Programming and Services
Academic EmphasisThe goal of the gifted education program in the Thompson School District is to provide support for gifted and talented learners who need and desire learning which is academically rigorous and rich. The curriculum is differentiated to meet the students' need for faster pacing and increased depth of instruction. Gifted education specialists at each building provide direct support to each identified gifted learner as well as instructional support and resources to general education teachers. Elementary teachers focus their time in a pull-out model, offering instruction in academic-based enhancement of classroom instruction, taking our gifted and high-ability students deeper into content and offering them a more challenging curriculum. At the secondary level, this includes more advanced classes and acceleration offerings.
Each building in Thompson School District has a gifted education specialist or gifted education counselor assigned to the building for the express purpose of providing gifted education support, direct instruction, and personal counseling to identified gifted students. Staffing at elementary schools varies from 33% to 67%. Middle schools receive from 50% to 100% FTE from the district for a Gifted and Talented teacher. High schools are staffed with gifted education counselors who work with high ability learners/gifted learners on course selection, college and career choices, and personal counseling issues.
Advanced Learning Plans
All students who are identified as giftedmust have an Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs) according to state mandate. These plans are developed around students' identified strength areas. ALPs outline a plan for the student to continue to grow and to learn in his or her area of exceptional ability, creating the opportunity for the gifted learner to experience commensurate academic growth. Advanced Learning Plans are written in conjunction with the student, the parents, the general education teacher(s), and the gifted specialist or gifted counselor. Goals and plans are reviewed annually.
Gifted Education is also supported through Enrichment activities which occur outside of the school day. Enrichment activities may include Destination ImagiNation, Robotics, Spelling Bee, Shadows in the Arts, MathCounts, and Chess Club. Each program is designed to enrich the students' educational experience; it does not supplant classroom instruction. Michelle Stout is the district coordinator for these enrichment opportunities.
Competency-Based EducationThe Thompson School District allows students to access learning through personalized pathways that meet students' academic needs and interests. Work habits contribute to students college, career, and community readiness. For more information on how gifted education fits into a Competency-Based System, download a presentation here.