Middle School Gifted Program

Middle School Gifted Program: An Overview - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the process for developing a Gifted Individualized Educational Plan (GIEP)?
  2. What are the goals of the gifted program beyond the GIEP?
  3. My child is gifted in mathematics–are there accelerated courses in math? Can he/she accelerate or decelerate in math during the year?
  4. In middle school, are there separate Reading, Language Arts, and Social Studies classes just for students with GIEPs?
  5. Are the teachers/teams ready to differentiate their instruction/projects to meet the needs of GIEP students?
  6. How will my child's giftedness (GIEP) be addressed on their team?
  7. Does my child have to do Tier Three work?
  8. Will there be regular seminars exclusively for gifted students? How will they be scheduled?
  9. Does my child have to be involved in the activities/seminars?
  10. Who should I go to when I have questions?


What is the process for developing a Gifted Individualized Educational Plan (GIEP)?

The start of middle school is an important time for all parties to communicate, and the GIEP provides an excellent tool to begin the conversation. A conference will be scheduled during September to create the student's plan. The student, parent and teacher will participate in the review of the student's achievements and together identify needs. Goals will be developed to meet the student's needs. The student's GIEP will be shared with the members of their teaching team in order to ensure a consistent delivery of services throughout the academic year.


What are the goals of the gifted program beyond the GIEP?

The primary goal of the Gifted Program is to meet each individual student's needs through the specially-designed instruction that is determined by the GIEP team. This instruction can be provided to the student in the form of curriculum-based enrichment activities, supplemental enrichment activities, and/or support of organization, time management and study skills. Additional support is available for the social and self-imposed pressure that many of our adolescent gifted support students experience. Our middle level gifted students should feel supported, not burdened, by their giftedness.


My child is gifted in mathematics – are there accelerated courses in math? Can he/she accelerate or decelerate in math during the year?

Yes. Math is a "tracked" subject starting in Grade 6.

Please use the following link to review the Middle School Math Courses Flow Chart (PDF).


In middle school, are there separate Reading, Language Arts, and Social Studies classes just for students with GIEPs?

No. Teaming is at the heart of middle school for all children, so whenever possible, students should develop their talents within the team and integrated team assignments. Gifted students are "gifted all day," not just during one period or in one subject. The gifted support teachers will help the team and gifted/talented students enrich and extend their work on course/team projects.


Are the teachers/teams ready to differentiate their instruction/projects to meet the needs of GIEP students?

Yes. Differentiated instruction has been a focus of professional training for the past several years. Teachers have been practicing the "Souderton 4" of differentiated instruction: pre-assessment, flexible grouping, tiered assessments, and giving students choices in their work.

Teachers developed course-based DI units, and have worked in their teams to develop integrated units that differentiate instruction and projects. Learning Support teachers, Gifted Support teachers, and Instructional Coaches are ready to support the teams and will provide resources to the team teachers to facilitate effective instruction for all students.

Additionally, the middle school principals have been supporting and supervising instruction with an eye toward literacy and differentiated instruction.


How will my child's giftedness (GIEP) be addressed on their team?

Each teacher on the team is responsible for knowing and meeting the needs of the child as described in the GIEP. Individual teachers will differentiate instruction and assessment in their classes as necessary. Additionally, each team will develop a team-based project that integrates the different subject areas. The team-based project will give all students choices–with choices arranged in increasingly-challenging tiers.

  • Tier One work will address grade-level standards – knowledge and skills
  • Tier Two work goes beyond standards and requires application and analysis skills
  • Tier Three is highly-challenging and applied work that extends/enriches the curriculum. Gifted support and technology support may be needed for Tier Three work. The Honors Program in Grade 8 is intended for students performing at the Tier Three level.


Does my child have to do Tier Three work?

Tier Three is encouraged, but not required of GIEP students. Parents will be informed of opportunities and a contract signed by the student, teacher, and parent will determine the level of work.


Will there be regular seminars exclusively for gifted students? How will they be scheduled?

Seminars exclusively for GIEP students will be offered at least once each quarter. These seminars address the interests/needs of gifted students. Seminar topics include: multiple intelligences, learning styles, discussions on ethics, book discussions, career exploration, and people who bring about change.

Additionally, gifted support teachers will make information and support available to students regarding competitions and fairs (History Day, Science Fair, Academic Bowl, etc.) that involve organizations outside of the SASD.


Does my child have to be involved in the activities/seminars?

GIEP students choose the activities/seminars that they want to attend based on their interest and area of giftedness. The GIEP activities/seminars are planned with the interest of the students in mind, and are an important component of their specially-designed instruction.


Who should I go to when I have questions?

The gifted support teacher is the first point of contact for questions related to the gifted program. Mr. Joseph Gunn (jgunn@soudertonsd.org) is the gifted support teacher at Indian Crest. Mrs. Nancy Rugel (rugel@soudertonsd.org) is the gifted support teacher at Indian Valley. Both are interested in communicating openly with parents. For questions or concerns beyond your child's GIEP, please contact the building principal.