the College of William & Mary Center for Gifted Education and the Great Books Foundation. At the high school level, Honors and Advanced Placement courses are offered, along with a variety of additional experiences which vary by school.
2. Which schools offer gifted programs in UCPS?
All schools in Union County offer gifted services.
3. My child is in the gifted program in their current school. Will they be placed in the gifted program when we transfer to Union County?
Every district and every state has their own set of local criteria that needs to be met for qualification for gifted services. We want to provide the best options for matching services provided at the previous school. A screening process will take place to determine an appropriate placement for previously identified students from districts within North Carolina.For students that transfer to UCPS from a district outside of North Carolina, the screening process will take place to determine further recommendations that may result in further testing. During the screening process, the AIG teacher will evaluate your child's records for recommendation.Please bring the child's most recent report card, standardized test results, and previous identification paperwork when enrolling at the school. Request an AIG screening.
4. How does a student qualify for gifted services in Union County?
Each student must qualify via one of the three pathways explained on our https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HXKStqSR06xMTiYpER7oTGGA9WTOWwJg/view?usp=sharing criteria matrix.
5. How do I get my child evaluated for possible placement in gifted services?
Please see our Screening Process for Academically Intellectually Gifted Services Flow Chart for more information.
During the school year:
- If your child is currently enrolled in UCPS they will automatically be screened and evaluated for gifted services in the Spring (grades 3-7). If testing is needed, you will receive a permission to test form from the AIG teacher. This form must be signed and returned to the school before any testing is administered. This does not include district-wide screening in grades 3 & 6.
- If your child is a new student, entering UCPS from another school, when you enroll, please request an AIG evaluation if the student was formally identified as gifted at their previous district. Be prepared to provide the most recent report card, formal identification scores, and any standardized test scores. This will speed up the evaluation process.
- If the student is new to UCPS and was not formally identified at their previous district, we highly suggest that students have 2 of the 3 qualifying criteria before requesting an AIG evaluation. See our https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HXKStqSR06xMTiYpER7oTGGA9WTOWwJg/view?usp=sharing criteria matrix for more information.
During the summer:
- If the student is currently enrolled in UCPS and not new to the district, they were screened in the Spring.
- If the child is a new student, entering UCPS from another district, please request an AIG evaluation if the student was formally identified as gifted at their previous district at the school. The school will direct you to the AIG office or Summer Testing Center for further assistance. Details regarding the Summer Testing process are released in June and are available at the school. The AIG office will ask you to provide via fax or hard copy the most recent report card, formal identification scores, and any standardized test scores taken within the last 12 calendar months. See screening process for AIG services flow chart for more information
- If the student is new to UCPS and was not formally identified at their previous district, we highly suggest that students have 2 of the 3 qualifying criteria before requesting an AIG evaluation. See our https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HXKStqSR06xMTiYpER7oTGGA9WTOWwJg/view?usp=sharing local criteria for more information.
6. How do students withdraw from the AIG program if it is no longer a good fit?
A minimum of a full year commitment is strongly recommended unless an extenuating circumstance occurs. Exiting from the program should occur at the end of the year or prior to the beginning of a school year in order to adhere to the year commitment.
If a student is not appropriately placed, the parents and AIG teacher should meet to discuss the concerns and options available for the student. The parents may make the final decision to remove the student from the program during this conference by signing a new Differentiated Education Plan (DEP) or Individualized Differentiated Education Plan (IDEP) denying AIG services. Once removed from the area of service and/or the AIG program, the student must re-qualify for gifted services.
7. How does UCPS define Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted (AIG)?
As stated in Article 9B of the North Carolina General Statutes:
Academically or intellectually gifted students perform or show the potential to perform at substantially high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment.
Academically or intellectually gifted students exhibit high performance capability in intellectual areas, specific academic fields, or in both intellectual areas and specific academic fields.
Academically or intellectually gifted students require differentiated educational services beyond those ordinarily provided by the regular educational program.
Outstanding abilities are present in students from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor.
8. When are UCPS students screened for the AIG program?
All students in grade 3-7 are screened annually in the Spring. AIG evaluation does not guarantee further testing. If further testing is warranted, testing is limited to no more than once during the same year. District-wide aptitude testing occurs once a year for students in grades 3 & 6.
9. I have an EC child. Can they still qualify for gifted services?
Yes. Many EC students are considered 'dual-exceptionalities' or twice exceptional. The process for qualifying is the same. Testing modifications, if described in the child's IEP can only be accommodated on some standardized tests.
