Pockets of Excellence 2011

Pockets of Excellence


  • Avery County Schools uses multiple criteria to identify AIG students including the use of a case-study approach for under-represented populations. Additionally, a 1:1 digital environment for all students, K-12, provides access to 21st century instructional delivery and resources. Professional development specific to the needs of gifted learners are integrated into the district's initiatives.

  • Asheville City Schools provides tiered services that meet the needs of all gifted learners. Programming involves and depends on the expertise of many individuals – classroom teachers, counselors, administrators, and other certified support personnel – rather than relying solely on the AIG Specialists. In this re-visioned plan, they have specifically targeted expanding services in a meaningful way – for all grade spans, including the K-2 and 9-12 populations. Additionally, they effectively utilized partnerships and collaborative efforts to expand access to all stakeholders.

  • Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools developed identification and service models that provides four options. Also, the delivery of the program involves school administration, teaching and support staff, parents and the community partners.

  • Cumberland County Schools provides AIG service options for students in grades K-12.
    K-2 Discovery ProgramElkin City Schools uses data to inform decisions. Much emphasis is put on the coordination of the efforts involving students, parents, teacher, administration, and the community.There are strong partnerships with the community, especially the Foothills Arts Council. The Curriculum Coordinator, Career Development Coordinator, and AIG Coordinator help teachers add rigor to the honors and AP programs. The AIG Coordinator and the Career Development Coordinator work together to design the Career Plan and DEP for high school students. Prerequisites for honors and AP classes are carefully explained and scheduled.
    • Nurture students who show the potential to perform at higher levels as well as locates and nurtures students who are low income minority students.
    ACES grades 3-5
    • AIG identified students clustered with other academically capable students. In this blended service model the AIG teacher may go into classes to teach whole class, pull students out for particular units of study, and works as a consultant for the cluster class teacher to provide other enriched activities.
    • ACES Grouped Classes – AIG students are grouped for all or part of the day with faster paced and accelerated lessons.
    • COOL School (Children Operating Online) – Combined with another service option AIG students receive some of their instruction online to complete units of study.
    GEMS grades 6-8
    • Cluster classes – AIG identified students are clustered for instruction in math and reading. Classes are enhanced by more rigorous reading and math activities that extend beyond the SCOS
    • Resource classes – Students come out of the regular classroom to participate in activities with the AIG teacher
    SAGES grades 9-12
    • Enrichment sessions
    • Newsletters
    • Advanced Curriculum Opportunities
    • Academic Counseling and Advisement – College Prep, field trips, course selection

  • Granville County Schools responds to the needs and resources of the district. The AIG program communicates which student’s needs will be met and how, plans for implementation and coordination among the components, and provides a framework for decision-making and continuous program improvement.

  • Nash-Rocky Mount Schools is present “at the table” during district-wide leadership meetings, principal roundtables, and instructional team meetings in order to have the voice of AIG heard, integrated into other programs, and supported in all areas, K- 12.
    Intentional programs and services have been and are continually being created for traditionally under-represented AIG populations, including culturally/ethnically diverse, economically disadvantaged, English language learners, highly gifted, and twice-exceptional students. A close partnership with the Exceptional Children’s Department and the English as a Second Language Department have helped educate classroom teachers on the characteristics of gifted EC and ESL students.

    A variety of services are provided for gifted and potentially gifted students (K-12) that modify, supplement, and build on academic skills and knowledge, as well as meeting their social and emotional needs.
  • New Hanover County Schools implements the following: a comprehensive and equitable identification process (Standard 1). Common resources at each school site allow for consistent rigor of the curriculum. (Standard 2). The district has also implemented an initiative to have classroom teachers that work with AIG students credentialed, which involves a hybrid online and face-to-face workshop model. (Standard 3). Communication among staff, especially during transition times, promotes consistency of services. (Standard 4) Strong partnerships, particularly with the university and community college. (Standard 5). Additionally, Site Evidences Notebooks for each school monitor the implementation of the gifted plan (Standard 6).

