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Gifted Education



The Ferndale Area 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 the Ferndale Area School District to provide gifted services under Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania Code.

Instructional Philosophy

The overall aim of gifted services at the Ferndale Area 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

The Ferndale Area 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. Furthermore, teachers may recommend a student for possible gifted evaluation at any time. The Team shall meet and discuss the student’s needs and may be recommended for a formal assessment by the school psychologist. Besides parent and teacher referrals, the school will utilize an identification screening process that consists of group ability measures, group achievement measures, state and local assessments, classroom based assessments, teacher input, and review of records.

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 90% 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. If the IQ score is lower than 130, a child may be admitted to gifted programs when other conditions strongly indicate gifted ability. The other factors to be considered may include:

Is a year or more above achievement level for the normal age group in one or more subjects

Demonstrates an observed or measured rate of acquisition/retention of new academic content or skills that reflect gifted ability

Demonstrates achievement, performance, or expertise in one or more academic areas

Shows early and measured use of high level thinking skills, academic creativity, leadership skills, intense academic interest areas, communication skills, foreign language aptitude, or technology expertise

Has documented, observed, validated, or assessed evidence that intervening factors are masking gifted ability

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 GIEP 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 students 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 at the Ferndale Area 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.

Question or comments should be addressed to:

Mr. Adam Barbe

School Psychologist

100 Dartmouth Avenue

Johnstown, PA  15905

Office Phone (814) 539-6168