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A Parent’s Guide to Gifted IEPs and GIEP Meetings

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1 A Parent’s Guide to Gifted IEPs and GIEP Meetings
Information sources: Todd McIntyre, Wayne Mery, Jayne Rauenzahn and PAGE website

2 A parent’s right If you think your gifted child’s experience in public school could be better matched to their needs, then you need to know how to make it better and act upon that information. Through the GIEP (Gifted Individualized Educational Plan), you are part of the team that will help facilitate the needed changes your child requires in his education.

3 What is a Gifted IEP? A properly individualized Gifted IEP offers a clear drawn roadmap to both gifted education and regular education teachers on how to help the gifted child benefit meaningfully throughout their week in class.

4 Gifted IEP Team Parent Teacher: classroom and/or gifted teacher
District Administrator: someone who has the power to make decisions. Parents are equals with education professionals as members of your child’s gifted education team. You are the ONLY member of the team asked and REQUIRED to approve your child’s proposed plan. Knowledge about your role and responsibilities makes you a better partner with your district, not an adversary.

5 Public Information There is considerable amount of public information available to the parent of a gifted child in PA. This includes Chapter 16: Special Education for Gifted Students and a variety of websites such as and just to name a few.

6 Concepts to Consider For the purposes of education law in Pennsylvania the term “gifted” applies to a child who learns differently from most other children to require measures and methods beyond those used in the normal grade-level taken in the classroom. Kids who are different or learn differently need something DIFFERENT, that is all….but not necessarily all the time.

7 A gifted child’s educational strengths and needs must be determined by the GIEP team and specifically outlined in the GIEP. “Gifted” is not a program that the child attends, it is a plan to meet the specific needs of a gifted child. The GIEP “covers” the entire day, not just the portion during the pull-out program.

8 Gifted students have needs that cannot be met meaningfully using only the regular, unaltered education curriculum. The result is that GIEPs are, by definition, education plans individualized according to each gifted student’s needs. The “requirement to individualize” remains even when the student is among a grouped population of gifted students (clustered) or if the student participates in a gifted pull-out program. .

9 Pull out programs are popular and common
Pull out programs are popular and common. But, by themselves, pull-out programs are not enough A child spends upwards of 95% of their time in a regular education classroom. Pullout programs must be used in conjunction with modifications to the gifted student’s regular education programming.

10 Common Mistake Many parents enter the Gifted IEP meeting without a good understanding of their role in the meeting. They believe they are there simply to approve a plan that has already been created, the contents of which cannot be modified. THEY ARE MISTAKEN! To be effective, it is important to understand why you are at the Gifted IEP meeting.

11 Knowing your role as a parent
At the end of the Gifted IEP meeting, you, as the parent, will be asked to approve your child’s GIEP. You are the one who says “yes” or “no” to the proposed GIEP. Therefore, you will need to help the GIEP TEAM create a plan that addresses your gifted child’s needs. The GIEP meeting is a working session centered on your child, not the pull-out curriculum. It is more than a presentation by the school district of “their gifted plan” to you.

12 If language (educational jargon) is used that you don’t understand, ask for an explanation. You, most likely, are not a professional educator. In fact, it is a requirement within Chapter 16 and it is Pennsylvania Department of Education policy that the GIEP be free of jargon and easily understood. Ask questions until you understand what the proposed plan means to your child. It is in the educational professional’s interest to make sure you understand the proposed plan.

13 Your preparation as a parent for the Gifted IEP Meeting
You must know….. Your role in the process The parts of the GIEP itself How those parts relate to each other within the plan. Be familiar with the results of the tests given to your child to identify them as gifted

14 As a parent and member of the team, you need to…….
Bring your own ideas: what do you think your child’s strengths, weaknesses, needs and interests are. This is the time to identify issues and offer suggestions for discussion Point out an educational need that is not being addressed. Address the issue that your child is not being challenged in a particular subject/course or pull-out program. If you are concerned about your child improving his/her study habits, say so. Work with the team to develop a plan that seeks to improve a skill (organization, class participation, perfection issues, etc) Lastly, don’t forget to ask your child for good ideas. They might surprise you

15 At the end of the meeting you will be asked to sign a Notice of Recommendation Assignment (NORA). The NORA allows the District to implement the proposed Gifted IEP. In effect, you are giving the permission to the District to begin providing the educational services. It is often considered to be good practice NOT to sign the NORA at the meeting. Take some time and think about whether the plan being proposed fits your child. Ask for a copy of the proposed plan with all comments added to it during the meeting to take home with you. According to Chapter 16 you get five (5) days to decide if a proposed GIEP is appropriate for your child if it is presented to you at the end of the meeting. You have ten (10) days to decide if your District mails a copy of the proposed GIEP.

16 Parts of a Gifted IEP Present Levels of Educational Performance Goals
Short Term Learning Outcomes Specially Designed Instructions The sections ask: Where is the student now? Where does the student need to go? When do they get there? How are they going to get there? What do they need to do to get there?

17 Section 1: Present Levels
Chapter 16 calls for Present Level of Educational Performance (PLEP) to be established across all academic areas for the gifted student. The student’s present level needs to be established on an as needed, or, at a minimum, on a yearly basis.

18 Sections 2-3: Goals & Short Term Outcomes
Goals must be meaningful and “make sense” with regard to the overall plan for your gifted child’s education. Goals need to be specific to your child, not given to your child because the child is part of a group. Goals themselves do not need to be specific and measurable. The Gifted IEP must allow time and provide resources for the student to have the opportunity to reach the plan’s goals.

19 Section 4: Specially Designed Instruction (SDI)
This section provides a general “catch-all” way to match the classroom experience to your child’s particular needs. The SDI Parent’s section is where specific issues or challenges your gifted child faces with their schooling are addressed. This is the area used to address opportunities such as: Leadership Literature circles Access to high level reference books Independent study Working with a partner Learning contracts Logging of a child’s work This section of the GIEP gives a teacher room to use these requests where and in a manner that really makes sense

20 Regular Education The regular educational classroom is a critical environment where meaningful instruction can make all the difference in a gifted child’s educational experience. Areas to Modify/Differentiate Content (related topics to add depth) Resource Product/Response/Outcome Skill (thinking)/Level of question Pace

21 Teachers cannot deny the Gifted IEP
The most effective way to have an appropriate plan developed and implemented is to involve regular education teachers in the GIEP process. If a teacher refuses to implement the plan, (for example the GIEP calls for differentiated homework, pre-testing, or alternate class work and it is not done) then you must immediately reconvene the Gifted IEP team to address the issue or go to Due Process to have the plan implemented. If a teacher objects to the GIEP, they can add their written objections to the record. But the GIEP as proposed by the GIEP team and approved by you MUST be implemented.

22 Regular Eduation teachers can read all sections of the GIEP.
Teachers need to understand what is in the GIEP of a student in their class. There is no FERPA or any privacy restriction preventing any regular or gifted education teacher from looking at all sections of a child’s GIEP. If you think your child’s teacher is not aware of your child’s GIEP, ask the teacher.

23 The Gifted IEP in Action
As the school year progresses, it is your job to make sure that the plans incorporated into the GIEP are being implemented into your child’s educational experience. The plan developed may fail the child, but the child does not fail the plan. If that happens, reconvene the Gifted IEP team, discuss the problem, assess the situation, consider alternatives, and work out a solution that is appropriate for the child. In effect, you modify the plan. Parents can request a GIEP meeting at anytime. It doesn’t have to be solely an annual event. Questions?

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