Gifted and Talented
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PACE Program: Preparing Advanced Children to Excel
The PACE Program incorporates three components: gifted and talented education, Advanced Placement program, and academic competitions. The emphasis is on higher level cognitive skills, creativity, leadership and habits of mind, research skills, depth and complexity of investigation, accelerated content, communications skills, and high quality presentations.
The faculty of the Van Buren School District PACE Program believes that:
1. Giftedness must be encouraged and nurtured to enable the gifted child to develop his or her abilities to the fullest potential.
2. Gifted students require a differentiated educational program to foster advanced skills and to develop an attitude toward learning as a lifelong process.
3. Gifted students need guidance with their unique social and emotional needs to develop into an intellectually and creatively capable, productive, and compassionate human being.
4. Gifted studentsâ€™ needs are diverse and ever changing.
5. The community will best be served if our gifted students are prepared for responsible and productive adult roles in life.
The ultimate goal of the Van Buren School District is to provide an environment in which all students may have the opportunities to develop to their fullest potential. We believe all students can learn, that students both acquire knowledge and apply it in different ways, that the responsibility for education is shared by all of us (including the community), that diverse instructional strategies and environments can improve and expand learning, and that learning is lifelong. We believe the curriculum and school experience should address the breadth, depth, complexity, and pace of learning needed by individual students as well as their special interests and talents. The PACE Program provides the opportunities for the intellectually, academically, and creatively talented whose abilities, needs, interests, and readiness require a learning program differentiated from that of their peers. The emphasis of the program is on experiences and learning that prepare these students to be effective, actualized, contributing members of our community and of society.
The PACE program incorporates three components: gifted and talented education, Advanced Placement program, and academic competitions. The emphasis is on higher level cognitive skills, creativity, leadership and habits of mind, research skills, depth and complexity of investigation, accelerated content, communication skills, and high quality presentations.
Gifted and Talented Students are identified for the GT program beginning at the end of grade 2. Gifted students are defined as those needing a qualitatively differentiated educational experience due to demonstrated academic ability or potential (intellect, creativity, and task commitment/motivation). Approximately seven percent of the student population of the Van Buren School District meets the criteria for service. Identification is an ongoing process throughout the grades. Testing occurs twice a year: beginning of the school year and spring. A student must be actively enrolled in the district to be referred, and referrals may be made by school personnel, students, or parents. A GT specialist administers several tests. The review committee employs a student profile process that assures equal access to all students regardless of cultural or socioeconomic background/environment. All services are provided by GT-licensed teachers. Students in grades 3-5 receive services through 2.5 hour pull-out enrichment session once a week. Students in grades 6-8 receive services through a combination of integrated content classes, small group facilitation in the regular classroom, enrichment activities, and independent study/research facilitation.
Advanced Placement Any advanced student who has high task motivation may participate in the Advanced Placement program.Â In high school, students may select from a variety of pre-AP and AP offerings in core and extended content. The high school currently provides 14 AP courses: English Language and Composition 12, English Literature and Composition 11, Statistics, Calculus AB, Biology, Chemistry, US History, US Government and Politics, World History, European History, Psychology, Spanish Language, Studio Art 2D and Studio Art 3D. All teachers in the Advanced Placement program have additional training and certification by College Board. AP courses have been approved through the College Board review process.
Additional Opportunities Any student with interest and task commitment may participate in a variety of academic competitions. Students have the opportunity to compete with other advanced students in the region, state, and nation through events such as: chess, National History Day, and Quiz Bowl. Â A GT licensed teacher will also work closely with counselors and students to assist students with academic and affective needs.