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Gifted & Talented Program

Samantha Webre

The Lafayette Parish Gifted Program offers services to over 1000 students in grades K-12 who have been identified as having special learning needs due to exceptionally high academic abilities. To qualify for services in this field of special education, students are referred for testing in reading and math achievement as well as intellectual ability.  Referrals can be made by teachers, parents, or administrators who have evidence of the child’s high abilities.  All gifted testing is handled by the Pupil Appraisal Department, not the GT Office. 

Once a child has been identified by meeting the Louisiana State Department’s criteria, parents meet with the gifted program staff to discuss the individual child’s needs and how they might be best met through a variety of program options. At this meeting, called an I.E.P. conference, an Individual Educational Plan is designed.  Services are implemented by teachers of the gifted.

Many families choose for their child to remain in their neighborhood schools through grade eight. In this scenario, students can receive services from a gifted enrichment teacher from two to six hours per week.  Lessons in these classes supplement the program in the regular classroom with instruction in higher level thinking skills. Activities requiring critical and creative thinking might take the form of creative writing, art, research, leadership, logic, problem solving, literature analysis, and cultural exposure.  Students in primary grades are taught at their home schools by itinerant gifted teachers.  Students in grades 5-8 attend an enrichment site at either Edgar Martin Middle School or Paul Breaux Middle School, depending on family’s residential school zone.  Gifted students attending Schools of Choice also attend the enrichment site as determined by the family’s residential school zone, not by the School of Choice attended.

Other students’ needs are best met by an accelerated academic program in the content areas. Students work with materials which are advanced for their grade level.  This option is available at Woodvale Elementary or Plantation Elementary, depending on family’s residential school zone. Note: The District’s only 1st grade Gifted Academic class is housed at Woodvale Elementary; therefore, all 1st graders opting for the Academic Gifted Program receive those services at Woodvale Elementary. 2nd Grade Academic Gifted Program services are then placed by residential zone. 

The accelerated program takes on a magnet school type structure in grades 6-8. Paul Breaux is the site where students who qualify can take accelerated courses in language, math, science, social studies, and art in the gifted program.  Students may transfer to Paul Breaux from any school zone in the parish for these services. Higher level materials are used by teachers trained in gifted education strategies. Electives are also taken through regular curriculum integrating gifted students into the rest of the student body.

The magnet school concept continues at the high school level.  Students no longer have the option of the enrichment-only program at this level. Courses are offered in the core courses of math, science, social studies, and English using college prep materials with an emphasis on incorporating higher level thinking skills into the academic curriculum.  High School gifted students attend Lafayette High School.