  • Rutherford County Schools provides an array of services at each grade level to meet the needs of gifted students.Union County Schools are available at all levels:
    • The K-2 program focuses on nurturing and enriching the academic and intellectual potential in all students. K-5 AIG Specialists provide inclusion opportunities for K-2 teachers and students throughout the year.
    • In grades 3-5, identified students are offered an enrichment class once a week taught by an AIG Specialist.
    • In grades 6-8, students are in ability grouped classes for language arts and math. Students in these classes have demonstrated a definite need for a differentiated curriculum.
    • In grades 9-12, students are encouraged to take Honors and/or Advanced Placement Courses. College courses are also available with dual enrollment.

  • K-3 services are nurturing and consultative – the AIG teacher can provide resources to the classroom teacher and/or work with students as needed. No formal identification is made, however, at this level except for the purposes of grade/subject acceleration.

  • Grade 2 nurturing pilot-GLOBAL kids- seeks to identify through performance-based, nontraditional assessments students from underrepresented groups for early targeted enrichment with the intention of fully qualifying for AIG services later in the elementary or middle school years.

  • Grades 4-8 are served by pulling students out daily for reading and/or math instruction by a licensed AIG teacher, based on their identification. Curriculum materials are selected based on appropriateness for gifted students. Regular classroom teachers are encouraged to differentiate, as needed in science and social studies.

  • Grades 9-12 are served through Honors, AP, IB and accelerated programs such as Early College, early graduation, dual enrollment, and NC Virtual Public School.
    • Watauga County Schools AIG Specialists meet with teachers, other professionals, and parents regularly to explain and implement services that meet the needs of gifted learners. Yearly meetings occur to establish a DEP/IDEP for each student that is reviewed at the end of the year. Specialists annually review characteristics of gifted learners and placement procedures with their teachers. The Specialists also meet monthly to share materials, professional development, and ideas relating to best practices in gifted education. Direct services are provided to identified students in grades K-8 through inclusion, pull-out, flexible grouping, and collaborative teaching. All K-2 students are provided nurturing experiences through enrichment events, prepared centers of instruction, and whole class experience provided by the AIG Specialist. AIG Specialists regularly collaborate with classroom teachers (grades 3-8) and attend grade level meetings. A keen focus on communication to all stakeholders is evident through newsletters, School Fusion pages, district webpage, etc. Students’ talents and abilities are showcased through media presentations. Site-based meetings for all stakeholders are held as students move from one grade span to another to ensure smooth transitions. An Assistant Principal at the high school has been assigned “gifted duties” and is responsible for the day-to-day workings of the gifted program (keeping an updated, accurate headcount, providing information to parents and counselors, periodically reviewing course selections and academic growth of gifted students, serving on the county-wide AIG Advisory Committee, etc.). A well-planned array of extracurricular programs and events are offered to meet student interest and need. The AIG Director provides monthly updates to administrators, presents gifted information at the summer planning retreat, and provides presentations to the School Board per request.

Standard 1

  • Greene County Schools utilizes a multi-criteria (quantitative and qualitative) and multi-leveled identification process for both academic and intellectual areas of strength in grades K-12. Also, there is a product review rubric that can be used in a case study process to assess a student‘s project, ideas, or special activity for indications of the need for advanced differentiated services for that student. Referral information is kept by gender, race, and source of referral so as to be able to note trends in the referral data.

  • Stokes County Schools uses the Multiple Indicators of Giftedness. Students’ communication skills, motivation, inquiry/curiosity, insight, interests, problem solving abilities, memory, reasoning, imagination/creativity, sensitivity, and other qualities are considered in addition to more traditional methods of identification such as grades and test scores.

  • Stanly County Schools utilizes portfolio submissions for identification. AIG teachers at the school sites collect a variety of assessment data and observational records for students who have been screened for or recommended for differentiated services. As each piece of data is collected, it is recorded on a form with pathways that is used for identification purposes. Portfolio submissions are encouraged, especially at the K-2 level as a method of assessing students’ true abilities. Classroom teachers are provided with portfolio submission forms that list examples of items to include in a student portfolio as well as what not to include. The portfolio submission form includes a documentation checklist for teachers to use as they consider areas of math and reading, as well as general aptitude components. The information and samples collected are taken to the Needs Determination Team at the schools for consideration of placement and services. The team includes the principal, AIG teacher, classroom teacher(s), and counselor from the school.

