Gifted Education

Gifted Education Mission Statement:
The mission of the York County School Division Gifted Program is to maximize the development of the intellectually gifted learner by providing an atmosphere that promotes intellectual challenge. The program is designed to foster self-directed, life-long learning by encouraging exploration, inquiry, in-depth study, and reflective thinking.

Division Statement of Philosophy for Gifted Education
The York County School Division is committed to a rigorous and innovative instructional program that fosters the highest level of excellence and recognizes the right of each student to receive intellectual challenge appropriate for his/her capabilities. The Division provides differentiated instructional services for intellectually gifted students from a variety of social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. These programs, designed to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of gifted learners from kindergarten through twelfth grade, allow students to develop more fully and appreciate their abilities and talents. In addition, these programs encourage students to make meaningful contributions to society.


Gifted Education Services

Grades K-2
Gifted students are identified in the spring of the kindergarten year and throughout grades 1-2. Identified students may participate in the Primary Enrichment Program (PEP). Kindergarten PEP students attend special seminars each spring during the school day at the Division's gifted education center. First and second grade PEP students meet weekly at the EXTEND Center with the PEP teacher who provides enrichment opportunities for identified students.

Grades 3-5
Third through fifth grade students who are intellectually gifted travel from their home school one full day each week to attend the EXTEND program located at the EXTEND Center at Dare Elementary School. At the Center, students "extend" learning as they participate in interdisciplinary units of study and investigation activities which emphasize abstract thinking, research skills, and independent learning.

Grades 6-7
Students in sixth and seventh grade who have been identified as intellectually gifted meet weekly in their home schools for EXTEND classes with the gifted education teacher who travels to each middle school to provide enriched learning opportunities. Students are engaged in problem-based learning, activities designed to develop higher level thinking processes, and a variety of enrichment experiences that emphasize abstract thinking, research skills, and independent learning.

Grades 8-12
Eligible students in eighth through twelfth grade are encouraged to select from the available advanced secondary program options which include: The York County School Division Honors Program, Virtual Virginia online courses, the International Baccalaureate Programme, Advanced Placement courses, the School of the Arts, Summer Residential Governor's School, and New Horizons Governor's School for Science and Technology. In addition, concurrent dual enrollment in cooperation with local colleges, seminars, and enrichment activities are available to eligible students.


Gifted Education Curriculum
In the PEP and EXTEND programs, quarterly interdisciplinary units of study focus on critical thinking, intellectual discussion, creativity, research, problem-solving, and generation of original work. In addition, in order to meet the learning needs of intellectually gifted children, appropriate curriculum typically contains the following six features (Joyce Van Tassel Baska, 2013):

  • Acceleration
  • Depth
  • Complexity
  • Challenge
  • Creativity
  • Abstractness
Gifted Education Program
Staff/Contact Information
Candi Skinner
Director of Elementary Instruction
757-898-0450

Sarah Haywood
Gifted Education Coordinator/Grade 3 Teacher
757-898-0389

Vee Baggett
Grades 1 and 2 Teacher
757-898-0389

Pam Schwalenberg
Grade 4 Teacher
757-898-0389

Roberta Bockrath
Grade 5 Teacher
757-898-0389

Kristin Spires
Grades 3, 6 and 7 teacher
757-898-0389

Mary Beth Watt
Secretary
757-898-0389
 
Gifted Education School Contacts
Bethel Manor Elementary Carrie Dukes, School Counselor
Brittany Reed, School Counselor
Coventry Elementary Kristina Wallace, School Counselor
Dare Elementary LaTrese Coates, School Counselor
Grafton Bethel Elementary Kristen Sarantakos, School Counselor
Magruder Elementary Kate Lubrano, School Counselor
Mt. Vernon Elementary Donna Adams, School Counselor
Seaford Elementary Sydney Downs, School Counselor
Tabb Elementary Jen Richardson, School Counselor
Waller Mill Elementary Katie Gaylord, School Counselor
Yorktown Elementary Sharon Chung, School Counselor
Grafton Middle Tiffany Grant, Counseling Director
Queens Lake Middle Keith Wright, ACC
Tabb Middle Kay Aultman, ACC
Yorktown Middle Deb Ellis, ACC
Bruton High Lynn Smith, Counseling Director
Grafton High Melissa Kashy, Counseling Director
Tabb High Brad Williams, Counseling Director
York High Michele Williams, Counseling Director

Referral/Identification of Students for Gifted Education Services
Students may be referred for consideration in gifted education programs by administrators, classroom and resource teachers, guidance counselors, and other professional staff members, as well as by parents, community members, peers, and students themselves. Each school has a Gifted Education School Contact who is responsible for providing and organizing the paperwork regarding gifted referrals and placements. The Gifted Education School Contact can be contacted to obtain the necessary paperwork to initiate a referral. The criteria indicated below are used to identify students for gifted education:

  • Standardized/Norm-Referenced Ability Tests - Students who qualify for gifted education generally score between the 95th-99th percentiles on these tests. If a referred student has not taken a standardized ability test, the Division administers one.
  • Standardized/Norm-Referenced Achievement Tests - Students who qualify for gifted education generally score between the 95th-99th percentiles on these tests. If a referred student has not taken a standardized ability test, the Division administers one.
  • Teacher Observation Reports - Students who qualify for gifted education demonstrate to a great extent specific behaviors associated with intellectually gifted learners. For students referred for gifted education, teachers complete a Teacher Observation Report, indicating observed examples of these characteristics.
  • Parent Questionnaires - Students who qualify for gifted education demonstrate to a large degree specific behaviors associated with intellectually gifted learners. For students referred for gifted education, parents report examples of these behaviors on a form provided by the Division.
  • Scholastic Records - Students eligible for gifted education typically perform well on academic work that is characterized as being "above grade level."
  • Other Data - It is occasionally appropriate to conduct personal interviews with students who have been referred for gifted education. Teachers may also be asked to provide illustrative examples of student work .

