Educators' Frequently Asked Questions
Many gifted and talented coordinators and teachers have similar questions when completing their annual reports. Several of these typical questions and responses are listed below. You may also find national frequently asked questions (FAQs) helpful.
Our district does not have a standardized test for social studies. Are we still expected to show student growth?
Each district is required to identify gifted and talented students in the core academic subjects. Social studies is a core subject. While the district may not have a standardized test, there are other options that may be used to demonstrate growth. Some of these are grades, learning characteristics, rubrics and common social studies curriculum assessments across a grade level.
If my district does not request money, do we still need to complete the application or plan?
Yes. Each district is required to submit an application or plan whether it is requesting money or not.
Does Chapter 104 require a school district to employ a gifted and talented teacher?
No, Chapter 104 does not require a district to employ a gifted and talented teacher. However, in order to meet the needs of the identified students in the district, it is highly recommended that the district employ a properly endorsed gifted and talented teacher.
How many credits do I need in order to hold the Gifted & Talented 690 Endorsement?
The full 690 endorsement requires 12 university credit hours. Six of these credit hours must be from a university. The remaining six credit hours may be workshop hours in gifted education.
I'm working on my 690 endorsement. Is there a deadline for completing the necessary courses?
Yes. In order to receive reimbursement, the teacher of the gifted and talented must be endorsed by Nov. 30 of the school year.
Does the Survey of Exceptionalities course count toward my gifted and talented endorsement?
No. This course is a requirement that all teachers must take for their regular certification.
Our school district has limited funding. We would like to give the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test or the Cognitive Abilities Test to all third and fifth grade students as part of our screening for the gifted program. Is this an allowable cost?
No. If the assessment tool is given to all students, then it is a general education expense and not a gifted and talented allowable cost. However, if after the students are identified and services are provided and further assessment is needed, those expenses may be an allowable cost.
My school unit is part of a union/AOS. We worked together and developed a common application/plan. Do we submit a common budget, too?
No. Each town in the union/AOS must develop its own budget. Then all budgets are submitted together as separate documents with the application/plan.
Our school is working toward an integrated approach to learning at the elementary level. Since we will not be submitting grades for separate subjects, will we need to provide data for our identified students in the core subjects as defined by Chapter 104?
Yes, the school unit will need to tease out data in science, social studies, English language arts and math for students identified in those areas.
I am a new gifted and talented teacher and have been put in charge of reviewing the school unit's identification system. I feel overwhelmed and ill-prepared for the task. Does the Maine Department of Education have a list of approved identification tools?
No, the Maine DOE does not have such a list. However, contact the gifted and talented consultant for the Department with any questions that you may have regarding your identification system or specific assessment tools.
My SAU does not have a business manager. I am trying to figure out how gifted and talented is reimbursed by the State. Can you help?
Each gifted and talented program is approved to include a total budget amount. The total approved budget is compared to the actual expenditure for the fiscal year and the lesser of the two amounts becomes the allocation under Other Subsidizable Cost in the Essential Programs & Services Funding Act. This amount is two-years old. An inflationary factor is added to bring the amount up to the current year. So, for the current year, fiscal year 2013, the fiscal year 2011 gifted and talented expenditures are what is included in the total allocation available for subsidy consideration.
Additionally, the percentage of state subsidy a school unit receives changes annually due to changes in the variables of state evaluation, pupil count and available dollars that are present in the distribution formula.
The secretary assigned to the gifted and talented coordinator maintains the identified student records, sends the identification letters home, assists the coordinator in compiling statistics, etc. Is a portion of her salary an allowable gifted and talented cost?
No, gifted and talented funds are limited.
Our SAU provides music and art in grades K-5 and music in grades 6-8. Are we expected to have a gifted and talented art program in grades 6-8?
No. Gifted and talented identification and services are required in those areas of the fine arts that are provided to the general student population. Since art is not offered to the general student body in grades 6-8, then a gifted and talented art program is not required in grades 6-8.
Many questions continually surface concerning gifted education. The following websites offer their own sets of frequently asked questions and answers. These resources may assist your school district in developing its own list of questions for teachers, administrators and parents.