Olentangy Local Schools strives to provide a continuum of services and supports for students, teachers, and parents in grades K-12. Gifted learners exhibit a wide range of academic and social/ emotional variances that need to be addressed through a multitude of service options. One size does not fit all. Services consist of a combination of the following components, ranging from serving the most students to fewer: differentiated instruction/ consultation/ guidance, advanced course work, classroom cluster grouping, direct services in math and/or reading, and acceleration.
Differentiated Instruction/ Consultation/ Guidance
The first layer of Olentangy Local Schools Gifted Services is to provide differentiated instruction in the regular classroom. Identified students will work on meaningful lessons with their regular classroom teachers. Differentiated work is provided to students based on the student’s interests, needs and abilities. Teachers use formative assessment data to determine the knowledge base of the students and provide alternative activities that broaden or deepen the lesson, or promote higher level thinking skills. The Gifted Intervention Specialists will consult with the classroom teachers as well as assist in collaboration with students, parents and teachers to ensure that student work is appropriately challenging.
Advanced Course Work
At the middle school and high school levels, there are multiple opportunities for gifted learners to pursue advanced curriculum through a variety of course options. Middle school students may choose from a wide range of unified arts, world languages, and math options to match their interests and abilities. High school students are able to participate in a large number of Honors, AP, and dual enrollment options. These courses meet the academic needs of gifted learners in a mixed ability classroom setting.
Classroom Cluster Grouping
Cluster grouping is a method of grouping identified gifted students in the classroom of one teacher, while the other students in that class are of mixed ability. Through cluster grouping, advanced learners can receive differentiated instruction and curriculum appropriate for their level, from the regular classroom teacher. Furthermore, gifted students can better understand and accept their learning differences if there are other students with similar needs in the class. Cluster grouping provides an effective, research-based complement to Olentangy Local Schools Gifted Program.
Direct Math and/or Reading Services
Direct services in math and/or reading are provided from a gifted specialist and/or classroom teacher with ongoing professional development in the area of gifted education. These services provide opportunities for critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and independent learning through rigorous compacted lessons. Direct services are provided in the regular classroom and/or gifted classroom setting.
Goals include growth of personal and academic self-discipline, pursuit of unique investigations, development of problem-solving techniques, development of realistic and healthy concepts of self and others, willingness to assume leadership and responsibility, and development of communication skills. Students are placed in a learning environment in which they are encouraged to go beyond the known and obvious, where process is emphasized over factual learning, and scholarly exploration is expected and facilitated.
The most intensive level of gifted service offered in Olentangy is acceleration. Students may be placed in above grade level content through an evaluation process and team decision. Acceleration opportunities exist at all levels and include early entrance, subject acceleration, whole grade acceleration, or early graduation. This research-based service allows high ability students to engage in academic challenges appropriate to their needs and overall development.