An independent school district is changing science education for gifted and talented students, expanding its GT program to include science along with English and language arts.
At Pine Tree ISD, young people of similar ability and interests now have more opportunities to learn with their peers. Students in grades five through ten have been grouped in gifted and talented classes for English and language arts. They learn with each other, instead of being grouped with their non-GT peers. Now the district is adding science instruction to that program. GT students still take mixed classes in other subjects with non GT students.
According to Cindi Nyvall, secondary GT specialist, the change is important. Gifted and Talented students have different needs than their non GT peers.
“They process information differently, they interact with other people differently, they literally problem solve and think differently,” Nyvall said. “It is important for (GT) children to be together, because there is some type of magic that happens when you put gifted students in a classroom together and allow them to learn and think together and sharpen one another.”
“Some students are just talented all around, and they’re going to excel in ELAR or science or math or social studies; they’re just going to do really well,” Nyvall said. “But what we’ve found is we’ve got some kids, we’ve got a group of students that love ELAR and they’re super excited about the GT program, but we’ve got some needs of other kids that they need some science opportunities to grow and expand and process and discuss and problem solve with other GT kids that way.”