The GT Center program for students in grades 3 through 8 offers identified students a full-time highly challenging instructional program that follows the FCPS Program of Studies. Differentiation in the depth, breadth, and pace of instruction is designed to meet the needs of advanced learners with a strong emphasis on problem solving, independent and group research, investigations, and higher level thinking skills. The GT center program serves approximately 12% of the students in grades three - eight.
Each spring, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) uses the results of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) to select a second grade pool of candidates for the Gifted and Talented (GT) center program or Level IV gifted services. Each year the benchmark score for students in the second grade pool is 132 or higher on any subtest of the CogAT or 132 or higher on the NNAT. Parents of these students receive a letter of notification that their child will be screened for possible placement in a GT center program. Each year, approximately 67 percent of students in the second grade pool are found eligible.
However, it is important to note that the second grade pool is merely a starting point and any parent of a child in grades 2 through 7 may submit a GT referral form and request that their child be screened. Referral forms are available on the GT website under Forms and are due to the local school according to published timelines (also available on our website). Of all students who are referred and screened for the GT center program each year, approximately 52 percent are found eligible.
Testing is only one component of the screening and selection process. The GT resource teacher at the local school prepares a screening file for each student that is being considered for GT center placement or Level IV services. The file consists of the student's ability test scores, achievement test scores, progress reports, and a Gifted Behavior Rating Scale with Commentary (completed by teachers who work with the student). Parents may also submit a Parent/Guardian Questionnaire and/or up to five samples of student work and/or up to five awards (all must be no larger than 8 1 x 11). The GT resource teacher at your local school is available to answer questions and assist you with this process. Once the files are complete, they are sent to the central office where a central selection committee meets and determines eligibility.
The central selection committee consists of GT resource teachers, GT center classroom teachers, school psychologists, teachers who work with students who speak other languages, school administrators, school counselors, and other school professionals who have been trained in the screening and selection process. Each file is read by committee members until at least four agree that the student is eligible or ineligible. Each reader takes a holistic case study approach to the file and reads all of the information to determine if there is enough evidence to support Level IV gifted services.
It is important to note that:
Fairfax County Public Schools offers a continuum of gifted services for advanced learners. The GT center is one of several options available for gifted learners in Fairfax County Public Schools. Please contact the GT resource teacher at your local school to learn about the gifted services offered through the school-based program.
Dr. Carol V. Horn
K-12 Program Coordinator
3877 Fairfax Ridge Rd.
Fairfax, VA 22030
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