Yarmouth Chapter 104 - GT Instructional Support 

Charlotte Agell and Bob Gross

The State of Maine's Definition of Gifted and Talented:

Gifted and talented children are those students 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.


On this site, you will find information about GT instructional support in Yarmouth, including details about who we are, what we do and why we do it. Our goal is to share everything from the nuts and bolts of our program to resources you may find useful as you support your child's growth and development from home. We want to strengthen the ties between school and home because, after all, we are a team! Welcome!

Click HEREfor Chapter 104, the Maine law governing these services.

~ Charlotte Agell & Bob Gross

Summer Opportunities


THREE Frequently Asked Questions:

1.What is the Philosophy of GT Instructional Support in Yarmouth?

The Yarmouth School District is committed to addressing the academic and emotional needs of gifted students. Through our GT Services, we provide gifted students with the opportunity to achieve, to be self-directed, to accept responsibility, to develop creative and critical thinking skills, to pursue individual and alternative solutions, and to value inquiry and lifelong learning. Students may be supported in small groups or in the classroom through differentiated work. The GT teachers collaborate with the classroom teachers.

2.What is giftedness?

There are many definitions of giftedness, ranging from the very narrow (the top 1% of the population based on IQ) to the very broad (the top 20% based on the School-wide Enrichment Model). The State of Maine defines gifted children as those in grades K-12 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 programming for the gifted and talented. Chapter 104, which governs our programs here in Maine, mandates that students selected for direct GT services comprise approximately 3-5% of students.

We have observed that the GT learner often takes an unusual route to an unexpected destination, frequently ending up far beyond the rubric or learning standard. A GT student does not look the same as a bright, hard working student. For a quick snapshot of the difference, please see the chart below:

 Bright Child  Gifted Child
 1. Knows the answers  1. Asks the questions
 2. Is interested  2. Is highly curious
 3. Is attentive  3. Is mentally and physically involved
 4. Has good ideas  4. Has wild, silly ideas
 5. Works HARD  5. Plays around yet tests well
 6. Answers the questions  6. Discusses in detail, elaborates
 7. Top Group  7. BEYOND the group
 8. Listens with interest  8. Shows strong feelings, incl. frustration
 9. Learns with ease  9. Already knows
 10. 6-8 repetitions for mastery  10. 1-2 repetitions for mastery
 11. Understands ideas  11. Constructs ABSTRACTIONS
 12. Enjoys peers  12. Prefers adults or being alone - may be very introverted
 13. Grasps meaning  13. Draws inferences
 14. Completes the assignments  14. Initiates projects
 15. Is receptive  15. Is very intense
 16. Copies accurately  16. Creates brand new design
 17. Enjoys school  17. Enjoys learning
 18. Absorbs information  18. Manipulates information
 19. Technician  19. Inventor
 20. Good memorizer  20. Good guesser, plays hunches
 21. Enjoys sequential presentation  21. Thrives on complexity
 22. Is alert  22. Is keenly observant
 23. Is pleased with own learning  23. Often highly self critical, may not finish work or want to show work (e.g. stages in math), has better ideas than the teacher.

adapted from Janice Szabos (Gifted Child Quarterly)

3. How do Yarmouth Schools identify and support the needs of gifted learners?

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, in Morelock, 1992)

Our GT Instructional Support consists of teacher collaboration, in-class support, extension offerings and small group and 1:1 direct services. We use both a direct instruction and consultative model to meet the needs of our GT students. The GT Instructional Support teachers collaborate with classroom teachers and specialists in grades K - 12 to differentiate for advanced students in all subject areas. GT Instructional Support teachers also go into classrooms to support differentiation in a variety of capacities, particularly in the areas of math and language arts.

If you have questions about GT services and your child, please connect with his or her classroom teacher. The classroom teachers will coordinate with the GT teachers to further explore your child's needs and how best to meet them.

Chapter 104 - GT Screening Process

Timeline and Overview:

The Chapter 104 - GT Screening Process for math and language arts involves collecting various sources of data using multiple tools, which allow Yarmouth schools to identify children in need of both gifted education and various types of enrichment. These tools include achievement test scores, aptitude test scores, work samples, and teacher observations.

It begins with nominations, which can come from classroom teachers or parents. Teachers nominate students for further enrichment screening if they are seeing evidence of a consistent need for enrichment in the classroom in a particular discipline, after differentiating for the student over a length of time. Although nominations for the program can be considered at any time during the school year, the GT Teachers follow an annual timeline within the screening process. Math and language arts needs may be met through weekly groups and/or consultation with the classroom teacher. The needs of students gifted in the social studies, science, and the arts are met in consultation with the regular classroom teacher who provides differentiated material. GT teachers may meet with social studies, science, and art students regarding independent projects as needed.

Fall: GT teachers check in with classroom teachers every fall. Together, they discuss students 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 programming for the gifted and talented. This work is aided by a variety of tools, including the Gifted Characteristics Checklist. This collaboration may indicate the need for additional screening measures.

Students coming to us from GT support in other districts will be monitored. The GT teachers will consult with the regular classroom teachers to determine the student's needs.

WInter: Teachers collect work samples for students they will be nominating for GT Instructional Support.

Spring: Teachers fill out Individual Student Nomination forms for all students whom they are nominating. They provide specific anecdotes and references to the collected work samples that best demonstrate the gifted & talented characteristics evident in the particular student. The GT Teachers then record data from an array of test scores reflecting student achievement and ability.

The Screening Committee consists of an administrator, a subject area teacher, a guidance counselor, as well as the GT teacher(s). The committee meets to review all student profiles for those students being screened. A rubric based on the C-MODES criteria is used to evaluate student work. Other data includes achievement test scores, aptitude test scores, and teacher observations.

Each piece of data has the potential to earn a point. This allows the Screening Committee to identify students' individual enrichment needs as well as to compare them to their grade level peers. The committee then makes an enrichment recommendation for each student. The recommendation may be to provide materials or extensions in the classroom setting or it may be to provide weekly enrichment in a small group setting outside of the classroom. Yarmouth complies with state law, Chapter 104, which specifies that up to 5% of the total student population may be identified as GT.

Please note that screening is a yearly process and that screening for social studies, science, and visual/performing arts enrichment follows the same timeline. The screening tools for these disciplines include teacher and student checklists, student work samples, and teacher observations in collaboration with the GT teachers.

Note: The screening committee will meet and send out enrichment recommendations before the end of the school year.

Criteria MODES serve as a useful guide as we look over student work and behavior in reference to the characteristics of giftedness. The acronym stands for:

Content exhibits in-depth understanding through:

M - Materials – clever or resourceful
O - Organization – advanced; unusual; planned
D - Divergence – unique or unexpected idea
E - Elaboration – complex; detailed; content-related
S - Significantly beyond age level 

New Students:

Children arriving in Yarmouth with gifted & talented profiles are monitored for roughly two months, in order to determine their academic needs. This means that the GT teacher for the school will collect information about the previous program and services. Then, the GT Program teacher and the child's classroom teacher will check in with each other periodically as they learn more about the student's enrichment needs.