  • Randolph County Schools uses multiple pathways for identification. Pathway 1 responds to aptitude score only, Pathway 2 uses aptitude, achievement, and grades, and Pathway 3 provides for observation checklists and performance tasks in lieu of one of the criteria from Pathway 2. These performance tasks are standardized inasmuch as every student in the same grade has the same task, same time constraints, same materials, and same rubric for scoring. All performance tasks have been field tested with already identified AIG students to establish a guide set. Teachers have developed a common language and understanding when establishing the guide sets. The observation data collected during the administration of the performance task accounts for 1/3 of the total score; that way the student answers and product take precedence. A team of AIG specialists score the performance tasks and a teacher never scores her own. There is always a reconsideration time if there is not a consensus of the work quality. Finally, an alternative assessment allows students from diverse backgrounds to qualify with other assessment tools.

  • Currituck County Schools uses the Alert Now System as a form of communicating with parents. The system is used to call parents of AIG identified students to let them know of upcoming AIG Advisory Committee Meetings. During AIG Advisory Committee Meetings the initial AIG plan has been developed and revised given DPI feedback. The Alert Now System allowed notification to each parent of the opportunity to participate and to provide feedback if unable to attend the actual meeting.

  • Burke County Schools increased the number of AIG students from under represented populations through use of non-traditional assessment tools. Assessing potential AIG students from the under represented populations (twice-exceptional as well as culturally and economically disadvantaged) required using alternative assessments. A checklist determines if alternative assessments are needed and assessment information determines which will be the most appropriate for the student. Assessments are then culturally and economically fair as well as fair for potential twice and multi-exceptional students. Another component is performance based assessment that is used for students who perform well in class on in aspects of creativity and and critical thinking but do not perform well on multiple choice tests.

Standard 2

  • Hoke County Schools has focused on research skill development for secondary students. Research skills are taught through the implementation of the North Carolina Graduation Project which Hoke County emphasizes in grades 8-12. In the 8th grade the focus is plagiarism, in the 9th grade the focus is format and in the 10th grade the focus is content. These skills are utilized across the curriculum. As a part of differentiating instruction in honor and Advanced Placement classes research skills are used to enhance and increase the depth of knowledge for AIG students; thus, these students are required to do advanced research projects.

  • Lenoir County Schools planned a Gifted Gala at the end of the year to document and encourage consistent enrichment and extension throughout the LEA. The purpose of the Gifted Gala is to showcase projects and talents of gifted learners in order to build community and capacity, to promote consistent enrichment and extension of the curriculum, and to foster some of the 21st century skills through collaboration and presentation of work.

  • Wilkes County Schools serves gifted learners in a variety of ways. In the elementary schools, the AIG students are served through resource, inclusion, or a nurturing program in grades K-5. Middle school students are grouped in AIG classes and/or AIG honors classes. In high school, students are given the opportunity to take honors and/or AP classes, attend Early College High School, distance learning courses, afternoon college, and referrals to special schools such as Governor’sSchool, NC School of Science and Math, and NC School of the Arts. In addition to this, students are given the options of participating in various honors programs such as Beta Club, Math Counts, Science Olympiads, Cyber Kids, Battle of the Books (elementary and middle), Model UN, Stock Market Club, etc.

