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Screening, tests open access to gifted programs

By DONNA WINCHESTER
Published August 29, 2004

  photo
[Times photo: Bob Croslin]
Katie Maugel works out a problem for her team of Curtis Fundamental fifth-graders during the Mighty Mu mathematics competition at Palm Harbor University High School in November.

OVERVIEW: The school district offers opportunities for gifted students at individual schools or at gifted centers.

ELIGIBILITY: Gifted classes are open to public, private and homeschool students who have been referred for screening by classroom teachers, other school personnel or parents and who score at least two standard deviations above the mean on a standardized test of intelligence. Students also must demonstrate a majority of the characteristics of a gifted student according to a standard checklist and show a need for programs beyond the regular classroom.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PROGRAMS: Most elementary gifted programs meet once a week and focus on problem-based learning. Students grapple with realistic, structured problems from a variety of disciplines. They learn to locate and evaluate information, communicate effectively and use critical and creative thinking.

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAMS: Gifted classes meet daily in all middle schools. Sixth-graders concentrate on critical reading. Scientific thinking is emphasized in seventh grade. Humanities, archaeology and anthropology are introduced in eighth grade.

Additionally, two programs are available for middle school students gifted in mathematics and science. Mathematics Education for Gifted Secondary School Students, or MEGSSS, is available for students highly advanced in mathematics. Students prequalify based on their fourth-grade FCAT scores. Integrated Mathematics and Science with Technology, or IMAST, is designed to challenge gifted seventh- and eighth-graders in science and mathematics. Special criteria apply.

MEGSSS and IMAST are available to children who live in Attendance Area A (please see map, Page ) at Bay Point and Meadowlawn middle schools. Children in Attendance Area B (please see map, Page ) can choose Seminole or Pinellas Park middle schools. Those in Attendance Area C (please see map, Page ) can choose Carwise, Kennedy, Safety Harbor or Tarpon Springs middle schools. IMAST only is offered at Tyrone Middle School and Southside Fundamental School, all in Attendance Area A.

HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS: Besides participating in magnet programs, including the International Baccalaureate programs at St. Petersburg High School and Palm Harbor University High School, gifted high school students can take honors and Advanced Placement courses offered at high schools throughout the district. Summer opportunities for high school students are offered through the Governor's Summer Program for Gifted Students.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the gifted program Web site at www.pinellas.k12.fl.us/gifted/home.html or call 727 588-6037.

[Last modified September 1, 2004, 13:45:36]

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