Q. What do you mean by 'Gifted'?
A. Over the years the definition of gifted has changed. It once included just those people with a very high IQ. Now it has expanded to include people with above average ability, high creativity, and high task commitment. Think of it as three intersecting circles. Where all three areas overlap is 'giftedness'.
Q. What is the goal of the Olmsted Gifted Program?
A. Helping students who possess the definite traits of giftedness, above average ability along with both high levels of both creativity and task commitment, to achieve above and beyond the curriculum, is the goal of the gifted and talented component.
Q. When did the program start?
A. The program started in 1979 as a pilot with 25 intermediate students. It has grown to include students in grades K-8. Olmsted #64 is Pre-K - 4 and Olmsted #56 is 5-8.
Q. What types of opportunities are available?
A. All students receive music, art, gym and foreign language. Depending on the grade, students can be involved in student government, chorus, string lessons, string ensemble, jazz band, orchestra and concert band. Students identified as gifted also receive classes from a Gifted and Talented Resource Specialist.
Q. How are the students identified?
A. A selection committee reviews prospective candidates in three areas: Academic Ability, Creativity, and Task Commitment. We consider the IQ or InView test score, standardized test scores, a parent checklist of characteristics, a teacher checklist of characteristics and other supporting documentation. We are looking for scores in the above average range.
Q. Is there a cut-off for IQ?
A. In our program we do not have an IQ cut off but we are looking for scores in the above average range.
Q. How is the program structured?
A. The Olmsted Program is a blended program. Students spend their day in flexible groups with neighborhood and gifted students as their needs indicate. Students receive a strong foundation in basic skills and higher order thinking from classroom teacher who utilize individualization, differentiation, and acceleration to help students realize their full potential. The identified students also spend time each week with a GT Resource specialist who develops the creative and critical thinking skills. All students in the school benefit from the program and have the opportunity to revolve in or out of the resource setting as their strengths and needs indicate.
Q. What happens in the Resource Center?
A. Within the Resource Center students have Type 11 activities which are skill based and Type 1 activities which are enrichment. Olmsted has a planned sequential curriculum for Type 11, which includes units in research, philosophy, Bloom's Taxonomy, creative thinking skills, Creative Problem Solving, and deductive reasoning. Type 1 activities offer a variety of opportunities for students to explore a subject in depth or be exposed to new topics. Mentors who are experts in their field often lead Type1 activities. Children are required to be Producers of knowledge and not just Consumers, so projects and presentations are important.
Q. Do you accelerate students?
A. Acceleration can happen vertically or horizontally. The Type 11 skill classes present concepts and skills sooner than usual but also offer topics not usually included in curriculums such as Philosophy, or topics related to a subject such as probability and math. Within the classroom, students are grouped according to ability and those that can grasp concepts are enriched horizontally. Once a firm foundation of skills is established we offer advanced classes in math and science.
Q. What about the work they miss in homeroom when they are in GT?
A. Since all subjects are taught in groups, the subjects can be taught at different times so a student won't miss what he/she needs. Gifted students often do not need as much practice and can grasp concepts quicker. This does not mean they skip practice in a skill, but generally they need less time to master it.
Q. How can parents be involved?
A. Through PRISM - Parent Resources Involved in Student Mentoring, parents can share their expertise with the students. We also encourage parents to attend workshops offered throughout the year in the various aspects of giftedness and creative and critical thinking skills. The most important way parents can be involved is to provide a supportive environment to help students value learning and achieve his/her best.