  • Pender County Schools increased opportunities and awareness of services for all stakeholders. Opportunities include use of curriculum courses/higher level learning via Huskins, ischool, NCVPS, NCSSM, AP and Honors utilizing county curriculum guide; gathering data from transcripts to analyze student needs and future courses for ADEP meeting/documentation and intended pathway; utilizing above information and checking off with the Future Ready Core guidelines from DPI at least 2x year. (counselor attends when possible) allowing for multiple support for our AIG students; assisting with registration for our students to assure they receive high level learning opportunities; individual and small group conferencing with AIG students in regard to building college resume, leadership, creativity (i.e. summer workshops, weekend conferences, competitions, tutoring opportunities, community service); coordinate Governors School, Governors Page, Girls and Boys State, etc; encouraging of CTE pathways (following Future Ready Core) to build resume due to competitions, traveling opportunities and to build readiness for college (HOSA, DECA, Electric Vehicle, Culinary); visits from higher education for College Fairs, Honors College Presentations, Mock Enrollment; seminars with students to build discussion skills, critical thinking; seminars/training sessions with teachers to increase knowledge of AIG characteristics, learning styles; monitoring/assessing with various instruments to gain access to scholarships and programs that require 98%tile and above (MENSA); working intensely with counselors for our students; and 8th grade transition to High School meetings, forms.

  • Surry County Schools used a focus text, 21st Century Skills by Trilling and Fadel and K-12 administrators and all instructional staff embarked on a journey to understand, teach, and assess skills that students need for success in the 21st Century. 21st Century student folders, multi-media projects, focused lesson plans, teacher training, and connections to the new teacher evaluation instrument are just a few of the practices implemented to build a challenging, rigorous, and relevant curriculum and instruction for gifted students as well as other students at their readiness levels.

Standard 3

  • Carteret County Schools focuses on placing AIG students in classrooms with teachers who have met the LEA’s professional development requirements for that position of have earned an AIG add-on license. Principals will place/schedule all AIG students in classrooms/courses with teachers who hold license in gifted education. Principals will place/schedule all AIG students in classrooms/courses with teachers who have participated in professional development focusing on gifted education. All teachers who host AIG clusters will earn a minimum of two continuing education credits in gifted education during their five-year license renewal cycle. All honors level (and above) teachers will earn a minimum of two continuing education credits in gifted education during their five-year license renewal cycle. School counselors (at every level) will earn a minimum of one continuing education credit dedicated to the social and emotional needs of gifted children per their five-year renewal cycle. Principals will document professional development in the area of gifted education.

  • Gaston County Schools is working with counselors and providing literary resources for AIG students, their parents and teachers. Additionally, they have focused on providing advanced middle school curricula, compacting curriculum and adding depth to the NCSCOS. Specific professional development offered provides information about giftedness and ways to differentiate/accelerate the curriculum and to help provide information about the social & emotional needs of gifted learners.

  • Weldon City Schools conducts professional development sessions at each school level during Professional Learning Community (PLC) sessions created by the school administration. The PLC sessions include EC and RE teachers. The sessions include topics such as: Differentiated Instruction, Scaffolded Instruction, Reading in the Content Areas, Anchor Activities, The Gifted Learner/Learning Styles.

  • Durham Public Schools partnerships with two institutions of higher education. Each of these institutions has an AIG program. Recruitment takes place in March/April with information sessions outlining the differences in the programs, a detailed application process and candidate interviews. Also in DPS, there is a district-wide Professional Learning Community for AIG Facilitators and AIG teachers at the individual schools, since they may number one or two at a school. This PLC meets once monthly to discuss curriculum, services, and data pertaining to gifted learners. Twice monthly, there is a William and Mary sharing session for AIG literacy teachers and Honors Language Arts teachers to discuss the implementation of the William and Mary curriculum units DPS adopted for AIG Literacy, grades 2-8. At this session, a specific topic is discussed, and teachers discuss in grade level teams any questions they have, obstacles, and especially additional resources they have found to supplement the curriculum units. In addition,Google Groups – one for Elementary and one for Middle school teachers are available to discuss and share ideas on their own time.

Standard 4

  • Asheboro City Schools implements a variety of research-based practices to support traditionally under-represented AIG populations ensuring that every child is a possible candidate for gifted services. Asheboro City Schools participate in Project U-STARS~PLUS (Using Science, Talents, and Abilities to Recognize Students ~ Promoting Learning for Underrepresented Students) with Teacher Observation of Potential in Students (TOPS) forms to facilitate the recognition and nurturing of outstanding potential in typically underserved populations at the elementary level. Ongoing observations and assessments using the TOPS form by teachers afford flexibility in responding to the needs of all students. By using U-STARS~Plus, teachers can observe students in authentic, real-world settings.

