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Gifted Program Description


Grades K-5 Instruction
Instructional Philosophy Grades 6-8 Instruction
Curriculum Grades 9-12 Instruction
Referral and Child Find Personnel
Assessment Continuation Policy
Overview of Georgia Eligibility Rule Annual Review
State and National Links  Gifted Records
Gifted Program Description 

Henry County School System recognizes the need to provide gifted education services to K-12 students who have the potential for exceptional achievement.  Special Activities in Gifted Education (SAGE), the academic instructional program for identified gifted students, enhances and extends curriculum.  Students may access 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 Georgia Department of Education standards of validity and reliability. The procedures described here establish the framework for Henry County School System to provide gifted services under Georgia Code IDDD and Department of Education Rule 160-4-2-.38.

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Instructional Philosophy 

The overall aim of gifted services is to provide educational opportunities and experiences to help students extend their learning, develop individual potential, enhance their self-concept, and become independent learners.

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Gifted education teachers collaborate to plan instruction that supports the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum and meets assessed needs of gifted students for more elaborate, complex and in-depth study of major ideas, problems and themes.  Activities provide students the opportunity to extend learning in research and reference, communication and technology, and defining personal learning goals and monitoring progress toward achieving them. Materials and equipment are selected to meet sequential and developmental needs of gifted students. Annual gifted program review and evaluation helps maintain program effectiveness.

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Referral and Child Find Procedures 

The Henry County School System makes gifted program referral and eligibility information available to all interested persons through student handbooks, newsletters and other public announcements. 

  • Parents, teachers, and others may refer a student based on observed characteristics in the areas of mental ability, achievement, creativity, and motivation, according to Georgia Department of Education guidelines. The individual who wishes to have a student evaluated for the gifted program should notify the childís classroom teacher who will, in turn, complete the Referral for Gifted Services form and forward it to the gifted resource teacher in the school.
  • Automatic referral is made by gifted education teachers screening standardized test scores annually for students posting mental abilities scores at or above the 96th percentile or achievement scores at or above the 90th percentile in reading or mathematics, or 90th percentile on the total battery or composite score. 
  • New students previously enrolled in another Georgia Gifted Program are eligible for placement as soon as their participation can be confirmed through a request of records.  Parents should contact the childís previous school to request the studentís gifted records be forwarded to the new school. Students coming from the gifted program of an accredited school may be placed in SAGE when official records indicate that the student has satisfied Georgia gifted qualifying criteria. A gifted education teacher will notify parents/guardians in writing of the childís referral and will obtain their written consent for formal assessment.
  • Once a student is referred, the Eligibility Team, made up of a gifted education teacher, the classroom teacher, and a building administrator or counselor, will review available records to determine whether it is appropriate to continue the evaluation process. Data gathered by a source outside the school system may be considered as a part of the referral process, but will not be substituted for data the school generates during the evaluation process.
  • A gifted education teacher will notify parents/guardians in writing of the childís referral and will obtain their written consent for formal assessment.

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  • Referred students are evaluated during the second semester for placement at the beginning of the next school year. 
  • When testing does not warrant placement, re-evaluation may not occur for at least two years.
  • Within sixty days of the completion of the assessment process, parents will be notified in writing of their childís evaluation results and of the opportunity for parent conference and possibility of placement.

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Overview of Eligibility Rule 160-4-2-.38

The referral and evaluation of students for the gifted program requires collecting data in (1) mental abilities, (2) achievement, (3) motivation, and (4) creativity. A student can qualify with one of the two following sets of criteria:

Mental Ability


Grades K-2  --  99%tile
Grades 3-12  --  96%tile or higher
on a composite of a standardized mental ability test

90%tile or higher on Total Battery (Composite)
OR Total Reading
OR Total Mathematics
on a standardized achievement test

A student must meet both of the areas above. . . 


Mental Ability




96%tile or higher on a composite or qualifying allowable component of a standardized
mental ability test

90%tile or higher on Total Battery OR
Total Reading OR
Total Mathematics of a standardized achievement test

90%tile or higher on a standardized creativity test 
90%tile or higher on a standardized creativity rating scale

GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in grades 3-12
90%tile or higher on a standardized motivational characteristics rating scale

A student must meet three of the four areas listed above. 
The rating scale may be used for either creativity or motivation, but not for both.

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Instructional Delivery Models

Henry County School System SAGE program complements other educational services while incorporating age appropriate delivery of differentiated instruction to meet gifted learner needs. Identified students, admitted for gifted services, are served a minimum of five instructional segments per week by teachers certified in gifted instruction or in their specific content area for Advanced Placement classes.  Once a parent or guardian agrees to a studentís gifted placement, the student is expected to be present for the gifted instruction provided.

  • Resource Model: Grades K - 5
    Teachers certified in gifted education serve elementary students one day per week for 5 to 6 contact hours or for a minimum of 270 minutes in grades K - 3 and 300 minutes in grades 4 - 5. The five-year rotating curriculum of interdisciplinary thematic units is academically based in science, social studies, mathematics and language arts, while integrating fine arts, vocational awareness, and technology. On the day students come to SAGE class each week, they are responsible to the SAGE teacher for SAGE homework assignments. On the days they are in regular classroom, they are responsible to their classroom teacher for homework assignments. SAGE classes represent one-fifth of the elementary SAGE studentís educational program and should be treated as an alternate program to meet the special needs of gifted students, rather than an addition to the regular classroom program. SAGE teachers enrich and accelerate the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum and issue a separate SAGE student report card on a published schedule at the end of each study unit. Teacher planning and coordination ensures that learner needs are met and that no more than twenty percent of any given subject, including special projects, is missed while gifted students are being served in the SAGE classroom. Parents should feel free to contact either the classroom teacher or the SAGE teacher if they perceive a problem with student progress or expectations

  • Resource Model: Grades 6 - 8
    Students in grades 6 - 8 are served one or two segments per day during scheduled daily classes.  Students are placed on an academic team where they receive direct instruction in various content areas from a teacher certified in the area of gifted.  The middle school teachers differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of the gifted learners and document program resources and procedures in their lesson plans.

