What you need to know


All children, including gifted children, have the right to a free, appropriate education.

The most effective way to meet the needs of the gifted children in Vermont is for parents and teachers to work collaboratively.  It is essential for parents and teachers to establish trusting, cooperative relationships each year, to share information about the particular child in need, and to give each other support in the role each plays in the child’s life. 

    For a parent, working as a volunteer in the child’s classroom may be a good way to get to know the teacher, the class, the routine, and the instructional strategies used by the teacher. A parent can also help by arranging for special resources for the child and others.  Teachers can welcome parents in their classrooms, find ways to reassure parents that they are getting to know the child, and be willing to help by modifying instruction. Parents and teachers need to listen to each other with sincere interest, respect, and concern at conferences.

     It is always important, in the event of any problems, that parents work within the educational chain of command:

The child’s classroom teacher.

The building principal.

The district curriculum coordinator and/or special educator.

The district superintendent.

The local school board.

The State Department of Education.

The State Board of Education.

    If additional help is necessary with figuring out what can be done to assure that a gifted child’s academic, social, and/or emotional needs are being addressed, the school’s educational support team can be called upon to help formulate a plan for a gifted child.   Testing may or may not be necessary to provide evidence of the intensity of the child’s need for further services or additional instructional modifications in the classroom.
     Some people have the attitude that gifted children don’t need special services or curriculum modification because “they can take care of themselves.” Much in the research suggests that this is very often not true, that gifted children need support and assistance for full growth and development.
    All of us need to be educated about the characteristics and needs of gifted children, about Vermont's Education Laws and Regulations, and Vermont’s Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities.  Teachers and parents alike should be prepared to educate a wider audience about why the schools have a responsibility to all children, including gifted children, and why special services or modifications for gifted children are not elitist.

Vermont’s Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities states that making effective changes in our schools “requires that communities set high standards and hold themselves accountable for first-rate educational results for all students...”  (Vermont Department of Education, Fall 2000, Appendix A3).  This includes gifted children.

    John F. Kennedy wrote:  “Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation, but children have the equal right to develop their talent, their ability, and their motivation.”  Fairness in the classroom does not mean the same instruction for everyone; it means appropriate opportunities for growth for each student.

    Parents and teachers of gifted children need to become politically aware. We need to write letters to our state senators and representatives to reinforce the importance of progress in the area of gifted education.  The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) has a “Legislative Update” section on their website to keep us informed of current legislation progress.