New curriculum in Charleston County helps identify gifted, talented students

By Alan Campbell    email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Teachers in Charleston County are paying closer attention to first and second grade students to identify those who are gifted and talented.

A new curriculum focusing on developing student minds is being implemented in some schools across Charleston County. The chance to identify a student as gifted or talented is something the Charleston County School district is trying to focus on by implementing a new curriculum that focuses on communications and math skills.

The program is currently being field tested in four states. South Carolina, Kentucky, Texas and Connecticut are testing the new program. Most states don't focus on gifted or talented students until the third grade.

The new curriculum allows students to grapple ideas and information that will build their thinking ability. So, by the time they are in third grade, teachers and faculty will be able to identify more gifted and talented students.

Karen Reed, Charleston County's talent and gifted interventionist, said the curriculum is designed to allow students to learn from interaction with other students.

"What we find more is just that the increase in thinking ability instead of memorization or direct teacher instruction, that this curriculum really allows the teacher to step back and be a facilitator, and really allow students to use inquiry is allowing them to discover concepts," Reed said.

Reed also said they're hoping the students will be able to think of new ideas and wrap their minds around them.

"Were hoping to bring out some of the experiences and opportunities that allow children to think and grapple with ideas instead of being told information, that they really have to grapple and discover information and that is going to build their thinking capacity so that by the time they are in third grade we will be able to identify more gifted and talented students," Reed said.

Currently, 17 percent of students in the Charleston district are identified as gifted and talented, which is above the state average. Some schools in the district don't have the funding to identify potentially gifted and talented students. Reed said she hopes this new program will help turn that around.

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