DASD Gifted

Dallastown Area School District
Gifted Education Plan

The Dallastown Area School District Program for the education of gifted students is designed to meet the needs of students exhibiting outstanding intellectual and creative ability. Opportunities for acceleration or enrichment, or both, are provided to students who are gifted in compliance with the regulations set forth in Chapter 16 of 22 Pa Code.

Vision/Mission Statement

Dallastown Area School District’s motto is “Dedication to Excellence.” We strive for excellence in all of our programming, including the gifted program. We believe that all students benefit from instruction that challenges them to reach meaningful academic goals. Our mission is to identify gifted students through established criteria set forth by the state of Pennsylvania and to develop appropriate programs to meet their individual academic and social/emotional needs.


All students benefit from differentiation of instruction in the classroom setting. Our belief is that we offer strong, relevant staff development programs that promote instructional staff members’ knowledge about gifted students’ academic and social/emotional needs, strategies for differentiation in the classroom, and a district-wide focus on multiple intelligences and higher-order thinking skills.

We believe that gifted programs and the Gifted Individual Education Plans that support each gifted student’s progress should be based on the aptitude, achievement, and academic needs of these students. We utilize multiple criteria to identify students for the gifted program from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds within the Guidelines of Title 22 CODE of PA, Chapter 16: Special Education for Gifted Students.

We believe that the learning environment in DASD schools should be one in which students are given ample opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, productive interpersonal and social skills, and instructional activities which will enhance and stimulate each gifted student’s growth and potential, addressing both strengths and needs of students.

We also believe that teachers of the gifted work together with their colleagues and identified students as a learning team.


Our goals for the district’s Strategic Plan are listed below:


To examine and revise, if necessary, the guidelines and strategies used for identification of gifted students, especially for those from underrepresented populations.

Delivery of Services:

In cooperation with each school and its faculty, the teachers of the gifted will strive to enhance gifted education opportunities and programming through parent information sessions, special speakers, seminars, and independent studies for students.

Curriculum Development:

To structure the program in a more comprehensive, sequential manner so that the elementary, middle school, and high school programs coordinate with each other, while building upon individual student’s interests, talents, and gifts.

Staff Development:

To promote multiple intelligences, emotional intelligence, differentiation of instruction, and effective strategies for teaching gifted students as staff development topics.

Parent and Community Involvement:

To educate parents and members of the community concerning the unique academic, social and emotional needs of the gifted student population.

Screening and Evaluation Process

The screening and evaluation process begins with professional development to ensure teachers’ competency in recognizing the characteristics of gifted students as an informal screening. Referrals for formal screening may be initiated by teachers or parents on the basis of observations and/or school achievement. The individual making the referral completes a checklist of characteristics of students with gifted ability. Referrals are forwarded to the building principal who completes an initial screening request form. The screening request form is forwarded to the gifted education teacher to initiate the formal screening process.

Procedure for Referring Students Thought to be Gifted

A referral for gifted evaluation is made by a classroom teacher or parent / guardian. Should the teacher make a referral, they will go through the screening request process as established by the district. Should a parent / guardian wish for testing, a letter must be sent to the building principal requesting that the child go through the screening process.

Upon referral, the Dallastown Area School District uses a multi-step screening and evaluation

process to identify students thought to be gifted. This process takes into account evidence

of achievement, intellectual ability and aptitude, and the judgments of school personnel

and others familiar with the capabilities and needs of the student.

Additional information is gathered for those students that are continuing with the

screening process. This information may include but is not limited to test data, the most

recent report card, portfolio assessments, classroom observations, and/or curriculum

based assessments. Upon review of the aforementioned multiple criteria, the gifted teacher uses the screening matrix to determine whether or not a SAGES (Screening Evaluation of Gifted Elementary Students) evaluation is recommended. Parents are notified of the results.

The SAGES evaluation is used to determine if a child is a candidate for further evaluation. A “Permission to Evaluate” form is sent home by the school psychologist. The permission form must be signed by parents prior to the beginning of the evaluation process. The school psychologist reviews the child's educational needs and strengths as shown by educational performance levels, assessment results, classroom observations, and parent information. In addition, the psychologist will conduct an individual assessment of the child’s intellectual abilities and gifted traits.

The members of the Gifted Multidisciplinary Team (GMDT), a team of educational

professionals and the parents, will review the Gifted Written Report (GWR). The GWR,

written by the school psychologist, includes all of the information contributed by the

team members as well as a recommendation regarding eligibility for gifted services and

need for specially designed instruction.

If a child is recognized as needing specially designed instruction, a Gifted Individual

Education Plan (GIEP) will be written. The GIEP contains a statement of the child’s

present levels of educational performance, the child’s strengths and needs, and annual goals. These goals identify areas which go above and beyond the regular education program. The GIEP may also contain support services and specially designed instruction, based on the child’s needs and abilities. The GIEP must be reviewed annually however it may be reviewed more often if requested by a GIEP team member.