  • Facilitator/Advanced Placement Model: Grades 9 - 12
    Honors classes provide differentiation in grade 9 English and in grade 10 English and/or world history instruction for gifted students.  These classes, scheduled in compliance with the Quality Core Curriculum objectives for grade level, are preparatory to Advanced Placement courses for students in grades 11-12. Students are served by gifted certified teachers for a minimum of five segments or 300 minutes instructional time per week.

    Advanced Placement Education Services also provides a minimum of five segments per week of differentiation for gifted students through acceleration.  Advanced placement courses, offered through the College Board, Advanced Placement Education Services, allow students to complete college-level courses while still in secondary school. Identified gifted students may be approved for advanced placement studies in one or more academic content areas (mathematics, science, social studies, English, and foreign language). Teachers for these courses are certified in their appropriate content area.  A written contract described in the facilitator delivery model should be required. The contact time specifies the segment(s) the student is scheduled into accelerated classes, and teachers record planned instructional objectives, indicating how they differentiate instruction for the identified gifted students.  These delivery systems earn gifted funding weight when the facilitator model requirements are met. 

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Frequently asked questions about the elementary gifted program.

  • Certification
    State guidelines require that full time gifted program teachers and coordinators of gifted services meet professional gifted certification requirements prior to beginning work in gifted education.  Advanced Placement Education Services teachers need certification in their appropriate content areas.
  • Staff Development
    Henry County School System addresses the priorities of personnel serving gifted learners by providing staff development through workshops, scholarships, professional conferences and conventions, course work, ongoing in service activities, pre- and post-planning days, and professional literature.  Teachers and administrative personnel will be encouraged to draw on other available resources such as college and university courses, Georgia Learning Resources System (GLRS), Regional Educational Services Agencies (RESA), and the Georgia Department of Education. 

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Continuation Policy

Continuation requires that a student maintain satisfactory performance in the gifted program and the regular education program as noted by regular attendance, active participation, appropriate conduct and attitude for learning, completion of assignments, and acceptable academic achievement.  Guidelines include maintenance of an over-all academic average minimum of ďBĒ for each (mathematics, English/language arts, science, social studies and foreign language when it is part of the studentís program) grading period at all levels.  When such letter grades are not awarded the ďS,Ē or satisfactory, will be recognized.  The regular classroom teacher and gifted education teacher share the responsibility of communicating with each other concerning a studentís progress.  Extenuating circumstances will be taken into consideration, and final decisions for continuation rest with the serving gifted education teacher.
Probationary Procedures
  • If a student has a severe drop in grades, the gifted education teacher will schedule a conference with the studentís parents and teachers for the purpose of determining the source of difficulty.
  • If a student in the gifted program fails to meet the requirements of the Continuation Policy during a grade reporting period (semester for grades 9 - 12), the supporting gifted education teacher shall send written notice to that studentís parents/guardians placing the student on probation for the ensuing grading period. The notice includes a statement that the student shall become eligible to return to the gifted program upon meeting the Henry County School System criteria. 
  • During the last week of the probationary period, the gifted education teacher will confer with the studentís parent/guardian and teachers to determine the appropriateness of continued participation in the gifted program.  The gifted education teacher will record conclusions reached at this conference as (1) continued probation, (2) administrative withdrawal, or (3) removal from probationary status.  The form will be placed in the studentís file.

Withdrawal and Re-entry Procedures

  • An administrative withdrawal, recorded by the gifted education teacher, removes the student from the program when requested in writing by a parent or when the student fails to meet continuation criteria because of unsatisfactory performance in either the SAGE program or regular education program.  Parents will be provided a written copy of the recorded action.
  • After one complete grading period following administrative withdrawal, and when the student restores qualifications for continuation criteria, parents may petition for the student to re-enter the program. The gifted education teacher will send confirmation of eligibility for SAGE re-entry to the parent/guardian.

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Annual Review

Gifted education teachers shall annually review the progress of students enrolled in the gifted program.  The Gifted Placement Review form or  the Elementary SAGE Report Card will be used for documenting this review

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Gifted Records

Gifted records are maintained at local school sites and should be requested separately from other school records when students are withdrawing or transferring.

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For more information on a state and national level, check out these sites:
    The Georgia Association for Gifted Children www.gagc.org
    The National Association for Gifted Children

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For further assistance or concerns regarding Gifted Services, you may contact Liz Burr, Coordinator for Gifted , 770-957-6547, or email eburr@henry.k12.ga.us  or you may contact the Gifted Services Educator at your child's school.

Henry County Home Page

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Henry County Schools
396 Tomlinson Street
McDonough, GA  30253

Phone 770-957-6601  *   Fax 678-583-4951

Revised: January 10, 2005.
These pages maintained by Sylvia Burch,
Community Relations