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Gifted & Talented COMAR Frequently Asked Questions
In July 2019, Maryland’s Board of Education adopted updated program regulations for Gifted and Talented Education student identification, programs and services, professional learning, and monitoring. The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13A.04.07 govern Gifted and Talented Education programming in all public schools.
Visit https://tinyurl.com/yyxxjefk to read the full Education Article.
How changes to COMAR 13A.04.07 Gifted and Talented Education benefit Maryland students:
•Provides greater access to appropriate programming for gifted and advanced students from all populations;
•Offers more support to educators in developing a continuum of evidence-based services for gifted and talented students;
•Provides support for gifted children’s academic and social/emotional needs.
•Strengthens accountability of local school systems for gifted and talented education.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. How does the COMAR 13A.04.07 define “gifted and talented?” My school system doesn’t have a “gifted and talented” program.
Maryland defines gifted and talented as “an elementary or secondary student who is identified by professionally qualified individuals as having outstanding talent and performing, or showing the potential for performing, at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with other students of a similar age, experience, or environment.”
Local school systems must identify a significant number of gifted and talented students in every school, and at least 10% systemwide.
2. How and when are gifted and talented students identified according to Maryland’s regulation? I don’t know my school’s process.
Each local school system is required to screen all students (referred to as “universal screening”) no later than the end of grade 3 and again in grades 3 – 5 and 6 – 9. While each school system may have its own identification process, students must be identified using multiple indicators selected from the MSDE approved list of assessments and checklists. Further, a school’s identification procedures must be in writing and made public.
3. What kinds of gifted and talented education programming should my school provide?
The programming should accelerate, extend, or enrich the regular curriculum content, processes, and products. The programs used should be “evidence-based,” meaning that research has demonstrated that they are effective in developing the talents of this special population. Services should be available for identified gifted and talented students in grades PreK-12 and available during the regular school day.
4. What support exists for educators of students who are gifted and talented?
Schools must provide ongoing professional learning for teachers, administrators, and other personnel in identification, characteristics, academic, and social and emotional needs of gifted and talented students.
The professional competencies for educators of gifted and talented students are defined in COMAR 13A.12.03.1, and four Maryland colleges/universities offer coursework and degrees in gifted and talented education:
•Johns Hopkins University https://tinyurl.com/y6bz9j6x
•McDaniel College https://tinyurl.com/y2tmyown
•Notre Dame of Maryland University https://tinyurl.com/y2z7gmbp
•Towson University https://tinyurl.com/y4sung7p
5. How are local school systems held accountable for gifted and talented education?
State regulations require school systems to review the effectiveness of their identification process and programming. They will report specific information annually in their Every Student Succeeds (ESSA) plan, which is reviewed by the Maryland State Department of Education. The Department will also facilitate a peer-review process. The State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education was established to advise the Superintendent on best practices. http://marylandpublicschools.org/programs/Pages/Gifted-Talented/GTAdvisoryCouncil/index.aspx
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF
COMAR 13A.07.04 Gifted and Talented Education
1. Join the Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education www.mcgate.org
MCGATE advocates for gifted and talented programming across the state and offers webinars, workshops, and other resources to its members. Join us and help support gifted, talented, and twice exceptional learners in Maryland!
2. Volunteer in your Parent/Teachers Association (PTA). Gifted students are included in the PTA mission: “Every child, One Voice.” You might become the PTA/GT Liaison in your school or school district. www.mdpta.org
3. Become educated about gifted education best-practices and what is required in Maryland’s regulations. The MCGATE website is a great place to begin.
4. Actively inquire: What does your school provide now? What professional learning is offered? Does your system have a strategic plan to implement the updated regulations? Offer to participate in a planning committee. Inform the School Board of your support during the public comment time at Board meetings.
5. Become an advocate for gifted and talented students, right where you live, work, and play. Help dispel the myths, such as the belief that this is an elite and privileged group that is well-resourced in schools and that will do fine on their own.
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