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Gifted Education

Gifted & Talented: Our Purpose

Students Experimenting

Athens City Schools is committed to supporting each of our students in achieving the highest potential possible. To that end, we offer Gifted & Talented Education services to students who are identitfied as Gifted.

According to the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC), "Intellectually gifted children and youth are those who perform or who have demonstrated the potential to perform at high levels in academic or creative fields when compared with 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." Creativity, in this defintiion, refers to problem-solving abilities.

Gifted students are identified by a standardized process. For each student referred, information is gathered in the areas of Aptitude, Characteristics, and Performance. The information is 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. Athens City Schools has a state approved Local Education Agency (LEA) Plan for Gifted that outlines gifted processes and services.

All children do have abilities and can excel. However, the brains of gifted students work differently than normal students. In their area(s) of giftedness, these students must learn at a faster pace and have depth and complexity in content and activities. Otherwise, this information will be mislearned or students will underachieve. Gifted students have unique learning needs that require special education services, or interventions, in order for these students to reach their potential. Gifted students may be gifted in one domain or subject area, such as math or science, in all subjects, and/or in creativity or problem-solving.

There are two models of program services for gifted students in Alabama. Both models must follow the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC). However, the identification of students is what defines the program.  

  • Gifted Program identifies students using the Alabama State Departmnet of Education (SDE) Gifted Eligbility Determination Form and requires a gifted certified specialist to facilitate services.
  • Enrichment Program identifies gifted students plus an additional talent pool using a state-approved, multiple criteria eligiblity matrix and requires a gifted certified specialist to facilitate services.

An Enrichment Program should not be confused with the term enrichment, which is any supplemental activity that is above and beyond the core curriculum standards offered in any classroom and may be administered or faciliated by any certified teacher or mentor.

Any student may be referred if they are enrolled in the public school system and are at least 6 years of age. Referral requests may be submitted at any time.  A student may be referred for consideration for gifted services by teachers, counselors, administrators, parents or guardians, peers, self, and other individuals with knowledge of the student’s abilities.