Gifted at School

MYTH: Gifted students are role models for other students.

REALITY: Average or below-average students do not look to gifted students as role models. Students model their behavior on those who have similar capabilities and are coping well in school. Gifted students benefit from interactions with peers at similar performance levels. Source: National Association for Gifted Children

Finding a Place to Thrive

School is not always an easy or comfortable place for creative and independent learners. Gifted students frequently face a unique set of challenges.

Boredom in school is a very real issue. Gifted students make connections rapidly and are always seeking patterns. They need to be challenged with learning that is relevant and meaningful to them. They want to know “why” they are doing something, which can be frustrating to some teachers, administrators and parents.

Another challenge stems from the fact that most gifted children are primarily visual spatial learners. This means they learn from whole to part and not in the step-by-step methods used in most classrooms. Many gifted learners are concept learners. They need to see the "big picture" first when learning and don't necessarily excel in skill areas as is expected of them. Because they tend to be visual spatial learners, they don’t see in black and white. They see in shades of gray, which can make multiple choice and true/false tests – where they are asked to deliver “the” answer – extremely difficult.

There is often a misconception that, because they are gifted, intellectual development should take priority, while social and emotional growth and development takes care of itself. This couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s why, at Stargate, we have created a learning environment designed specifically for gifted children, where emotional and social development is integrated into curriculum and instruction and viewed as a critical factor in each student’s educational success.

At Stargate, gifted children feel at home and that they “belong.” They don’t have to deal with the issues of feeling different and not fitting in. They have the opportunity every day to work and learn with gifted peers, children who are on the same wavelength.

At Stargate, it is normal to help students deal with and accept their asynchronous development, intensities and sensitivities, and to assist them in finding ways to channel these areas effectively into positive expressions. We help them find strategies to manage the confusion, frustration and self-criticalness that can result when one develops asynchronously or unevenly as gifted children do.

We strive to create more open and individualized educational opportunities so that our gifted learners can develop their own interests, while also pursuing a rigorous academic program and mastery of the curriculum standards of our state and district.