1. Are gifted education programs mandated in Arizona?
Yes. Gifted education is mandated for all public school districts. All school districts must both identify gifted learners and provide appropriate educational programs and services for gifted learners that are an “integrated, differentiated learning experience during the regular school day” in all grades K-12. ARS §15-779.02 Charter and private schools are not mandated under ARS §15-779.02, unless they choose to apply for the gifted supplemental funding, when such funding again becomes available from the state legislature.
2. Why are identification procedures, programs and service models for gifted education different from district to district? What is a “Scope and Sequence”?
Arizona law requires that all public school districts must both identify gifted learners and provide appropriate educational programs and services for gifted learners. However, the law does not prescribe the models that district must use to serve their gifted learners.
The law does require each school district to create a local plan for gifted education programs and services – a “Scope and Sequence” — for the identification process of and curriculum modifications for gifted pupils to ensure that gifted learners receive gifted education commensurate with their academic abilities and potentials (ARS §15-779.02). Many districts post the Scope and Sequence information on their websites; however, you may also request to view your district’s local plan by contacting your local school district.
3. We are moving to Arizona from one school district to another within Arizona. How will my child’s identification as a gifted learner be affected?
If your child was identified as a gifted learner through using a test from our State Board Approved Test List, and scored at the 97th percentile in any one of three reasoning categories (Verbal, Nonverbal or Quantitative Reasoning) – then your child must be identified as gifted by an Arizona school district within a timely manner, as soon as the district has verified eligibility.
4. Why don’t gifted learners have IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) and other safeguards similar to special education learners?
Federal law has established policies and procedures for special education, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires IEPs for special education learners. Gifted education policies and procedures, however, are solely established through state law.
5. What kind of training is required for teachers working with gifted learners?
Teachers who work with gifted learners must be provided with professional development support based on a plan outlined within a school district’s Scope and Sequence for Gifted Education. Also, teachers whose primary responsibility is teaching gifted learners must have, or be working towards earning, an Arizona Gifted Education K-12 Endorsement.