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Mobile County Public Schools :: Gifted Education
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Gifted Education

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 do we identify gifted students in Alabama?

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
  • Characterisitics - 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 services are provided through gifted education in Alabama? 

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.

The Mobile County Public School System's program that provides services for gifted students 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, and research skills.  These processes are applied in all content areas.  Specific program content is determined through a Gifted Education Plan (GEP).  Service delivery is provided as follows:

Elementary Schools (Non-Magnet) offer Direct Services in a GT Resource Room or Indirect Services in the General Education Setting.

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade:  Indirect Services in the General Education Setting

3rd Grade:  3 hours

4th Grade:  4 hours

5th Grade:  4 hours

Old Shell Road School of Creative and Performing Arts Magnet School and MCPSS Magnet School of Math, Science, and Technology  (Gr. 3-5) offer Direct Services in a GT Resource Room (3 hours), as well as, Enhanced Curriculum Services specific to each school.

Council Traditional School offers In-Direct Gifted Services via the General Education Classroom for students in Gr. 3-5, as well as, Enhanced Curriculum Services specific to their school.

Middle Schools offer Direct Services through a Content Area or Elective Class AND/OR Indirect Services through a variety of methods such as:  Independent Studies, Seminars, Guidance and Counseling.

High Schools do not offer Direct or Indirect Services.  However, student needs are addressed through the following:  Gifted Elective Courses, Mentorships, Distance Learning Courses, Seminars, AP Courses, Dual Enrollment Courses, IB Courses (at selected schools), Guidance and Counseling.  

Philosophy

The Mobile County Public School System recognizes that intellectually gifted children and youth are those who perform at high levels in academic or creative fields when compared with others of their age, experience or environment. These students 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 be found within any race, ethnicity, gender, economic class or nationality. In addition, some students with disabilities may be gifted. The Mobile County Public School System shall prohibit discrimination against any student on the above basis with respect to his/her participation in the gifted program.

The System recognizes the unique needs of its gifted students and the mandate from the State of Alabama to identify and serve them. Through the PACE (Pursuing Academics, Creativity and Excellence) Program, the System shall provide for its gifted students the resources necessary for equality of opportunity, options for high-end learning and the environment for significant accomplishment. The PACE Program shall prepare gifted students to understand their world and to change it for the better.