The Gifted Education Unit provides leadership and assistance to Arizona public schools in providing appropriate gifted education services K-12 for their gifted and advanced learners (approximately 8% of Arizona’s public school population), so they may develop and achieve according to their abilities and potential.
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.
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Champion the academic, intellectual, social and emotional development of Arizona’s gifted and advanced learners through ensuring gifted learners in Arizona receive an appropriate gifted education commensurate with their abilities and potential.
"Gifted education" means appropriate academic course offerings and services that are required to provide an educational program that is an integral part of the regular school day and that is commensurate with the academic abilities and potential of a gifted pupil. "Gifted pupil" means a child who is of lawful school age, who due to superior intellect or advanced learning ability, or both, is not afforded an opportunity for otherwise attainable progress and development in regular classroom instruction and who needs appropriate gifted education services, to achieve at levels commensurate with the child's intellect and ability. ARS §15-779
1. Q. Are gifted education programs mandated in Arizona?
A. 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. Charter schools are not required to provide gifted education services, though some have chosen to do so.
2. Q. Why are identification procedures, programs and services models for gifted education different from district to district? What is a “Scope and Sequence”?
A. 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). You may request to view your district’s local plan through contacting your local school district.
3. Q. We are moving into Arizona, or from one school district to another within Arizona. How will my child’s identification as a gifted learner be affected?
A. 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. Q. Why don’t gifted learners have IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) and other safeguards similar to special education learners?
A. 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. Q. What kind of training is required for teachers working with gifted learners?
A. 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.