  • Elizabeth City Pasquotank Public Schools has purposefully scheduled times for teaming/planning and assigned a facilitator to work .50 time at the middle school level and the other .50 at the partnering high school. Facilitators share/demonstrate high level activities, encourage nominations of students with academic potential from all populations and develop individual relationships with students enabling them to guide decision making through the high school years. This allows students to move from middle school to the high school level without getting “lost” in the transition. Facilitators have a better handle on the students and meeting their needs because a connection between facilitator and student has been formed.

  • Lincoln County Schools work to identify students in grades K-12 who present themselves as highly gifted and in need of differentiated services, in addition to the services provided in the regular classroom setting, may be presented for the formal identification process as outlined in the approved LCS AIG Plan. At the K-3 levels, an extensive nurturing program is implemented in order to conduct a “broad sweep” of the student population. AIG teachers work collaboratively with the regular classroom teachers using observational instruments and assessments to screen students who may require an additional level of service in addition to the services provided in the regular classroom. Students in Grade 4-5 are served either through cluster grouping, pull-out, or differentiated services in the classroom. At the middle school level, students are served through cluster grouping with classroom differentiation or direct, daily service in advanced level classes in English Language Arts and/or Mathematics. High school students have an AIG mentor who meets with them to encourage enrollment in honors and advanced placement courses. There are opportunities for content acceleration and on occasion grade level acceleration.

  • Macon County Schools focus on clear communication of services at all levels. The AIG specialists provide information to teachers at the beginning of each year regarding the AIG students that are enrolled in their classrooms. The elementary AIG specialists meet with the middle school AIG teacher to review information regarding the students transitioning to that level. They made recommendations regarding level of services and give insight into unique learning and social issues of specific students. We also hold an open house or informational parent meeting for rising middle school parents to provide information about services that this level. To facilitate the transition to high school we will hold a separate registration meeting with students and parents of rising ninth graders identified as AIG. At this meeting we will discuss options for AIG students at the high school level and identify supports for the students at high school.

  • Rockingham County Schools has implemented changes in cluster grouping, DEP meetings, and acceleration options. The School-Wide Cluster Grouping Model is used to cluster groups consisting of 4-9 students. Gifted students are grouped with average and below average. High achieving (nurturing group) are grouped with average, below average, far below average. School level stakeholders collaborate to determine the cluster groups. DEP meetings – These meetings are held within the first 3 weeks of school. The DEP meeting is an open forum to discuss appropriate grouping options, content modifications, and enrichment options for formally identified students. In addition the meetings serve as an opportunity for the specialists to survey parents concerning interests and solicit volunteers, as well as providing the parents with information on ways to offer suggestions and comments at the district level. Parents may invite interested family members. Acceleration – Once a recommendation is made for subject/grade acceleration, the school’s I/P team considers it and follows the steps in the acceleration procedures. All stakeholders are involved with the decision and the student’s evaluation. Once all the documentation is collected and if a decision is made to accelerate the student; there is a trial period with periodic sessions with the school counselor.

  • Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools put processes in place to address the affective needs of gifted students. Steps included increasing teacher, counselor, administrator and parent awareness of the affective needs of gifted students. Professional development will be provided for school employees and focus groups will be held for parents. Maureen Neihart’s The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? will serve as the text for this work.Guidance counselors will provide classroom guidance and small group counseling sessions to address the specific needs of gifted students. Guidance counselors will be provided resource materials to help with their understanding of the affective needs of gifted students. And finally, a booklist will be developed for teachers to pull from that include characters that have similar characteristics and needs and experiences as gifted students. Books will be used in the during novel study in the classroom.