10. What type of curriculum is used in the gifted program?
The North Carolina Standard Course of Study and the Common Core State Standards are the foundational curriculum for all students in the gifted program. Teachers with licensure in gifted education develop lessons using above grade level materials, critical and creative thinking strategies, and other best practices in gifted education. In grades 4 and 5, Singapore Math is the resource used as the primary approach to mathematics with supplements as necessary to meet all state standards. The language arts curriculum is complete with a wide variety of strategies intended to stretch, challenge, and expand critical thinking, problem solving, and intellectual abilities of each student. Schools utilize language arts materials developed by the College of William & Mary's Center for Gifted Education and Great Books Foundation.
11. How can I help prepare my child for AIG testing?
The best preparation is a good night's sleep, breakfast in the morning, and a positive, attitude. There is no advantage to trying to review or otherwise study for these tests. It is much better for the student to be relaxed and focused, rather than nervous and worried.
12. What is the process for appealing the placement decision?
The appeals process is explained in the Handbook on Parents' Rights. This due process handbook is provided when a student qualifies for AIG services or when the parents sign an AIG 2 (permission to test form) granting permission for the AIG department to further assess a student. It is available here in both English and Spanish.
13. I am interested in early kindergarten admission for my gifted preschooler. What is the process?
Under certain circumstances, 4 year olds can be admitted to kindergarten early. The process is fully described in the portion of the Local Plan for Gifted Education entitled North Carolina Early Entry to Kindergarten Application and Process.
14. What is the difference between Intellectually Gifted (IG), Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AI), and Academically Gifted (AG, AM, AR)?
All students who are assessed by the AIG department are considered for qualification for services via multiple pathways before being identified Intellectually Gifted (IG) or Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AI). The best services are recommended for students based on their data. Our local AIG plan is what defines both areas of identification.
Intellectually Gifted (IG) indicates that a child’s intellectual abilities and potential are so outstanding that the child’s educational performance may be adversely affected. The IG student has high aptitude scores for both the total/full scale score and in a subtest area (verbal or/and mathematics); however, they do not have the grades or achievement test scores necessary to qualify for Academically Gifted (AG, AM, AR) services. The student needs additional support to be successful in school and to reach their full potential. The school-site AIG team will determine service options. The IG student will receive an Individualized Differentiation Education Plan (IDEP) based on the recommendations of the school-site AIG team.
Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AI) indicates that a child’s intellectual and academic abilities are highly advanced compared to their peers. The AI student has high aptitude scores for both the total/full scale score and in a subtest area (verbal and/or mathematics). They also have high achievement test scores and an “A” average in the same area. These students need additional support to remain successful in school and reach their full potential. The school-site AIG team will determine service options. The AI student will receive an Individualized Differentiated Education Plan (IDEP) based on the recommendations of the AIG team.
Academically Gifted (AG) students can be identified in one area of service such as math (AM) or reading (AR), or in both areas of service (AG). The AG/AM/AR students have three out of the four qualifying criteria. These students will have a combination of high aptitude scores for total/full scale score, high aptitude subtest area score, high achievement test scores, and/or high grades. These students are homogeneously grouped into a gifted class. The AG/AM/AR student will receive a Differentiated Education Plan (DEP).
Singapore Math is the source for information on this mathematics program. It is used in 4-6th grade AIG math classes in Union County. www.singaporemath.com
Interested in Singapore Math? Check out this tutorial on a 5th grade lesson!
Another great resource for additional math practice in the Singapore style can be found at http://www.mathplayground.com/thinkingblocks.html
- The The National Research Center on Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, investigates, develops, and disseminates new methods for identifying and teaching gifted students.
- The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is an organization of parents, educators, other professionals and community leaders to address the unique needs of children and youth. Membership includes a subscription to Parenting for High Potential, a magazine with articles geared to the development of talent.
- The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted.
- The Association for the Gifted (TAG) organized in 1958 by The Council for Exceptional Children, helps professionals and parents work with gifted children.
- The Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS) provides a forum for ideas and interventions aimed at helping twice-exceptional students reach their full potential.
- The Davidson Institute for Talent Development has extensive resources for highly gifted students (and their parents).
- The Davidson Young Scholars program provides free services designed to support highly gifted students and their parents.
- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) focuses primarily on the adults (parents, educators, etc) in the lives of gifted children. SENG provides information on identification, guidance, and effective ways to live and work with gifted individuals.
- Hoagies' Gifted Education Page is a resource guide for the education of gifted children with links to many gifted education resources available on the Internet.
- Gifted-Children.com: Identification, Encouragement, and Development (GCC) is an on-line parents' newsletter with networking and information dedicated to making a difference in the education of children with special talents and abilities.