Gifted Education

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, including under-represented learners, economically disadvantaged students, English learners, and students with disabilities. The gifted program, designed to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of gifted learners from kindergarten through grade 12, allows students to develop more fully and appreciate their abilities and talents. In addition, the program encourages students to make meaningful contributions to society.

Gifted Education Services

Grades K-7

Gifted students are identified in the spring of the kindergarten year and throughout grades 1-12. Identified students in grades K-7 participate in the EXTEND program, where learning is "extended" through interdisciplinary units of study and research activities which emphasize abstract thinking and independent learning. Identified kindergarten students participate in special seminars each spring during the school day. First graders participate in half-day pullout sessions each week and second through fifth grade students participate in EXTEND classes for a full day each week. EXTEND classes take place at five elementary schools, with remaining schools assigned as "partner" schools. Transportation is provided for students who attend partner schools. In addition to pullout classes, students in grades 1-5 are cluster grouped for daily instruction. Students in sixth and seventh grade who have been identified as intellectually gifted meet with a gifted education teacher for a pullout course each week in addition to participating in advanced English and math courses.

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

The EXTEND Center's curriculum utilizes the Integrated Curriculum Model for Gifted Learners as created by Joyce VanTassel-Baska. Interdisciplinary units are comprised of three key features: overarching concepts, advanced content, and process/product style learning. Units expose students to a variety of topics that promote independent learning while incorporating citizenship, communication, collaboration, creative thinking, and critical thinking.

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 around the 95th percentile 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 around the 95th percentile on these tests. If a referred student in grades 3-12 has not taken a standardized achievement test, the Division administers one.
  • Teacher Observation Reports - Students who qualify for gifted education typically 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 typically 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 - Teachers may also be asked to provide illustrative examples of student work.

The Gifted Education Plan 2023-27

In compliance with regulations from the Virginia Department of Education, the York County School Division's Gifted Education Plan 2023-27 serves as the blueprint for gifted education services. A gifted steering committee, comprised of principals, teachers, parents and GEAC members, collaborated on the development of the new 5-year plan. On April 25, 2022, the York County School Board approved the 2023-2027 Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted which describes services available to identified gifted students in grades K-12.

View the full 2023-27 Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted

Gifted Education Staff

Gifted Education
Program Staff

Gifted Education Office Phone

Sarah Haywood
Gifted Education Coordinator

Roberta Bockrath
Gifted Resource Teacher

Pam Schwalenberg
Gifted Resource Teacher

Casey Hirschauer
Gifted Resource Teacher

Meghan Malkowski
Gifted Resource Teacher

Theresa Rywalt
Gifted Resource Teacher

JoAnn Hoff
Gifted Education Secretary

2023-24 Gifted Education School Contacts
Bethel Manor Elementary Sherry Carducci, School Counselor
Coventry Elementary Allyson (Aliki) Vidakis, School Counselor
Kristina Wallace, School Counselor
Dare Elementary Emily Noyes, School Counselor
Grafton Bethel Elementary Kristen Wickre, School Counselor
Chad Skudlarick, School Counselor
Magruder Elementary Sara Haskins, School Counselor
Mt. Vernon Elementary Amy Hoerger, School Counselor
Laura Sanlorenzo, School Counselor
Seaford Elementary Sydney Downs, School Counselor
Tabb Elementary Priscilla Pletz, School Counselor
Laura Roman, School Counselor
Waller Mill Elementary Jessica Phillips, School Counselor
Yorktown Elementary Danielle Neubauer, School Counselor
Grafton Middle Jen Richardson, Counseling Director
Queens Lake Middle Drew Bradshaw, ACC
Tabb Middle Justin Workman, ACC
Yorktown Middle Jessica Carwile, ACC
Bruton High Charna Moss-Gregory, Counseling Director
Grafton High Jennifer Ericsson, Counseling Director
Tabb High Tatiana Council, Counseling Director
York High Dr. Susan Roach, Counseling Director

The Gifted Education Advisory Committee (GEAC) was established to review annually the local plan for the education of gifted students and to determine the extent to which the plan for the previous year was implemented.

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