Gifted Education Services
Gifted education services and various enrichment opportunities are available to students of Charles County Public Schools throughout the school year. A Learning Resource Teacher is on staff at every elementary and middle school to collaborate with classroom teachers, provide instruction and support highly able learners. Advanced courses and a wide range of academic opportunities are available at all high schools. County-wide and school activities provide enrichment at all grade levels.
The mission of Charles County Public Schools is to provide an opportunity for all school-aged children to receive an academically challenging, quality education that builds character, equips for leadership, and prepares for life, in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning.
The Office of Gifted Education believes students who perform or show the potential for performing at high levels of accomplishment should have access to high quality gifted education services. A rich continuum of advanced learning opportunities is available to our students. We are committed to providing rigorous instructional programs that nurture potential and enhance academic success.
The Office of Gifted Education provides leadership and expertise for parents and schools. It is our commitment to provide access to advanced learning opportunities matched to our students' potential.
Maryland State Definition of Gifted and Talented
The Annotated Code of Maryland § 8-201 defines a gifted and talented student 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…”
"A gifted and talented student needs different services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to develop the student's potential" (Annotated Code of Maryland § 8-202).
"Gifted and talented students are to be found in youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor" (Annotated Code of Maryland § 8-202).
- News & Events
- Learning Resource Teacher Staff
- Gifted Identification
- Appeals Process
- Middle School
- High School
- Opportunities for Students
- Resources for Parent & Educators
- EGATE Schools
Central Office Contacts
|Content Specialist for Gifted and Differentiated Services
|Instructional Specialist for Gifted Education
Elementary School Learning Resource Teachers
|C. Paul Barnhart
|Dr. Gustavus Brown
|Dr. James Craik
|William A. Diggs
|Amy Tascione Hoffman
|Dr. Thomas L. Higdon
|Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer
|Mary H. Matula
|Walter J. Mitchell
|Dr. Samuel A. Mudd
|Mary B. Neal
|William B. Wade
Middle School Learning Resource Teachers
|Theodore G. Davis
|Milton M. Somers
High School Counseling Department
Information on advanced courses is available through high school counselors. Contact the counseling department for individual counselors.
|Henry E. Lackey
|Maurice J. McDonough
In Charles County Public Schools, students in grades 2-8 are screened for gifted services. Data collection occurs throughout the school year, and final placements and parent notifications are made in May. The identification process includes the following steps:
Broad-based Screening of Students
All second-grade students, new to CCPS 3-8 grade students, and students referred for gifted services take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in November. The Cognitive Abilities Test is used nationally as a tool in the identification of academically gifted students. CogAT measures students’ reasoning, and problem-solving abilities and reflects the overall efficiency of cognitive processes and strategies which enable an individual to learn new tasks or solve problems. The Cognitive Abilities Test is one of several screening tools to identify students who qualify for gifted education services.
Teachers and other school staff members may refer students who display gifted characteristics in the classroom for gifted screening.
Parents may refer students who display gifted characteristics for gifted screening.
Students may self-nominate themselves for gifted screening.
These students make up the screening pool for review by the school based Gifted Identification Committee
In-depth Assessment of Students in Screening Pool
- A school-based identification committee reviews data on each student in the screening pool.
- Multiple criteria will be considered including:
- Abilities test – CogAT
- Achievement data
- PLTW Cumulative Behavior Score
- Classroom performance/grades
- Teacher observation inventories
- Parent nominations/inventories
- Student works samples
Student Needs Matched to Gifted Services
Students who require learning experiences beyond the standard are matched to the appropriate gifted services.
Gifted services in reading, language arts and/or math are available at every elementary and middle school
Parents will be notified by mail of committee recommendations.
Letters will be mailed before the end of the school year.
Any parent can nominate a child in grades 2 - 8 to be screened for gifted services. CCPS Gifted Education Parent Referral Forms are available at every elementary and middle school. Gifted screening referrals are accepted throughout the school year. To be considered for gifted screening for the current school year, referral forms must be returned to the Learning Resource Teacher by December 1st. Contact the learning resource teacher at the school with questions.
Each year all Charles County elementary and middle schools screen students in grades 2-8 for gifted services in reading and math. Parents/guardians of students screened for gifted services are notified of committee recommendations at the end of the school year. A parent wishing to appeal the decision of the school's gifted screening committee should send a letter of appeal to the school principal as soon as possible.
This letter should state the reason for the appeal and any new information not considered in the original review. This may include student work samples, letters from adults who know the child's advanced ability and/or other relevant information that demonstrates the student's need for gifted services.
