Gifted education services are provided under the special education umbrella in the state of Kansas. As such, students will receive an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which details their gifted education services. While each student’s program is individualized, we do offer a standard framework for IEP teams to consider when they are designing appropriate educational services for students with giftedness. In our innovative gifted education program, students receive three broad categories of direct educational supports. These are briefly described below.
When developing our program model, we choose to follow the guidance of the Kansas State Department of Education by creating cohort learning groups aligned to the Kansas College and Career Readiness Standards and the Career Clusters and Pathways model. The Career Clusters and Pathways are heavily focused on Career and Technical Education skills that many employers are seeking.
The cohort-group model of gifted education allows our students to learn from professionals working in various technical career fields. These cohort groups are composed of students who have expressed interest learning more about these various areas of study. For example, in our first year of implementation, we offered seven distinct cohort groups from which students could chose to participate. These groups were all lead by experts in these fields of study, and supervised by a gifted education facilitator.
These cohort groups meet once per month for a full school day. Students are picked up at their neighborhood schools and transported to a centralized meeting location. At this location, students then work with their gifted education facilitator and career mentor. Students interact and learn alongside with students from other school districts who share the same career interests. Students are also transported back to their neighborhood school at the conclusion of the cohort group meeting.
During these classroom visits, students with giftedness gather together with their classmates, regardless of cohort group. These students spend time individually working with their gifted education facilitator and can also use this time to collaborate in small groups. The focus of these class sessions is to allow each student to spend a few minutes with their gifted education facilitator to discuss their cohort project, request resources, troubleshoot project hurdles, and form relationships between the teacher and students. These class sessions take place in the student’s neighborhood school building.
Much research has shown that students with giftedness may demonstrate difficulties with social interactions and employment skills. During some of these classroom visits, specific instruction will be provided to students related to collaboration, employment, socialization, and interpersonal skills. “Soft skills” become the focus of these classroom visits. When these classroom visits are offered, students may be transported to a neighboring school, or may meet in their own school. Since teamwork is often a critical component of these lessons, it may be necessarily to transport students to other locations in order to create a sufficiently-sized collaborative team.
These sessions take place twice per month (roughly every-other week). One week tends to be focused on cohort project work, while the other week tends to focus on social, emotional, and character development.
Greenbush understands that experiential learning is a highly-valuable form of education. Our program seeks to offer students with giftedness experiences outside of the classroom which are not based on cohort groups. Instead, these activities are based on student learning objectives and community resources. These supplemental activities are designed to offer students the ability to build an early professional network, explore local career opportunities, and support their local community.
Previous examples of supplemental programming have included ACT test prep workshops, organized admissions tours of local college campuses, software coding competitions, tours of local employers (including hospitals, manufacturing plants, and pharmacies), an Engineering Expo, ropes course challenges, and cohort Project Expo. These services may be offered individually to students or in large groups (depending on the nature of the trip and the number of students interested in attending).
Service Delivery Model