The Gifted Education Plan 2012-17
In compliance with regulations from the Virginia Department of Education, the York County School Division's Gifted Education Plan 2012-17 serves as the blueprint for gifted education services. On May 21, 2012 the York County School Board approved the 2012-2017 Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted which describes services available to identified gifted students in grades K-12.

View the full 2012-17 Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted

Grade K

  • Kindergarten students identified as gifted attend special seminars each spring during the school day at the EXTEND Center, the Division's gifted education center.
  • Cluster grouping is provided in each elementary school.

Grades 1-2

  • Students identified as gifted participated in the Primary Enrichment Program (PEP) and meet weekly at the EXTEND Center with the PEP teacher who provides extended learning and enrichment opportunities for identified students.
  • Co-curricular activities may serve as extension of the Gifted Education Program (e.g., Odyssey of the Mind, academic challenges, and computer competitions).
  • Cluster grouping is provided in each elementary school.

Grades 3-5

  • Identified gifted students in third through fifth grade travel from their home school one full day each week to attend the EXTEND program located at the EXTEND Center.
  • Co-curricular activities may serve as extension of the Gifted Education Program (e.g., Odyssey of the Mind, academic challenges, and computer competitions).
  • Cluster grouping is provided in each elementary school.

Grades 6-7

  • Students who have been identified as intellectually gifted meet weekly in their home schools for EXTEND classes with the gifted education teacher who travels to each middle school to provide enriched learning opportunities.
  • Academic achievement grouping in English and mathematics is provided in each middle school.
  • Co-curricular activities may serve as extension of the Gifted Education Program (e.g., Odyssey of the Mind, academic challenges, computer competitions, and debate activities).

Grades 8-12

  • Intellectually gifted students in eighth through twelfth grade who meet prerequisite criteria have the opportunity to participate in various advanced courses of study including: the Honors Program, the Pre-International Baccalaureate Programme, the International Baccalaureate Programme, Advanced Placement courses, the Governor's School for Science and Technology, the Summer Governor's School, and the School of the Arts. In addition, concurrent enrollment in cooperation with local colleges, seminars, and enrichment activities are available to these students.
  • Academic achievement grouping in English and mathematics is provided in each high school.
  • Co-curricular activities may serve as extension of the Gifted Education Program (e.g., Odyssey of the Mind, academic challenges, computer competitions, and debate activities).

The Gifted Education Advisory Committee (GEAC)
The Gifted Education Advisory Committee (GEAC) is comprised of elementary, middle, and high school parents; a community representative; and school division representatives. This committee serves in an advisory capacity in support of gifted education programs in the school division. The GEAC meets four times annually, and the meetings are open to the public. Dates for the 2016-17 school year are October 18, 2016, January 24, 2017, March 28, 2017, and May 23, 2017. Meetings take place at the School Board Office at 7:00 pm, although the March meeting will be held at York High School at 7:00 pm. The committee chair is Stacie Lohr. Questions about the York County School Division gifted education services or the means by which students are identified for these programs should be directed to the Gifted Education Contact at your child's school.

View the GEAC's bylaws

Gifted Education Advisory Committee
Bethel Manor Elementary Kimberly Beauchan kawehisan@hotmail.com
Coventry Elementary Kirsten Hancock krhancock1979@mac.com
Dare Elementary Beth Brauner beth@brauner.us
Grafton Bethel Elementary Nashat Ahmad nan_inf@yahoo.com
Magruder Elementary Rachael McDaneld rlmcdaneld@outlook.com
Mt. Vernon Elementary Danielle Way dfrway@hotmail.com
Seaford Elementary Angie Jones dcjones@widomaker.com
Tabb Elementary Magan Echols magan.echols@gmail.com
Waller Mill Elementary Kristin Downey downeyzoo@yahoo.com
Yorktown Elementary Jamel Oliver jamel.o.1978@gmail.com
Grafton Middle Kristen Falk kristencfalk@hotmail.com
Queens Lake Middle and Chairperson Stacie Lohr alohr3@cox.net
Tabb Middle Nikiesha Virgil n_virgil@hotmail.com
Yorktown Middle Natalie Hall Natalie_Hall777@yahoo.com
Bruton High Kimberly Silver-Perry ksilver@alum.wellesley.edu
Grafton High Sang-Hyon Chu chu.sanghyon@gmail.com
Tabb High Jennifer Williams jenniferjkwilliams@verizon.net
York High Patty Mastracci pmastracci@cox.net
Community Member Jane Roithmayr jroithmayr@cox.net
Coordinator of Gifted Education Sarah Haywood shaywood2@ycsd.york.va.us
Coordinator of Career and Technical Education Sandy Hespe shespe@ycsd.york.va.us
Coordinator of Testing and Accountability Leeza Beazlie lbeazlie@ycsd.york.va.us
Associate Director of K-12 Academic Services Karen Cagle kcagle@ycsd.york.va.us
Director of IB Programme Kevin Valliant kvalliant@ycsd.york.va.us
Director of Gov. School Vikki Wismer vikki.wismer@nhrec.org

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