Upon receiving an appeal, the school principal will contact the Learning Resource Teacher to schedule a meeting with appropriate staff to review the appeal and determine the most appropriate instructional plan for the student. If the letter of appeal is received after the close of the school year, the meeting will be delayed until August/September when school/staff returns. After a decision is made, the principal or Learning Resource Teacher will contact the parent to discuss the instructional plan for the upcoming school year.
GRADES 1 AND 2: NURTURING POTENTIAL IN READING
Students in grades 1 and 2 who are reading more than one year above grade level receive instruction from their classroom teacher with support from the Learning Resource Teacher. Students are grouped with peers of similar academic needs for instruction that include the use of advanced texts, shared inquiry discussion, advanced vocabulary and/or novel study. The classroom teacher may use the following resources to address the needs of students who require instruction beyond the regular curriculum:
- Junior Great Books
- Junior Great Books Nonfiction Inquiry
- Junior Great Books ThinkIt Critical Thinking Nonfiction Reading
- The Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program
- William & Mary: Beyond Words
- William & Mary: A World of Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Words
- Wordly Wise
- iReady My Path
- Trade Books/Novels
GRADES 1 AND 2: NURTURING POTENTIAL IN MATH
Students who are working above grade level in math receive differentiated instruction from their classroom teachers with support from the Learning Resource Teacher. Students are grouped with peers or similar academic needs for small group instruction. The classroom teacher may use the following resources to address the needs of students who require instruction beyond the grade level curriculum.
- Illustrative Math
- Project M2- Mentoring Young Mathematicians
- DreamBox Learning
GRADES 3 THROUGH 5: ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
Students in grades 3 - 5 who have been identified for gifted services in reading receive instruction from their classroom teachers with support from the Learning Resource Teacher. Students are grouped with peers of similar academic needs for instruction that may include the use of above level texts, shared inquiry discussion, above level vocabulary and/or novel study. The classroom teacher may use the following resources to address the needs of students who require instruction beyond the regular curriculum:
- Junior Great Books
- Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program
- Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program Nonfiction
- Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Social Emotional Intelligence
- Wordly Wise
- William and Mary Navigator Units for Novel Study
- William and Mary Language Arts Units
- Novel Studies
GRADES 3-5: MATHEMATICS
Students who have been identified for gifted services in third through fifth grade math receive differentiated instruction from their classroom teachers with support from the Learning Resource Teacher. Students are grouped with peers of similar academic needs for small group instruction. Enrichment curriculum has been developed to advance students’ content knowledge beyond minimal competency, expand conceptual understanding, cultivate, and extend problem-solving abilities. The classroom teacher may use the following resources to address the needs of students who require instruction beyond the grade level curriculum:
- Illustrative Math
- Math Curriculum for Gifted Students
- Challenging Common Core Math Lessons from William and Mary University
- Mindset Mathematics
- Motivation Math
- Project M3 Mentoring Mathematical Minds
- Project A3 Awesome Advanced Activities for Mentoring Mathematical Minds
- Math in Practice
6-8 Language Arts Honors
The Honors level language arts and reading classes in grades 6-8 address the needs of students who require instructional experiences beyond the regular curriculum. The course provides appropriate levels of challenge through accelerated pacing, advanced content, vocabulary, research, writing and language study. Student relevant novels, texts, and embedded assessments are utilized quarterly to enhance students’ reading comprehension, critical thinking, and writing skills.
Literacy Lab 4
Literacy Lab 4 is designed to provide students with literacy instruction at and above the grade level. The primary focus is to prepare students for successful completion in Honors courses in the future. The curriculum is designed to use research-based materials and methodology to increase comprehension skills for adolescent learners.
Students who demonstrate high levels of achievement in mathematics take accelerated courses in middle school. Under the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards for Mathematics, students may be placed in 6th Grade Accelerated Math, 7th Grade Accelerated Math, Algebra 1, and Honors Geometry. High school credit is earned for completion of Algebra 1 and Honors Geometry.
Students show interest and aptitude in scientific concepts, the scientific process, and scientific reasoning.
Honors Social Studies
Students show aptitude in social studies concepts, processes, and reasoning.
Heritage and Native Spanish I – is designed specifically for heritage and native speakers of Spanish who already have some oral language proficiency and may have some written proficiency. Students will be given a language proficiency assessment to determine placement in level I or II. Available to 7th and 8th grade students.