Standard 5

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools works to to establish a dialogue with parents and community leaders about the needs of our gifted students and how we can better meet those needs. In order to specifically address this standard, CMS created Parent University. Parent University is part of a larger district initiative to better communicate with and further involve parents in the education of their children. Through Parent University, the CMS Talent Development and Advanced Studies department hosts several classes for parents. They have also designed Celebrate Giftedness. Through the development of celebration days where gifted students and students of high ability are recognized for outstanding success in a variety of areas. Through business partnerships, we will provide rewards and prizes beyond just the formal recognition. And finally, they have worked to continue to grow and refine the role of the District Advisory Committee. The District Advisory Committee is representative of the demographics of CMS and includes representation from all stakeholders. The district has carefully selected representatives from all stakeholders including principals, assistant principals, teachers, TD facilitators, academic facilitators, parents, curriculum and instruction specialists, and learning zone representatives.

  • Columbus County Schools seeks to ensure the on-going and meaningful participation of stakeholders in its AIG program by fostering partnerships through field trips that are focused on community awareness. Each year we endeavor to take our students on a field trip that will allow them to experience some of our local resources. Sample field trips include supermarkets, state and local parks and local farms.

  • Wake County Public Schools incorporates the use of WCPSS Intranet & Internet sites to post pertinent information regarding local AIG program and the use of a Wiki for communication tool with AIG program staff including all process, procedures, meeting information, discussions, and district presentations for use with other staff/parents. A separate Wiki is established for Governor’s School and the local AIG plan itself.

  • Mitchell County Schools uses multiple ways to communicate with our families by using many avenues of opportunity to achieve this practice. Examples include mailings and invitations to Needs Determination Committee Meetings and Parent Meetings, brochures when Professional Development is offered, and telephone and email messaging.

Standard 6

  • Beaufort County Schools has implemented an AIG Leadership Team composed of central office administrators, principals, Board of Education members, AIG teachers, regular education teachers, and parent representatives. The purpose of this committee is to meet regularly with the AIG Coordinator, provide on-going assessment of the existing programs, gain awareness of the needs of academically and intellectually gifted students (K-12) within Beaufort County, and become knowledgeable of best practices that might address these needs. This committee will also be responsible for evaluating the local plan to ensure effectiveness and alignment with the state AIG standards.

  • Johnston County Schools continues to focus on “district” responsibilities to its gifted learners. With the implementation of this plan, the district has added a level of responsibility at individual schools to monitor and document how students receive services appropriate to their needs. Johnston County Schools has created documents which demonstrate the commitment to fidelity of implementation of this plan (Walkthroughs, Credentials, Grouping Fidelity Checks, DEP monitoring). Surveys have been updated and provided to the stakeholders which align to the focused practices selected by the Johnston County Schools Board of Education.

  • Sampson County Schools elicits feedback annually regarding the quality and effectiveness of the local AIG program. All stakeholders including, AIG students, AIG parents, AIG specialists, Regular classroom teachers, and School administrators take part in the survey.

  • Wayne County Schools utilizes a variety of monitoring techniques. Weekly PLC for AIG specialists meetings are held in order to discuss how each specialist is addressing the needs of assigned schools, student needs and identification, teacher needs for support or resources and next steps for supporting schools and students. Specialists also conduct research on chosen topics and present information to the group. Additionally, each AIG Specialist writes an individual growth plan that includes professional goals based on plan practices (e.g. Seek and participate in professional development units that address the identification and service of twice exceptional students) personal goals, and system goals (e.g. Provide all schools with targeted differentiated strategies that include tiering, scaffolding, and curriculum compacting).

  • McDowell County Schools generates a “Potential Failures” AIG list using NCWISE. Any AIG student who is not passing a class will show up on this list. A designated AIG teacher and facilitator meet with these students one on one and discuss the problems they are having and provide the student with intervention strategies in order to get the student back on track. Interventions include e-mailing their teachers or finding them a tutor or following up with them to check their progress. All of these meetings are documented. Also teachers/facilitators meet with all of the AIG students during registration. This meeting allows the opportunity to encourage AIG students to select courses that will challenge them and provide them with support in making their class selections.