Eagle County: Spotting more gifted students | VailDaily.com

Eagle County: Spotting more gifted students

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyFifth graders, clockwise from left, Logan Ponder, Amie Hixon and Cooper Gould program their robot to help a disabled person carry items around during Maria Switala's gifted and talented class at Eagle Elementary School.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The school district is considering new ways of identifying gifted and talented students.

Right now, students are tested only after being recommended by teachers or parents. The district would like to see all students tested in third grade, fifth grade and eighth grade to make sure they’re not missing anyone, and to make sure they’re catching new students. Whether this can be done or not could depend on funding and grant money.

When students are tested for being gifted and talented, they’re tested in math, language, logical reasoning, but there’s no test for creativity. Shanti Flaherty, who teachers Eagle County’s gifted students, said she would like to see a creativity test added to the mix.

Schools will also start assembling portfolios for students between kindergarten and second grade. The portfolios would include things like writing and art samples, test scores and recommendations from teachers and parents.

This would just be a way of identifying early on students who may be gifted, and would be an easy way of passing information from one teacher to the next, Flaherty said.

The portfolio would also be a good way of identifying students who, for whatever reason, may not perform well in school, get bad grades or don’t take tests well. Schools often have a tough time identifying gifted Hispanic students, whose brains may be working on higher levels but don’t perform well on tests because they are still learning English.

“We need to find out who these kids are and where they are in our schools,” said Susan Mackin Dolan, a member of the district’s Gifted Education Team.

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