Heritage and Native Spanish II - is designed specifically for heritage and native speakers of Spanish who already have high oral language proficiency and have moderate written proficiency. Students will be given a language proficiency assessment to determine placement in level I or II. Available to 7th and 8th grade students.
Spanish 1, French 1, Latin 1, and German 1 are available to 7th and 8th grade students at some middle schools.
SCHOLARS COURSE OF STUDY
The Charles County Public School Scholars Course of Study initiative encourages and motivates all middle and high school students to complete a rigorous academic course of study that prepares them for successful transition to university coursework or vocation and technical training necessary to enter today’s competitive job field.
Students who demonstrate talent and interest in academic areas and work beyond grade level content may participate in the Charles County Scholars Course of Study. These students in grades 6-12 take advanced level courses and maintain minimum required grades in order to earn recognition at the end of eighth grade.
There are a variety of advanced learning opportunities available to high school students.
Honors level courses are designed for students who are motivated to go beyond the foundational knowledge of the discipline. Honors courses build upon the successes of earlier experiences and stimulate students to explore their potential.
Advanced Placement courses provide rigorous college preparatory coursework in the major subject areas. The AP Program was developed by the College Board and offers students an opportunity to earn college credit based on successful completion of a comprehensive AP exam given in May.
Advanced technology, fine arts and career-related courses are also available to interested students. Check the Charles County High School Program of Studies for explanations of specific courses at the high school level.
Scholars Course of Study
Students who demonstrate talent and interest in academic areas and work beyond grade level content may participate in the Scholars Course of Study. These students in grades 6-12 take advanced level courses and maintain minimum required grades in order to earn recognition at graduation. Information on the Scholars Course of Study is available through the brochure and/or the high school counseling department.
“Acceleration is an educational intervention based on progress through an educational program at rates faster or at ages younger than typical. It is ideally suited to academically gifted students – young people who have an enhanced capacity to learn. Acceleration practices provide the appropriate level of challenge and reduce the time necessary for student to complete traditional school.” (Templeton National Report on Acceleration, 2004)
“The purposes of acceleration as a practice with the gifted are 1) to adjust the pace of instruction to the students’ capacity in order to develop a sound work ethic, 2) to provide an appropriate level of challenge in order to avoid the boredom from repetitious learning, and 3) to reduce the time period necessary for students to complete traditional schooling. Acceleration benefits many highly capable individuals by better motivating them toward schooling, enhancing their involvement with extracurricular activities, promoting more challenging options in the middle school and high school years, and preparing them to begin contributing to society at an earlier age.” (NAGC, 2004)
In accordance with our mission to provide the opportunity for all children to receive an academically challenging education, CCPS recognizes that some academically advanced students may require acceleration beyond what can be provided in the traditional setting. When differentiation and instructional modifications are insufficient to meet the needs of an exceptionally advanced student, grade acceleration may be considered.
Decisions regarding grade acceleration are made by a team of educators, which may include the principal, learning resource teacher, reading and/or math resource teachers, classroom teachers, counselor and appropriate central office personnel.
Requests for grade acceleration are accepted throughout the year; however, implementation of the grade acceleration could take place immediately or with the next school year, depending on the needs of the child.
Requests made at the end of the school year must be submitted by May 1. It may not be possible to review requests received after May 1 until the fall because of staff availability.
The grade acceleration process generally takes about 8 weeks.
A student must be enrolled in Charles County Public Schools for at least 30 days before a grade acceleration request can be considered.
A parent may request grade acceleration through a letter to the school principal describing the child’s advanced skills and the reasons for the grade acceleration request.
A teacher, counselor, or other staff member can also initiate this process. A written request that describes the student’s academic status and the differentiation that has been used to meet the academic needs of the student should be submitted to the principal.
Please note that Kindergarten and first grade students must be initially enrolled in the grade appropriate to their age as of September 1 of the current school year as determined by the Maryland State Department of Education. After this initial enrollment, students may be considered for grade acceleration when evidence warrants consideration.
CCPS does not offer grade or content acceleration for Prekindergarten students. According to Iowa Acceleration Scale: A Guide for Whole-Grade Acceleration K-8, “it is important that the student has experienced a structured classroom, has interacted with peers, and has learned to share adult attention with other children.” The goal of the CCPS PreK program is to prepare children socially, emotionally, physically, and academically for kindergarten and beyond.
CCPS Early Entrance Procedures can be found at Early Entrance Procedures - Charles County Public Schools (ccboe.com)
Throughout the year, Charles County Public Schools sponsors many academic competitions and enrichment activities for students of all ages. For information on specific clubs, teams or events, contact your child’s school.
