Gifted » Gifted


Richland School District recognizes the need to provide gifted education services to K-12 students who have the potential for exceptional achievement.  The gifted program is designed to enhance and extend the current curriculum. Students may access the gifted referral procedures without discrimination with regard to race, religion, national origin, gender, disabilities or economic background.  Students must qualify within state guidelines for gifted program eligibility and placement using assessment tools that meet the Pennsylvania Department of Education standards.  The procedures described herein establish the framework for Richland School District to provide gifted services under Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania Code.

Instructional Philosophy
The overall aim of gifted services in the Richland School District is to challenge and support the students through acceleration and enrichment programs, differentiated instruction, and curricular opportunities while addressing individual strengths and needs.

Referral and Child Find Procedures
Richland School District makes gifted program referral and eligibility information available to all interested persons through student handbooks, the district website, and other public announcements.

If parents suspect that their child may be gifted, they may request a formal gifted evaluation at any time with a limit of one request per school term.  The request must be in writing.  If an oral request is made to school personnel, school personnel shall inform the parent that the request must be in writing and shall provide the parent with a Permission to Evaluate form within ten (10) calendar days.  Once written parental consent is received by the school district, the evaluation process will begin.

Referrals can also be made in the district through a screening process.  Initial screening activities include, but are not limited to, a review of group-based data, cumulative records, grade reports, and teacher recommendation.  Teachers may recommend a student for possible gifted evaluation at any time.  Eligible students then participate in a secondary screening utilizing the Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary and Middle School Students, 2nd Edition (SAGES-2), which is administered either individually or in small groups.  Students who perform in a thought to be gifted range, will be recommended for a formal assessment to be conducted by the school psychologist.

Assessment and Identification
The Gifted MultiDisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE) is a process to gather the information that will be used to determine if a child is mentally gifted and in need of gifted support services.   Information is gathered through the screening process, parent and teacher input, a review of student records, and a formal evaluation by a certified school psychologist.   Information is collected from parents, teachers, and the student that is relevant to the child’s academic functioning, learning strengths, and educational needs.  All information will be compiled into a Gifted Written Report (GWR), which shall include recommendations as to whether the student is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction.  The initial evaluation shall be completed and a copy of the evaluation report will be presented to the parents no later than 60 calendar days after the school district receives written parental consent for evaluation, except that the calendar days from the day after the last day of the spring school term up to and including the day before the first day of the subsequent fall school term shall not be counted.

A student is considered mentally gifted when they have an IQ of 130 or higher (utilizing a 95% probability rate) or when multiple criteria strongly indicate gifted ability.  When considering results of gifted assessments, the school district will not make its determination of gifted ability based on IQ scores alone.  Additionally, deficits in memory or processing speed, as indicated by testing, will not be the sole basis upon which a student would be determined not to be mentally gifted. 

Following the completion of the GWR, the Gifted IEP (GIEP) meeting must be completed within 30 calendar days.  The invitation to the GIEP meeting will be sent to the parents at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the scheduled GIEP meeting.  The Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) can be presented to parents at the GIEP meeting or by certified mail within five (5) calendar days after the completion of the IEP meeting.  The parents shall have ten (10) calendar days to respond to the NORA sent by mail or five (5) calendar days to response to a NORA presented in person at the conclusion of the GIEP meeting. The GIEP will be implemented no more than ten (10) school days after the NORA is signed (or the start of the following school year if completed fewer than 30 days prior to the last day of school).  If the parents receive the notice in person and approve the recommended assignment within five (5) calendar days, the school district may not implement the GIEP for at least five (5) calendar days. 

Dual Exceptionalities
If a student is considered to be both gifted (Chapter 16) and eligible for special education support (Chapter 14), the procedures in Chapter 14 shall take precedence.  In this situation, it is not necessary to use separate procedural safeguards or to develop separate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).  For these student identified with dual exceptionalities, the needs established under gifted status will be fully addressed in the procedures required for special education.

Gifted Programming
The goal of the gifted support program in Richland School District is to encourage the development of intellectual and/or creative ability for the exceptional student and to provide special services and programs not ordinarily provided in regular education.  Programming options are based upon the strengths and needs of each student identified as gifted.  These options are agreed upon by the GIEP team prior to implementation.

The elementary pull-out program allows students to interact with peers of similar abilities while pursuing enrichment activities based on their individual educational programs and interest.  Pullout offerings range from interdisciplinary units on subjects such as historical periods or figures, architecture, space, environmental science, or other areas including major conceptual themes to single-subject study units.  Problems solving activities, such as puzzles, thinking games and similar deductive reasoning activities are offered, as well as experience with problems in authentic situations (e.g., brainstorming ideas for vacant city buildings).  Teachers respond to enrichment needs by providing activities that integrate and correlate aspects of math, science, reading, history, creative writing, literature analysis, communication through oral and written expression, skills of researching, and application of learning to new situations.

For students in grades 7-12, Richland School District offers enrichment through a wide range of courses, programs, and extracurricular activities to challenge academically gifted students.  Secondary students may choose among various college preparatory courses in each department, and, if they qualify, may take honors level courses.  Advanced Placement courses are offered to those students who qualify and who wish to acquire college credits and/or exemption from introductory college courses for course work taken in high school.  Many courses in world languages offer options for cultural and linguistic growth.  Art electives further develop a student’s creativity and imagination.  The Music Department offers many instrumental and vocal performing opportunities, as well as courses that enrich and offer outlets for creative expression.  Students interested in computers or other technical areas may take advantage of special programs offered through the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center and the Department of Technology Education.  Extracurricular activities include, but are not limited to, the student newspaper, yearbook, Student Council, forensics/debate, theatrical experiences, honor societies, as well as many sports teams, which allow students to develop leadership and character skills.  Support services also include counseling concerning scheduling, testing (PSAT, SAT, etc.), study skills, career guidance and assistance with college applications, financial aid, and many scholarship opportunities.

Questions or comments should be addressed to:

Jennifer Shuman

Special Education Coordinator
Richland School District
321 Schoolhouse Rd.
Johnstown, PA 15904