Elementary (K-4) High Ability Program Overview
At the elementary level in Zionsville Community Schools, students are identified for High Ability Math, High Ability Language Arts, or High Ability General Intellectual (Both). The needs of gifted children are met in the same way that the needs of all students on the learning spectrum are met – through differentiating instruction. (If you would like to learn more about differentiated instruction, please look under “Additional Parent Resources” on this website.)
Most identified elementary high ability students are cluster-grouped in one to three classrooms in each grade level at each Zionsville elementary school. They receive accelerated and more complex curriculum and instruction in math and/or language arts but otherwise participate in all other grade level activities, field trips, science/social studies curriculum and specials.
Multiple professional development activities in gifted education are provided for our elementary teachers. Each year a cadre of ZCS teachers attends the Indiana Association for Gifted conference. ZCS educators also attend free workshops offered in gifted education throughout the year by The Indiana Division of Exceptional Learners. The K-4 High Ability teachers meet regularly to share effective strategies and to review procedures. All kindergarten and first grade teachers have been formally trained to recognize the characteristics and special needs of gifted children.
High ability state grant funds are used to bring nationally-recognized experts to us and to purchase professional resources and student materials. The grant also provides stipends for teachers to pursue an endorsement in high ability education. The number of high ability endorsed elementary teachers in ZCS has increased significantly in the past several years. All teachers of high ability students are highly qualified elementary teachers who are trained to differentiate for gifted learners. All teachers district-wide follow the curriculum established for high ability students and receive resources and training throughout the year.