The state of North Carolina has adopted a law governing AG programming and has developed a set of standards and practices for districts to use as guidelines when developing their AIG Plans. One of the standards, Standard 3, highlights the importance of personal and professional development. It says:
Standard 3: Personnel and Professional Development
The LEA recruits and retains highly qualified professionals and provides relevant and effective professional development concerning the needs of gifted learners that is on-going and comprehensive.
- Practice C: Establishes specific and appropriate professional development requirements for all personnel involved in AIG programs and services, including classroom teachers, exceptional children's personnel, counselors, and school administrators.
- Practice D: Places AIG students in general education classrooms with teachers who have earned and AIG add-on license or who have met the LEA's professional development requirements for that position.
Since AG students spend the majority of their instructional time with regular education teachers, these teachers need to either be AIG licensed by the state of North Carolina or, at a minimum, meet the local requirement that is created by the LEA. In order to address this practice, our department has created an 12-hour series of workshops for classroom teachers, exceptional children's personnel, counselors, and school administrators. This training consists of two workshops that are six hours each. Completion of the series will mean that teachers meet local requirements to work with AG students. These courses are not substitutes for state licensure. The courses are:
- Characteristics of Gifted Learners: Using the research from various experts within the field, participants will debunk myths about gifted learners, reflect on their own interactions with gifted students in their classrooms and learn how to instruct, assess and manage high ability learners. This is the first course in the GCS Academically Gifted professional development series for teachers who are planning to work with AG students. GCS employees should use the Performance Matters: Professional Learning system to register for these courses.
- Classroom Practices for High Ability Learners: Using research from various experts within the field, participants will gain more advanced strategies to use to differentiate for high ability learners, discuss assessment and management of differentiation in the classroom and create activities utilizing these more advanced structures. This is the third course in the GCS Academically Gifted professional development series for teachers who are planning to work with AG students. GCS employees should use the Performance Matters: Professional Learning system to register for these courses.
The two courses need to be completed in order. This expectation for training is not limited to grades 3-5 since we know that, while students are not identified AG until third grade, academically gifted students perform above grade level and exhibit gifted tendencies from the first days of kindergarten. K-2 teachers also need to be armed to give them the differentiated instruction that they need. Middle school teachers are highly qualified in content area but have no specific training to address the needs of high-ability students. High school teachers are highly qualified in content area and AP/IB teachers receive content training but no training specifically addresses the needs of high-performing students.
Please access the Performance Matters Professional Learning System for upcoming sessions being offered.
It is equally important that AG Teachers and our TAG Chairperson are well-versed in the needs of Academically Gifted students. To that end, monthly sessions are offered that provide an opportunity for these staff members to learn best practices for addressing the needs of our AG students.