The State of Connecticut offers the following two descriptions of students who may be identified as gifted and/or talented:
- Those with extraordinary learning ability (commonly referred to as gifted)
- Those with outstanding talent in the creative arts (commonly referred to as talented)
Extraordinary learning ability pertains to academic achievement and intellectual creativity. Outstanding talent in the creative arts pertains to achievement in music, the visual, or performing arts. Students in these classifications are collectively referred to as gifted and talented.
The State of Connecticut requires that each board of education provide referral, identification and evaluation services only for gifted and talented children enrolled in grades kindergarten to twelve. The referral may come from any source including the teacher, administrator, parent, guardian, or child.
Although Connecticut districts are required to evaluate and identify gifted and talented students, there is flexibility in how this evaluation is conducted. The Wilton Public Schools Gifted Identification Process may be found in the Gifted Identification Handbook located under Resources and Guides.
It is important to note that while the gifted and talented identification and evaluation of students is mandatory, the provision of services for identified students is not required and is left to the discretion of the district. The Wilton Public Schools does not offer a distinct, separate program for students who are identified as gifted and/or talented.
However, an important result of the assessment process is an inventory of the student’s actual or potential educational needs, which is shared with the student’s parents and teachers. Every teacher in Wilton employs research-based strategies to differentiate instruction for high ability and creative students. These strategies may include, where appropriate:
- Personalized goal setting
- Curriculum compacting
- Course or grade acceleration
- Advanced curricular resources
- Grouping strategies
- Independent and small-group advanced learning
- Advanced-level readings, problems, or projects that engage learners at a higher level
In addition, all teachers in the Wilton Public School are regularly provided with the professional learning on the identification of gifted and talented students, as well as strategies for meeting the learning and social/emotional needs of gifted and talented students.