Fall and Winter Chess Tournaments
Chess is an activity that promotes critical thinking, analysis and reasoning, as well as self-confidence and good sportsmanship. Students in grades K through 12 are invited to participate in two county-wide chess tournaments each year. The Fall Chess Tournament is generally held in October/November, and the Winter Chess Tournament occurs in February. In addition, chess clubs are held at many schools.
In early December, teams from all six high schools test their knowledge in a county-wide It’s Academic competition. Winning teams can advance to playoff competitions against other Washington, DC area schools in the televised games on NBC4.
Destination Imagination (DI)
DI is a creative problem-solving program for students in kindergarten through college, active in 48 states and over 40 countries. Teams of up to seven students solve one of seven different long-term challenges, which they perform in front of appraisers at a regional competition. Winning teams from the regional tournament may be invited to advance to the state and/or global DI competitions.
CTY Talent Search
Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth conducts an annual Talent Search each fall to identify, assess and recognize the academic abilities of advanced students. Students qualify for the Talent Search through standardized test scores, and may qualify for a variety of opportunities through Johns Hopkins University.
Maryland Summer Centers for Gifted and Talented
The Maryland State Department of Education provides summer educational opportunities for gifted and talented students across the state. The Maryland Summer Centers program, in partnership with public and nonpublic agencies, offer a variety of experiential learning opportunities which nurture talent and provide unique experiences for students. Information is available in late winter/early spring.
Additional Enrichment Opportunities
Additional opportunities are available to students at all grade levels. Contact the school for details on specific clubs and competitions. Enrichment opportunities may include the following:
- Elementary Math Challenge (grades 4-5)
- Math Counts (grades 6-8)
- Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Competition - MESA (grades 3-12)
- Spelling Bee (grades 6-8)
- History Day (grades 6-12)
- Black Saga (grades 4-8)
- Science Fair (grades 3-12)
- Future Educators of America (grades 6-12)
- Student Government (grades 6-12)
National Association for Gifted Children
The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is an organization of parents, teachers, educators, and community leaders who work to increase public awareness about the unique needs of children with demonstrated gifted abilities and those children who may be able to develop their talent potential with appropriate educational experiences.
Parenting for High Potential
Parenting for High Potential is a quarterly magazine designed to help parents understand the characteristics and needs of advanced learners and how to develop their children's talents and promote their potential to the fullest. The publication is available through the NAGC website.
MSDE Office of Gifted and Talented Programs
The Office of Gifted and Talented Programs at the Maryland State Department of Education provides information on gifted programs and events in the state. Dr. Jeanne Paynter is the Specialist for Gifted Education at MSDE. State regulations, informational material, and upcoming conferences can be found on this website.
Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education
Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education (MCGATE) is a Maryland gifted education advocacy group made up of educators, parents, students and community members. Their focus is on public policy and educational practices that affect the successful education of gifted and talented/highly able students.
Johns Hopkins University – Center for Talented Youth
The Center for Talented Youth (CTY) is a university-based initiative with a mission "to recognize and develop the world's brightest young minds." CTY is dedicated to the education of advanced learners worldwide and offers courses, testing, publications, and research on K-12 gifted and talent youth.
Hoagies' Gifted Education
Hoagies' Gifted Education is a comprehensive resource on the education of gifted children for parents, educators, and students. It offers an abundance of information, articles, books, and links covering a wide range of topics.
The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. College Board is responsible for Advanced Placement courses and exams for college credit, and they also conduct the SAT and PSAT college entrance exams. Parents may find information about college planning, paying for college, scholarships, and exam schedules and fees on their website.
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) is a nonprofit organization that empowers families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
In 2010, the Maryland State Department of Education and the State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education initiated the Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) School Awards Program. This recognition program honors elementary, middle, and high schools that offer gifted and talented programs aligned with the objectives and criteria of the Maryland Criteria for Excellence: Gifted and Talented Program Guidelines.
Each EGATE school submitted a comprehensive application which provided documentation of twenty-one different criteria under four program objectives from the Criteria for Excellence: Gifted and Talented Education Program Guidelines. The EGATE schools are recognized with Governor’s proclamations at a February reception, proudly display the EGATE banner, host celebratory visits, and serve as models for other schools seeking to achieve EGATE status.
Three Charles County elementary schools and one middle school have earned the EGATE award. These schools are:
- Dr. James Craik Elementary School (2017)
- William B. Wade Elementary School (2017)
- T.C. Martin Elementary School (2013)
- Milton M. Somers (2014)
Visit the school websites to learn about these model schools.