Gifted Education and Talent DevelopmentWJCC Schools2021-10-06T10:28:16-04:00
Ann Colorado, Ed.D.Coordinator of Gifted Education and Talent Development
Phone: (757) 603-6475
Fax: (757) 565-9389

WJCC holds a philosophy of talent development with regard to gifted education.  School is a talent development process, and students who demonstrate one or more areas of academic strength or the potential for academic strength must be nurtured through appropriately differentiated curriculum and instruction in their strength area(s). Students exhibiting extremely high levels of performance in academics need curriculum and instruction that is specially designed for gifted learners. Giftedness and potential giftedness occurs in all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.  In addition, all students must have exposure to and training in higher-level critical and creative thinking skills and activities as part of the core curriculum (Tier I instruction) beginning in Kindergarten.

The WJCC gifted program falls under the Gifted Education and Talent Development Program (GTD Program). The Mission Statement of the Department of Gifted Education and Talent Development (GTD Department) is:

To support appropriately rigorous curriculum and instruction for all students based on their unique academic strengths and needs so that all students, including our gifted and potentially gifted students, are challenged and engaged in their learning.

Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools (WJCC) is committed to excellence in education for all students.  As a division, WJCC expects all students to experience challenging, rigorous coursework based on their academic strengths and needs.  Gifted and Talent Development Resource Teachers (GTDRTs) support general education teachers to implement meaningful differentiation for all students, while also advancing the unique academic needs of gifted learners.  Thus, the Local Plan for the Gifted aligns to the WJCC Strategic Plan, the Virginia Regulations Governing Educational Services for Gifted Students, and the 5 C’s from the Virginia Profile of a Graduate (critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship).  There is a full-time GTDRT or GTD Leader in each of our 16 elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as two itinerant and one full-time Primary GTDRT in our nine elementary schools to support the Gifted Education and Talent Development Program.

The formal gifted identification process has four parts: screening, referral, identification (testing), and eligibility.  You may learn more about the WJCC Gifted Identification timeline on the “Frequently Asked Questions” at the bottom of this webpage, and more about the entire Gifted Identification Process through this handout.

Services for identified gifted students are provided through cluster grouping and specialized curriculum and activities in their regular classroom; Honors, advanced, or accelerated classes; Advanced Placement classes; and/or Dual Enrollment classes. In grades 1-5, gifted services also include a combination of live or asynchronous pull-out and/or push-in lessons. All building-based students in grades K-2 will receive Talent Development push-in lessons from the Primary GTDRT several times a year beginning with Kindergarten in the 2021-2022 school year and adding 1st grade in 2022-2023, and 2nd grade in 2023-2024. The Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted explains in detail all aspects of gifted education and talent development in WJCC as well as long-range goals for the GTD Program. A copy of the Local Plan is available in each school’s front office and online under the “WJCC Resources” tab on this page.

  • Enrichment Opportunities: Looking for something for your child to do this summer?  There are many enrichment opportunities and programs available for students of all grade levels in the state of Virginia.  Please see the Virginia Association’s for the Gifted annual list for 2021 to see what is out there!  Many of these programs are designed for all students.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Gifted Testing?WJCC Schools2021-10-06T09:40:44-04:00

Student data is continuously screened all year long, and all 2nd graders take a nationally-normed, standardized ability test in the spring.  Referrals for the gifted program may be accepted at any time of the school year, but the Open Gifted Referral period is February 14-28, 2022.  The state regulations for gifted programs require that the gifted identification process be completed within 90 instructional days from the receipt of parent permission to test.

What gifted services are offered?WJCC Schools2021-10-06T09:41:39-04:00

The Identification/Placement Committee may recommend specific services/options that they believe best matches the academic needs of the identified gifted student.

All gifted and provisionally placed students are cluster grouped as a basic service delivery option. This model places a group (or cluster) of gifted students together in a heterogeneous general education, honors, advanced, Advanced Placement, or Dual Enrollment classroom with a teacher (a cluster teacher) who has basic training in gifted characteristics, differentiation, and specialized gifted curricula.  In addition, the cluster teacher collaborates with the GTD Resource Teacher on implementing differentiated curriculum and instructional strategies for the gifted.  This model allows identified gifted students to work with age-level peers and intellectual and academic peers every day.

