Plan for gifted students anticipated

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Within three months, the Moffat County School District should have a solid plan to serve its population of students considered "gifted and talented."

By March, officials hope to have a plan to identify and serve gifted and talented students and implement the plan in the fall of 2005.

A grant from the Colorado Department of Education and support services for the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services are being used to facilitate the planning process.

The Colorado Department of Education defines gifted and talented students as those whose abilities, talents and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational needs.

When the program launches, it will serve students in third through sixth grades, eventually expanding to include all students in the district.

According to Sunset Elementary School Principal Jim Rugh, services to students in the gifted-and-talented category at the lower grade levels are lacking.

"It's a population that we need to serve, and there's a committee that's looking at how," he said.

Until students reach seventh grade, services come only in the form that individual classroom teachers can, and are willing, to provide.

When students reach the eighth grade, and especially at the high- school level, they can choose advanced placement courses or enroll in college classes.

Rugh didn't know how many students in Moffat's district would be considered gifted and talented, but said nationally, it's about 3 percent to 5 percent of the student population.

He said identifying those students is a crucial first step and will be based on a "body of evidence," not just a single test score.

It's been several years since the school district had specific programming for advanced students.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 ,or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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