What are Gifted Services?
Alabama State Act 106 mandates that school systems identify and serve gifted students. Guidelines are set forth in the "gifted" section of the Alabama Department of Education Administrative Code for referral, consent, evaluation, eligibility determination, placement and service delivery options, gifted education plan, administration, caseload, and procedural safeguards for gifted students.
What is the PACE Program?
The program that provides services for gifted students in the Mobile County Public Schools System is called the PACE Program. PACE stands for Pursuing Academics, Creativity and Excellence. The PACE Program was authorized in 1982, however gifted classes have been available since 1970. The PACE curriculum is based on a framework of the processes needed by gifted students, which include creative thinking, critical thinking, discipline methodologies, research skills, and affective development.
What is the Definition of Gifted in Alabama?
Gifted students are those who perform or who have demonstrated the potential to perform at high levels in academic or creative fields when compared to others of their age, experience or environment. These children and youth require services not ordinarily provided by the regular school program. Children and youth possessing these abilities can be found in all populations, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor. Gifted students may demonstrate the following characteristics:
- takes initiative
- shows leadership
- is curious
- takes creative risks
- uses ideas and learning in new situations
- shows persistence
- becomes passionately interested in a topic or idea
- chooses difficult tasks
- has a keen sense of humor
- expresses thoughts with ease, often at great length
- has many different and unusual ideas
- is resourceful in solving problems
How are Gifted Students Identified?
Students must be enrolled in a public school and at least six years of age in order to be referred, evaluated and served. A student may be referred for gifted services by teachers, counselors, administrators, parents/guardians, peers, self or any other individuals with knowledge of the student's abilities. Additionally, all second grade students will be observed as potential gifted referrals using a gifted checklist.
For each referral, information is gathered in the following three areas:
- Aptitude - individual or group test of intelligence or creativity
- Characteristics - behavior rating scale designed to assess gifted behaviors completed by a classroom teacher
- Performance - three indicators of performance at the gifted level (i.e. achievement test scores, grades, products, work samples, portfolios, leadership, motivation)
The scores from the assessments/items used are entered on a matrix where points are assigned according to established criteria. The total number of points earned determines if the student qualifies for gifted services.
What Types of Service Delivery Options are Available?
Specific program content is determined through a Gifted Education Plan (GEP). These processes are applied in all content areas.
Elementary Schools (Non-Magnet) offer Direct Services in a GT Resource Room or Indirect Services in the General Education Setting.
K—2: Indirect Services only
- 3rd Grade: 3 hours
- 4th Grade: 4 hours
- 5th Grade: 4 hours
The mission of the PACE Program is to identify intellectually and creatively gifted students across all populations, and to present opportunities for those students to devote themselves to in-depth study of significant themes, issues, and problems. This will be accomplished by creative and dedicated teachers who provide an accepting and engaging environment that challenges learners students to marked accomplishment and perseverance to excellence and to become self-motivated, life-long learners.
Contact: Wendy Webster