GT ID and Assessment
Waxahachie Independent School District has board approval on the identification procedures and processes of students K-11 for the services of the Gifted and Talented Program. These procedures meet state requirements (§29.121 & TAC 89.1) and have been designed to ensure the identification of any student who demonstrates an educational need for the services of the program under the established guidelines.
According to Texas Administrative Code §89.1 regarding student assessment, school districts shall develop written policies on student identification that are approved by the local board of trustees and disseminated to parents. The policies must:
- Include provisions for ongoing screening and selection of students who perform, or show potential for performing, at remarkably high levels of accomplishment in the areas defined in the Texas Education Code, §29.121;
- Include assessment measures collected from multiple sources according to each area defined in the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted and Talented Students;
- Include data and procedures designed to ensure that students from all populations in the district have access to the assessment process and, if identified as having a significant educational need for advanced academics, services for the Gifted and Talented program;
- Provide for final qualification of students (through a blind process) to be made by a committee of at least three local district educators who have received training in the nature and needs of gifted students; and
- Include provisions regarding furloughs, reassessment, exiting of students from program services, transfer students, and appeals of district decisions regarding program placement.
Beginning in kindergarten, all students are considered for gifted education services; therefore, parents do not need to apply or refer students for program participation. Advanced Academics staff will pull testing data for all students and identify students who meet the initial criteria. Upon parental approval, Gifted and Talented personnel conduct evaluations in which quantitative and qualitative data are reviewed. A student profile is used to identify those students who perform or show the potential for performing, at remarkably high levels of accomplishment relative to their age, peers, experience, or environment. The profile will reflect a minimum of three (3) criteria used in the assessment. The criteria used will be a combination of qualitative and quantitative instruments.
The student profile identifies the student’s strengths and weaknesses. The percentiles and/or scores from the assessment instruments are plotted on the student profile. Each student's profile is individually evaluated by the Gifted and Talented Committee through a blind (no name) process. A student clearly qualifies for Gifted and Talented services if the majority of the evidence on the profile falls within the High and/or Superior ranges on the profile. The decision is based on the committee's observation of the preponderance of the evidence on the student's profile.
The Gifted and Talented committee consists of at least three district educators. All committee members have been trained in the area of “nature and needs" of gifted students. The Gifted and Talented Committee makes a professional judgment based on the recorded student profile data. As the committee evaluates the data on the students nominated, the committee has three options:
- The preponderance of profile data indicates the student exhibits educational need and would benefit from the services offered in the Gifted and Talented program.
- There is insufficient evidence in the documentation at this time indicating the student's educational needs would best be met by the Gifted and Talented program.
- The preponderance of evidence indicates the student’s educational needs would best be served with the services of the regular curriculum.
- Further information is requested for the committee to make a qualification decision.
Once the identification process is complete, parents or guardians are notified of the Gifted and Talented Committee’s decision via email. Parents of all screened students may request a conference to examine their child’s assessment results. Requests should be made through the Advanced Academics office.
In compliance with the board approved WISD Gifted and Talented Policies and Procedures and the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted and Talented Students, the WISD Gifted and Talented Appeal Process is as follows:
Level One - Appeal to the District Gifted and Talented Selection Committee
- If a parent, guardian, student, or educator disagrees with the decision made by the selection committee disqualifying the student for placement in the Gifted and Talented Program, a level one appeal may be submitted to Melissa Abadie, Director of Advanced Academics.
- Written appeals must be postmarked or emailed within 10 business days of receipt of the parent or guardian letter emailed indicating the committee’s initial placement decision using the District Level One Appeal Form.
- The committee will reconvene in order to consider the preponderance of evidence and/or the need for further assessment data and/or other information.
- The Director of Advanced Academics will contact the parent or guardian within 10 business days of the committee’s decision.
- Should the parent or guardian have further concerns after receiving the committee's decision, he or she may submit a Level Two Appeal (see below) to Dustin Binnicker, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
Level Two - Appeal to the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction
- If a parent, guardian, student, or teacher desires to appeal the Level One response, a level two appeal may be submitted to Dustin Binnicker, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
- Written appeals must be postmarked or emailed and dated within 10 business days of contact from Melissa Abadie with the decision concerning the Level One Appeal using the District Level Two Appeal Form.
- The Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction will consider the preponderance of evidence presented by the parent, guardian, or teacher in support of the appeal.
- The Director of Advanced Academics will contact the parent or guardian within 10 business days of the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction’s decision.
Once a student has qualified for the Waxahachie Gifted and Talented Program, the student will continue to receive services each year unless there is evidence that the program no longer meets the student’s educational needs and a decision is made to furlough gifted and talented services or the student has been exited from the program. If a student is exited from the program, he or she will need to qualify again through the screening process in order to receive services. Students identified for gifted and talented services in WISD qualify for services at any WISD school they attend unless a furlough or exit has occurred. When students are promoted to the secondary level, they will be required to enroll in at least 1 advanced, Pre-AP, or AP class to continue in the gifted and talented program. Students identified as gifted and talented in WISD who unenroll from WISD and enroll in another school district will reenter the program if they return to WISD.
According to the board-approved WISD Policies and Procedures and in compliance with the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted and Talented Students, all students who have participated in gifted and talented programs prior to coming to Waxahachie ISD will be considered for the WISD Gifted and Talented Program. Upon enrollment, parents or guardians will need to complete a Transfer Review Request Form. Once screening records are received from the student’s previous district, the records will be examined for data that corresponds to Waxahachie ISD’s criteria. If the transferred data is insufficient, Waxahachie ISD will assess the student to see if placement in the program is in the student’s best interest. Upon receiving student transfer paperwork within the Gifted and Talented Department, a decision will be made regarding qualifications within 30 school days.
Furlough & Exit
A furlough is a temporary "leave of absence" from the Gifted and Talented Program designed to meet the individual needs of an identified student. Anyone may request a furlough: parent, guardian, student, teacher, or administrator.
Requests for a furlough should be emailed to Melissa Abadie, Director of Advanced Academics. Following the receipt of the request, the members of the Gifted and Talented Selection Committee will meet to consider the proposed furlough.
A student may be furloughed for a period of time deemed appropriate by the Gifted and Talented committee. This period may not be shorter than one grading period or longer than one school year. Furloughs are designed to be short-term and temporary. At the end of the furlough, the student's progress shall be reassessed, and the student may re-enter the Gifted and Talented program, be removed from the program, or be placed on another furlough. A furlough does not indicate a permanent exit from the program. A furlough might also provide the student with an opportunity to attain performance goals established by the Gifted and Talented committee. A furlough is arranged to meet the individual needs of the student.
Student performance in the program shall be monitored. A student shall be removed from the program at any time the Gifted and Talented committee determines it is in the student's best interest and a furlough has been ineffective. If a parent requests their child be removed from the program, the Gifted and Talented committee shall grant the request. Once a student is exited from the program he or she must adhere to the identification procedures and exhibit educational need to be readmitted.