MTES Gifted Education Mission Statement

The Mission Statement of Mansfield Township Elementary School

The Mansfield Township Elementary School District partners with the community to provide a meaningful and rigorous education that instills the value of lifelong learning, and empowers all students to reach their full potential and become productive citizens, in accordance with the comprehensive standards of our state.

Gifted Education Mission

The MTES Gifted and Talented Program builds on the mission statement of the school, recognizing that “all students” includes those with exceptional abilities, for whom the “rigorous education” empowering them “to reach their full potential” requires challenges beyond those specified in the standards for general education.

As students’ individual potential extends beyond the domain of content knowledge, the MTES Gifted and Talented Program strives to promote the development of these student outcomes:

  • Critical thinking – Logical and evidence-based reasoning, with attention to depth and accuracy

  • Communication skills – Verbal and written, to varied purposes and audiences

  • Metacognition – Awareness of goal-setting, task processes, and reflection on outcomes

  • Constructive, critical evaluation – Assessment of depth and validity of work by self and peers

  • Self-regulation – Responsibility and task commitment

  • Self-efficacy and empowerment – Activate and apply skills to real-life contexts

These goals are hallmarks of productive citizenship. To these aims, the MTES Gifted and Talented Program will provide content-based challenges to support, supplement, and extend classroom instruction, as a forum to foster these life skills.

Program Structure

The MTES Gifted and Talented Program consists of a continuum of services, in a variety of formats and components to meet student needs. Program design varies to meet the emerging needs of students and is subject to ongoing revision, in order to optimize effectiveness.

Mansfield Township Elementary provides:

  • Enrichment opportunities by interest – These opportunities are potentially available to all students, and refer to those activities for which participants self-select by interest, such as clubs and individual student competitions. Such opportunities are publicized through the weekly newsletter and home-school communications.

  • Enrichment opportunities by aptitude – These opportunities are potentially available to all students, and refer to those positions for which students are selected by aptitude, such as through teacher or guidance counselor nomination, or by classroom competition. These opportunities include positions of student leadership and opportunities to represent MTES in intermural competitions.

  • WCCSE intermural opportunities – MTES students participate in several events through Warren County Consortium for Student Enrichment each year. Participation for some of these events is self-selected by interest or aptitude; others build on thematic G&T instructional units (see below).

  • Differentiation in the regular classroom – Such differentiation for higher levels of challenge is managed by the classroom teacher and supported by the G&T teacher. This may include alternate practice activities, adjusted assignments, or curriculum compacting where sections of content are pretested, for possible enrichment or replacement with more challenging material. Differentiation may be individualized or managed by groups, as best suits students’ needs.

  • Team Teaching in the regular classroom – Team teaching provides whole-class challenge, where the classroom teacher and G&T teacher together plan and deliver enriched instruction. Depending on the content being addressed, the teachers may work together with the entire class, or may break into smaller groups to target instruction to student readiness.

  • Pull-out Enrichment to extend grade-level content – When a number of teachers identify individual students who are ready for additional challenges, these students may gather for an enrichment group, managed by the classroom teacher(s) and supported by the G&T teacher, or, in some cases, managed by the G&T teacher. For example: Mathematics enrichment groups in the upper grades provide opportunities for students with strong math aptitude to develop critical thinking, problem solving, and mathematical communication skills.

  • Thematic semi-replacement units – Such instructional units are typically offered to all academic G&T students at a particular grade level; participation may be individualized to meet students’ needs. As such units meet regularly during classroom instructional periods, participation is limited to those students who have met G&T eligibility criteria. Student work in such units will be shared with classroom teachers and may be considered as a factor in classroom grades.

  • Accelerated replacement classes – Such classes may be formed to meet the needs of clusters of students who demonstrate mastery of curriculum standards well beyond grade level, for whom classroom instruction would be inappropriate, as has occasionally occurred with upper grades mathematics. Accelerated replacement classes follow and extend the state-required curriculum, with an increased emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication, and an expectation that students will be responsible and productive within an environment of greater autonomy.

Grading: Does G&T count?

Grading policies vary by grade level, as there are various factors to consider.

Arguments for ungraded G&T work:

  • Students eligible for academic G&T have typically already achieved grade level proficiency, particularly in their area of strength. If they are to be assessed according to grade level standards, the grades would be automatic A's.

  • If students perceive that their additional assignments for G&T classes have negative impact on their grades, this contributes to a devaluing of G&T work. In such cases, students may become risk-averse and prefer to simply refuse G&T opportunities rather than risk "ruining" their high average.

  • Students being instructed at their level of readiness will not be typically receiving all A's, unless they are expending significant effort. Should they be penalized for being advanced? Why should they be working harder than their peers if they are not guaranteed higher grades?

Arguments for graded G&T work:

  • Students who find that their G&T work is not graded may realize that there is no clear accountability for how they spend this time or what effort they invest. Some students may use this as a rationale to work to a level that is mediocre - or worse.

  • If they have already received A's for their regular classwork to encourage them to take on additional challenges of G&T, this might be seen as a "free pass" to avoid regular class-time and yet not work to ability in G&T. After all, why work if it doesn't count?

We expect G&T students to strive for continual academic growth.

At MTES, particularly in the lower grades the G&T work does not impact classroom grades. Through team-teaching and coordination of differentiation, students will be encouraged and acclimated to continually progress.

As G&T students reach 4th and 5th grade, however, there are increasingly frequent opportunities for G&T work that extends regular classroom instruction. As students take on challenges that build on typical grade level assignments, the completion and quality of those completed assignments will be considered as a contributing factor in grade calculation.

  • Often the G&T teacher will confer with the grade level teacher in grading specific assignments. This maintains a perspective weighing both the higher expectations of G&T and the comparison to regular grade level performance.

  • Sometimes, particularly during team-teaching, the classroom assignments will be tiered to various levels of challenge, to meet the needs of the students in the class.When G&T work is taking the place of in-class work, such as with pull-out novel units, the related assignments will be assessed and weighed as part of the students' grades.

    • Often in such situations, the administration includes students who are not GT-identified, yet are ready for these more challenging options.

    • In cooperative assignments, collaboration is often based on interest or aptitude, rather than GT-eligibility.

Accelerated replacement mathematics classes which meet every day are graded according to the high expectations and instructional readiness of that group.

Missed Classwork

Do G&T students have to make up the work they miss in the regular classroom? It depends.

Students are eligible for participation in the Gifted and Talented program through a combination of factors, including their demonstration of mastery of grade level work.

In most cases, children who leave the classroom to participate in G&T are responsible for the content but not necessarily the product. In simple terms, they are responsible for knowing what was covered but they may not need to "make up" every piece of written work produced during the missed lesson. For example, if the class worked on long division and the child already knows how to do this, he or she is responsible for knowing how to do long division (which in this example was already familiar) but does not have to complete all of the practice work that was done by the rest of the class.

This system acknowledges that the G&T program's classes address additional content, which may require G&T homework in addition to the homework assigned by the regular classroom teacher. In our fifth and sixth grade semi-replacement G&T Language Arts classes, the participating students have regular G&T assignments in lieu of some (not all) of their regular classwork. Their classroom teachers take this into account when planning their lessons and especially their group assignments.

Sometimes it may be unclear whether students are expected to make up a specific assignment, so when in doubt, check with the classroom teacher!