Embracing and empowering gifted and advanced students not only ensures their individual development but also contributes to the overall enrichment of the school community. Meeting the needs of these talented students and their families both inspires their peers and fosters a culture of excellence.
Here are four ways schools can help ensure that gifted students and their families get the resources they need:
Provide Social-Emotional Support
Many gifted and advanced students find it challenging to establish friendships with their similarly aged peers. Providing specialized groups, clubs, and other extracurricular activities can help these students connect with others who share similar interests, goals, and experiences.
Mentorship programs—that incorporate older students and/or working professionals from various fields of interest—are another way to provide social and emotional support for advanced students.
Encourage Collaboration and Parental Involvement
Fostering more partnerships between schools, universities, and community organizations can help expand resources and learning opportunities for gifted and advanced students. Through these partnerships, workshops, conferences and other professional learning communities, educators, parents, and experts can collaborate and share best practices for supporting this unique student group.
Additionally, establishing clear lines of communication between parents and educators can help families better confront challenges and find additional opportunities for growth.
Address Challenges Related to Inequity
Schools across the country need to do a better job of extending gifted and advanced academic opportunities to students with disabilities, underserved students, and students from low-income households.
There are two complex yet important ways to do this: A) better identifying and addressing cultural biases in testing and identification processes, and B) better allocating resources and support for students who may be overlooked.
Students of all backgrounds deserve equal opportunities for advanced education. However, it requires an all-hands-on-deck effort to make this a reality.
Invest in Long-Term Planning
Gifted and advanced students can grow beyond their imagination when they are given the tools and resources to accept challenges, think interdependently, and monitor their progress for success.
Schools can help support students with this goal by establishing a process for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of their gifted programs and by creating a clear continuum of support services for students.
Further, by providing specialized post-secondary education and career guidance—including access to scholarships and internship opportunities—schools can give gifted and advanced students the tools they need for future success.
Without a doubt, investing in the development of gifted and advanced students helps to cultivate a future generation of leaders, innovators, and problem solvers, who can make significant contributions to various fields and drive societal progress.
By providing tailored educational opportunities and resources, schools can ensure that these students are challenged and engaged at their appropriate levels, preventing them from becoming disengaged or bored in the classroom.