Chapter 104 (Gifted Education) Program
Falmouth Public Schools believe that all children are best served by a challenging and supportive environment that includes a continuum of services K-12 including on-going teacher development, in classroom support and differentiation, and individualized pull-out programming.
What is giftedness?
As defined by the State of Maine:
Gifted and talented children are those who excel, or have the potential to excel, beyond their age peers, in the regular school program, to the extent that they need and can benefit from gifted and talented education programs.
Chapter 104 governs gifted programs in Maine and mandates that students identified for GT services comprise 3-5% of students. As our school is designed to meet the needs of all high performing students, the FES Chapter 104 program is designed specifically for those identified as gifted and intended to meet their academic and social needs beyond those of their high-performing peers.
Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally. (The Columbus Group, 1991)
Education for gifted students encompasses a variety of approaches designed to meet students’ individual differences and therefore programming may vary for each individual student. At FES, we use a direct instruction and consultation approach to meet the needs of our gifted population. Our model incorporates teacher differentiation and collaboration, in-class support, and direct services provided individually or in a small group by the Chapter 104 teacher. Instruction seeks to extend the depth and complexity of grade-level content, acquire deductive reasoning and advanced problem solving skills, and provide opportunities for student-driven, interest-based learning. Our program additionally seeks to develop the social emotional skills of gifted learners, providing direct SEL instruction and opportunities to practice effective collaboration and interpersonal communication skills. FES faculty continue to research and apply evidence-based practices when designing individualized learning plans for all students.
The FES Chapter 104 identification process is based on qualitative and quantitative data; we seek to identify and acknowledge the unique needs of our gifted learners. Therefore, multiple data sources are utilized to determine if students require academic services beyond those provided in the classroom. These sources include aptitude assessments, analysis of classroom engagement, work samples, teacher observations, and other anecdotal evidence. Aptitude testing occurs during the third grade year and selections are made by a committee of teachers and administrators following testing. Students new to the district are considered if a need is identified by teacher or family member.