All possible services that eligible students may receive are as follows:

Grades K-2

  • Quarterly push-in, whole-class Higher Level Thinking Skills lessons as part of the Talent Development Program for all students (grades K-2)
  • Cluster grouping with a trained classroom teacher (grades K-2)
  • In-class differentiation with specialized curriculum and instruction designed for gifted learners in the student’s area(s) of strength (grades K-2)
  • A minimum of once weekly in-person or asynchronous gifted class (grades 1-2)

Grades 3-5

  • A minimum of once weekly in-person or asynchronous gifted class (grades 3-4)
  • Cluster grouping with a trained classroom teacher (grades 3-5)
  • In-class differentiation with specialized curriculum and instruction designed for gifted learners in the student’s area(s) of strength (grades 3-5)
  • Acceleration to Math 6 for 5th graders if a student’s data meets eligibility criteria (subject to change as a result of the Virginia Department of Education’s math standards revision process)
  • Enriched English class if supported by student data (grade 5)

Grades 6-8

  • Cluster grouping with trained content area teachers in the student’s area(s) of strength (grades 6-8)
  • In-class differentiation with specialized curriculum and instruction designed for gifted learners in the student’s area(s) of strength (grades 6-8)
  • Honors English classes if supported by student data (grades 6-8)
  • If strong in Math & Science, students are encouraged to join the Prospective Student Pipeline for the New Horizons Governor’s School for Science and Technology

Grades 9-12

  • Cluster grouping with trained content area teachers in the student’s area(s) of strength (grades 9-12)
  • In-class differentiation with specialized curriculum and instruction designed for gifted learners in the student’s area(s) of strength through courses such as Honors or Advanced courses (grades 9-12), Advanced Placement courses (grades 10-12), and Dual Enrollment courses (grades 11-12)

Other high school programs of interest to some gifted students include:

  • Year-round New Horizons Governor’s School for Science and Technology (Grades 11 & 12; the Prospective Student Pipeline begins in Grade 8)
  • Summer Residential Governor’s School for Visual & Performing Art, Academics, and Mentorships (Rising 11 & 12)
  • Summer Residential Governor’s World Language Academies (Rising 11 & 12)
How will my child be screened for gifted eligibility?WJCC Schools2021-10-06T09:42:07-04:00

All students in WJCC are continuously screened for the potential need for gifted services each year of school.  Gifted and Talent Development Resource Teachers (GTD Resource Teachers) work with principals, classroom teachers, and other specialists in the building to screen regularly collected student testing data and look for test scores that might indicate a need for more academic challenge in the classroom.  Some of the types of tests that all students may take are:

  • VKRP (Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program, grade K),
  • PALS (Phonological Assessment of Literacy Skills, grade K-2),
  • Achievement test scores in Reading, Math, Science, and/or Social Studies (such as Measures of Academic Progress tests, grades 3-8, or Virginia Standards of Learning tests, grades 3-11),
  • Math pre-tests and post-tests for each math unit in each grade level (grades K-8),
  • A nationally normed ability test (typically in grade 2), and
  • PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, grades 9 and 11).

GTD Resource Teachers collaborate with teachers of students who consistently meet high and/or above-grade-level benchmarks on one or more of these tests each year and are exceeding expectations in the classroom.  They support the teacher with providing Tier II differentiation in the classroom, which is when the curriculum, instruction, and activities are adapted to be more rigorous than the Tier I core curriculum.  Work products from Tier II assignments as well as behavioral characteristics displayed by students are also screened at least once each school year, typically at mid-year once all mid-year data is collected by K-12 teachers.

Based on the screening of all these data, a pool of potential candidates is created to either refer for gifted testing or monitor through further use of Tier II differentiated curriculum and instruction (Talent Pool).  These types of referrals are considered internal referrals based on each school’s screening of data. The Commonwealth of Virginia also allows parents, guardians, community members, peers, and even the student himself or herself, to refer a child for consideration for a school division’s gifted program.  Referrals made by these stakeholders are considered “External Referrals.”  Referrals for the gifted program may be accepted at any time of the school year, but the Open Gifted Referral period is February 14th-28th, 2022.  The state regulations for gifted programs require that the gifted identification process be completed within 90 instructional days from the receipt of parent consent to test.

Can students not formally identified for gifted serviced receive gifted services?WJCC Schools2021-10-06T09:42:27-04:00

No. However, students not eligible for gifted services still have opportunities for differentiation in the classroom with rigorous curriculum and instruction, including honors classes, a wide variety of elective courses, Advanced Placement courses, and Dual Enrollment courses. GTD Resource Teachers collaborate with teachers of students who consistently meet high and/or above-grade-level benchmarks in their class assessments and are exceeding expectations in the classroom.  They support the teacher with providing Tier II differentiation in the classroom, which is when the curriculum, instruction, and activities are adapted to be more rigorous than the Tier I core curriculum.

Does WJCC provide services for students enrolled in private schools?WJCC Schools2017-07-19T13:33:23-04:00

No.  Both screening for gifted services and delivery of instruction are for those students currently enrolled in WJCC schools.

