Opportunities For Gifted Offered Through LEAP
By Dr. Becky Terry
Director of School Management/Gifted
Grenada School District is dedicated to providing optimum educational experiences for all students at their appropriate level of ability. Offerings addressing the unique needs of gifted individuals are addressed through Project LEAP. According to Gifted Coordinator Dr. Becky Terry, “The goal of Project LEAP (Learning, Enrichment, and Progress) is to ensure that gifted children, who demonstrate unusually high potential, are identified and offered an appropriate education based upon their exceptional abilities. Because of their unusual capabilities, they require qualitatively different educational experiences not available in the regular classroom. These uniquely different programs are required to enable gifted students to realize their abilities and potential contributions to self and society.”
Gifted children are reflected in every ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic group. They come in all shapes and sizes, with differing strengths and ability levels. Gifted children are as diverse as humanity itself. Generally speaking, gifted learners possess high levels of intelligence, creativity, critical and creative thinking, and intellectual curiosity. They may require fewer repetitions to process and understand information than traditional learners.
The philosophy of Project LEAP is to develop the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical self of the gifted students by providing opportunities for enrichment beyond the regular classroom. Through divergent thinking and self-expression, the program strives to instill positive attitudes and values to produce effective individuals and leaders in a cooperative atmosphere. Gifted Teacher Angie McElwrath states, “It is both rewarding and challenging to teach gifted students. It requires bringing higher level skills of academics and creativity to the divergent thinkers.”
The State of Mississippi defines intellectually gifted children by stating, “…those children and youth who are found to have an exceptionally high degree of intelligence as documented through the identification process.” Artistically gifted children are defined as, “…those children and youth who are found to have an
exceptionally high degree of creativity and an exceptionally high degree of ability in the visual arts as documented through the identification process.”
Grenada School District provides gifted education programs for intellectually gifted students in grades 2-6 and artistically gifted students in grades 2-8. The Mississippi Department of Education Regulations for the Gifted Education Programs is the model for the GSD Gifted Education Program. GSD requires a blanket screening of all first grade students through a group intelligence test, with referrals accepted at grade levels 2-5. Artistically Gifted students are identified through an audition process, with referrals accepted from grades 2-8.
The gifted learners of GSD are given stimulating educational experiences appropriate to their level of ability to enable them to realize their potential. Project LEAP enables Grenada’s gifted individuals to make significant gains in achievement, enhance their sense of competence and well-being, and enable each individual to function at their highest level.
Dr. Becky Terry
Director of School