Upon completion of writing the GIEP, a Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA),

which identifies the educational program and placement of the child, is written. The

district must have a NORA signed by the parents indicating their approval prior to the

child’s placement in a gifted program.

Screening Procedures

The identification of gifted students is a continuous process in DASD. We strive to identify students from various cultural and socio-economic backgrounds in grades K-12.

The first process is to create a broad pool of candidates who are reviewed for gifted eligibility. Any of the following sources may place students in the “screening pool”:

  1. Referrals from

Professional educators, parents, or guardians

Student advocates

Agency referrals

Information about the referral process may also be found on individual school’s web sites.

  1. Review of student work

Student portfolios are regularly reviewed by classroom teachers, support personnel, and administrators for evidence of a student’s readiness for advanced learning experiences.

  1. Standardized Test Data

Norm-referenced achievement test scores at the 90 percentile or above, and or norm-referenced aptitude test score data at the 125th standard score or above.

  1. Transfer Students

Students who have been identified as gifted in another school district within the commonwealth will have their transferred GIEP implemented as written or revised/updated as needed. Students who have been identified as gifted in another state’s school district will be evaluated for the program under the PA regulations to establish eligibility prior to development of a GIEP and provisions of services contained in it.

  1. Students who are in the top 10% of both ability and achievement scores on data disaggregated by cultural group are added to the pool.

Multiple Criteria for Screening

  • Parent High Potential Scale
  • Teacher High Potential Scale
  • Report Card Grades (indicating continuous high achievement)
  • Students products, portfolios, performance indicators
  • Record of in-class observations
  • Appropriate rating scales, checklists, questionnaires (Renzulli – GES2)
  • Individual or group achievement and aptitude tests
  • SAGES (Screening Assessment of Gifted Elementary Students)
  • Scholastic File information for the student

Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP)

A GIEP is developed for all students identified as mentally gifted as determined by the gifted multidisciplinary evaluation. A GIEP team is appointed to review the recommendations resulting from the gifted multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents of the gifted student are offered the opportunity to be present at the GIEP meeting. Each GIEP includes, as required in Section 16.32 of 22 Pa Code the following:

  1. a statement of the student’s present levels of educational performance
  2. a statement of annual goals and short-term learning outcomes which are responsive to the learning needs identified in the evaluation report
  3. a statement of the specially designed instruction and support services to be provided to the student
  4. projected dates for initiation and anticipated duration of gifted education
  5. appropriate objective criteria, assessment procedures and timelines for determining, on at least an annual basis, whether the goals and learning outcomes are being achieved
  6. The names and positions of GIEP team participants and the date of the meeting.

Educational Placement

The Dallastown Area School District provides opportunities for gifted students to participate in acceleration or enrichment, or both, as appropriate for the student’s needs. District programs go beyond the program that the student would receive as part of a general education.

Personnel and Program Elements

A gifted education teacher and classroom teachers meet the acceleration or enrichment, or both, needs of identified gifted students at the elementary level. At the middle school, one gifted education teacher and classroom teachers work directly with mentally gifted students to provide studies in special interests, general curriculum enrichment as well as acceleration as appropriate for each individual student. Classroom teachers provide opportunities for acceleration or enrichment, or both at the high school level. In addition to personnel resources, facility and instructional resources are budgeted annually in support of the district program for the education of gifted students.

Differences of the Gifted Learner and the Bright Child

Bright Child

Gifted Learner

Knows the answer

Ask the questions

Is interested

Is highly curious

Is attentive

Is mentally and physically involved

Has good ideas

Has extremely creative, original ideas

Works hard

“Plays around”, yet tests well

Answers the questions

Discusses in detail, elaborates

Top group

Beyond the group

Listens with interest

Shows strong feelings and opinions

Learns with ease

Already knows

6-8 repetitions of mastery

1-2 repetitions for mastery

Understands ideas

Constructs abstractions

Enjoys peers

Prefers adults

Grasps the meaning


Draws inferences

Completes assignments

Initiates projects

Is receptive

Is intense

Copies accurately

Creates a new design

Enjoys school

Enjoys learning

Absorbs information

Manipulates information



Good “memorizer”

Good guesser

Is pleased with own learning

Is highly self-critical


National Association for Gifted Children

American Association for Gifted Children

Suite 550


1707 L Street, NW

Washington, DC 20036

Gifted Children Monthly




SAMI – Science and Math Institutes

National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented


The University of Connecticut

362 Fairfield Road, U-7

National History Museum

Starrs, CT 06269




Bureau of Special Education

Shirley Curl, Special Education Adviser for Gifted

Pennsylvania Department of Education

333 Market Street

Harrisburg, PA 17126


C-MITES (Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary Students)

Dr. Ann Shoplik


[email protected]

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