My child was identified for the gifted program in WJCC but withdrew from the school. If my child re-enrolls in a WJCC school is he/she automatically placed into the gifted program?WJCC Schools2021-10-06T09:42:51-04:00

The student maintains his or her gifted identification but may need to undergo some gifted testing to determine the correct gifted service options for the student.

If my child was in a gifted program in another school division or state, is he/she guaranteed placement in WJCC’s gifted program?WJCC Schools2021-10-06T09:43:19-04:00

Since each school division in the country has a different gifted identification process and offers different gifted services, we will review the student’s file for documentation to determine what WJCC gifted testing items we may need to administer for correct gifted placement.  Please request all gifted records from your child’s prior school be sent to the new school’s registrar for gifted personnel to review.

With regard to military gifted transfer students, WJCC follows the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, § 22.1-360. The military compact law pertaining to identified gifted students was passed on July 1, 2009.  In Article V, section B, it states:

“The receiving state school shall initially honor placement of the student in educational programs based on current educational assessments conducted at the school in the sending state or participation/placement in like programs in the sending state.  Such programs include, but are not limited to, (i) gifted and talented programs and (ii) English as a second language (ESL) programs.  This does not preclude the school in the receiving state from performing subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement of the student.”

Any student from a military family moving to WJCC with verified, written gifted education documentation should be placed in the most appropriate class(es) to match the student’s academic strength areas.  The Coordinator for Gifted Education and Talent Development will work together with the receiving school personnel to determine which placement would be an equivalent placement.  The student may still need to undergo some or all of the WJCC gifted testing process to determine the most appropriate class placement.

Does my child have to be rescreened from elementary school to middle school to high school?WJCC Schools2017-07-19T13:32:09-04:00

No, once a student is found eligible for gifted services, the placement remains.

If my child goes through the screening process and is not found eligible will there be another opportunity for him/her to go through the process again?WJCC Schools2021-10-06T09:43:56-04:00

You will want to contact the Gifted and Talent Development Resource Teacher at your child’s school to discuss the results of your child’s gifted eligibility determination.  After that meeting, a parent can appeal the placement decision.  If the student is determined not eligible on appeal, a parent can refer a child again after one calendar year. Even if a student is not found eligible for gifted services, GTD Resource Teachers collaborate with teachers of students who consistently meet high and/or above-grade-level benchmarks on classroom assessments and are exceeding expectations in the classroom.  They support the teacher with providing Tier II differentiation in the classroom, which is when the curriculum, instruction, and activities are adapted to be more rigorous than the Tier I core curriculum.  Thus, every student who needs challenge in the classroom will have access to it.

I am interested in having my child evaluated for gifted services. What do I do?WJCC Schools2021-10-06T10:53:26-04:00

Referrals for the gifted program may be accepted at any time of the school year, but the Open Gifted Referral period is February 14th-28th, 2022.  Parents are encouraged to read the document, “The WJCC Screening, Referral, Testing, and Eligibility Process for the Gifted Program.” This document shares questions that parents can ask their child’s teacher to help them better understand their child’s academic needs.

Parents who decide to refer their child for the Gifted Program  must complete a Referral Form and a Parent Consent Form for Gifted Testing.  These must be turned in to the GTD Resource Teacher at the child’s school.  The GTD Resource Teacher will also ask the parent/guardian to complete a Parent Questionnaire for background information.  Please contact your school’s GTD Resource Teacher if you have any further questions.

Gifted and Talent Development Resource Teachers

NameE-Mail AddressSchoolLevel
Lori WilliamsClara Byrd Baker
D.J. Montague
Laurel Lane
Norge
Elementary (K-2)
Diane HuebnerJ. Blaine Blayton
Matoaka
Matthew Whaley
Stonehouse
Elementary (K-2)
Stacy JohnsonJames RiverElementary (K-2)
Stacy FreemanClara Byrd BakerElementary
Cheryl HolzschuhJ. Blaine BlaytonElementary
Jamie CollinsD.J. MontagueElementary
Erin RouttenJames RiverElementary
Madeline WatrousLaurel LaneElementary
Karen LittleMatoakaElementary
Sarah Corneliussen (Franny)Matthew WhaleyElementary
Kara O'GradyNorgeElementary
Norman Poon (Dave)StonehouseElementary
Nathaniel ElliottBerkeleyMiddle
Gia ChambersJames BlairMiddle
Julia RoketenetzLois S. HornsbyMiddle
Lisa ButchelloToanoMiddle
Richard LampertJamestownHigh
Korri WilliamsLafayetteHigh
Katlin AughenbaughWarhillHigh
Katie MaclauchlanWarhillHigh

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