Parents' Frequently Asked Questions

Are all schools in Maine required to have a gifted and talented program?
Public Law 2011, Chapter 678, Part H requires that all school administrative units (SAUs) implement a gifted and talented education program by the 2012-13 school year. The law also allows the SAUs to request an annual waiver from the Commissioner of Education. The actual gifted and talented program is designed by the local district.

How is my child identified?
Each school district uses a minimum of three tools to identify students in each subject area. For example, a district may use a New England Common Assessment Program score, a Northwest Evaluation Association score and a teacher nomination to identify a student in math. A district may use a teacher nomination, a student questionnaire and a portfolio review to identify a student in art.

When will my child go through this identification process?
By the end of second grade or usually by the end of third grade, all students are screened for the gifted and talented program. Periodic grade-level reviews occur after that.

If my child is identified as gifted and talented, will he/she remain in the program until he or she graduates?
Your child may or may not remain in the program throughout the grades. There is usually a review at the end of elementary school and middle school. This review will determine whether your child requires services. If your child no longer requires services, he or she may be asked to exit the program.

What if my child is bored in first grade and identification doesn't begin until third grade?
Your child should receive a differentiated program regardless of whether a formal identification process has taken place. In Maine, districts are required to provide a comprehensive K-12 program for gifted and talented students.

Will my child receive a grade while he/she is in the gifted and talented program?
The reporting system is determined by the local district. In some cases, the student may receive a grade. In other cases, you might receive an anecdotal report.

What does it mean when the school says my child is identified as gifted and talented?
In the State of Maine, this means your child is in the top 5 percent of his or her class in the identified area(s). At this time, it is necessary to differentiate the academic and/or arts program(s) for your child.

What if my child does not want to participate in the gifted and talented program?
Find out why your child does not want to participate. Perhaps your child is afraid he or she will not be able to rise to the challenge. Maybe he or she wants to do the same work as friends. You will need to decide if your child participates in the program or not.

Our district does not have a teacher for the gifted and talented. The classroom teacher is supposed to be providing the program. However, I don't feel my child is challenged. What can I do?
You should meet with the classroom teacher, the administrator in charge of the gifted and talented program and the school administrator. Explain the situation and bring samples of your child's work to the meeting. Discuss future options.

If my child is not identified, do I have the right to appeal the decision?
Yes. The district should make the appeal process clear to you.

Can I have my child tested by an outside evaluator?
You can have your child tested, but the district is not required to accept the evaluation. The outside evaluator must use comparable tests to those used in the district. For example, a score from a cognitive test will not be recognized in a district that does not use cognitive testing for identification of gifted and talented students.

Do gifted and talented students have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)?
No, they do not have IEPs, but some districts use individualized learning plans (ILPs). An ILP is a contract signed by the parent or guardian that describes the student's programming.

Can my child accelerate by content area, ie., math?
Yes, but this is a local decision. You should meet with your child's teacher and building administrator to discuss the appropriate options.

My child is being placed in a cluster group. What does this mean?
Several children of similar ability are placed together in a heterogeneous classroom.