The New Castle Area School District provides a continuum of gifted support services for students in Grades K through 12. The district has increased public awareness and parent procedures for requesting the evaluation for gifted support programs through various media outlets. Annual public awareness is conducted through local newspapers, the district website, the Office of Special Programs Parent Handbook, and the correspondence with local physicians’ offices. Gifted Support services are based both on state and federal regulations and complement the comprehensive curriculum the district offers. Communication between the district and parents of identified gifted students is ongoing.
Students are eligible to be screened and evaluated for gifted support services throughout their academic career, grades K-12. Students are first screened for services by using a process that involves data collection using curriculum based scores, teacher scores, and scores from standardized instruments. If the child passes this portion of the screening, then the district issues a permission to evaluate for further testing.
Once the parent signature is received for the evaluation then phase two of the process begins. Phase Two consists of a gifted multidisciplinary evaluation in which both intelligence and achievement tests are administered. Multiple criteria are considered including above grade level achievement, rates of acquisition and retention, demonstrated achievement, and high level thinking skills during the evaluation process. Intervening factors are also considered. A decision making matrix is used for this process. Once the scores are obtained from various assessments then point values are assigned to each section. A child's total number of points is taken into consideration for eligibility for gifted support services.
Once eligibility has been established, a meeting is held with the Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (GMDT), including the parents to outline the child's programming. The resulting document is called the Gifted Individualized Education Program (GIEP). This document contains the child's present levels of functioning, pertinent strengths and weaknesses, as well as goals/objectives for what his individual plan will entail. The student's grade level determines the scope and nature of the programming. In grades K through 6, students receive gifted support instruction at a central site for one afternoon per week. During this time, students receive Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) based on their strengths.
In grades 7 and 8, each student's schedule reflects two periods of gifted support instruction. The first period involves gifted English class in which advanced content and a weighted grading system are used. During the second period, students work on individual projects, and preparation for various academic competitions such as Forensics, Mr. Presidents, and Trivia. Some of these students are also assigned to higher level math courses based on class performance, teacher recommendations and overall grade point average.
In grades 9 through 12, student schedules become even more diversified and individualized with regards to honors and advanced placement courses. Students may choose not only the amount of courses, but the content as well. In addition, these students participate in academic competitions, such as the Junior Academy of Science, Model United Nations and invitational competitions at some local colleges.