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    Jennifer Bill - GTA Specialist

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    The Pearland I.S.D. Gifted and Talented Academy, located at Sablatura Middle School and Jr. High West, is a program option for all identified gifted 5th - 8th grade students. Participants in the GT Academy have unique opportunities for acceleration, independent study, and enrichment, as well as support for their unique social and emotional needs.

     

    * Gifted and Talented Academy Frequently Asked Questions *

    I know that all GTA classes follow the advanced curriculum written by the school district. How is the GTA different from the advanced classes for a non-GTA classroom?

    • Because the GTA has 100% gifted students in the core classrooms, teachers are able to address curricular goals at a different pace. Teachers explore topics thoroughly with students and extend their topics with student-generated projects, labs, and field trips.
    • The academic challenge in the GTA classroom helps to prepare students on a different level. Students are not only engaged in the classroom but also develop teamwork and leadership skills.
    • Teachers are able to better support individual students’ abilities and interests in an academic setting.
    • The teachers are specially trained to address the specific needs of the GT students. While they engage students, they are also able to work with students on soft skills like organization and time-management, communication, and communication.

    I know that all core classes in the GTA have only GT students in them. Are the elective classes also GT-specific?

    • Elective classes like athletics, band, Spanish I, and robotics are blended with GT and non-GT students.
    • Athletic or academic extra-curricular teams are open for participation of all students, regardless of GT status.
    • The high school credit class, Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC), is also a hybrid class with about 70% GTA students and 30% advanced or unidentified GT students.

    Is my GTA student allowed to participate in competitive sports?

    • Yes, GTA students are welcome to participate in sports. Practices take place before or after school, and competitions take place after the school day.
    • Students who play on teams participate in the athletics class rather than the physical education class in the seventh grade. In the eighth grade, Athletics becomes one of the elective classes.

    My GT student is amazing in math but struggles in reading. Are students kicked out of the GTA for having bad grades?

    • Our teachers are amazing and understand that not every child is gifted in every area. Teachers are able to inspire and work with children who might be struggling in a subject level. West does not send students to return to their home campus for struggling academically.

    If my student transfers into West and is at a different level in math, what happens?

    • When students come into our program, our guidance counselors place students in the appropriate level of math. Occasionally, students are permitted to take classes on the high school campus. If a student comes to the West GTA and is not in an advanced math class previously, the student will be placed in the appropriate class with a trained teacher.

    What is the expectation for student behavior?

    • It is crucial for our students to demonstrate appropriate classroom behavior. If a student violates the code of conduct, the child may be returned to his/her zoned campus.

    Class sizes can be an issue. What is the average size of each class in the GTA?

    • We average 25 students per class. However, core class sizes can range from 17 to 30 depending on scheduling. For instance, a first period science class might have 27 students while second period might only have 18. The thing that impacts the numbers in a class is typically the student’s elective class choices like Honors Band or Athletics because they may only be offered one time a day.

    My student participates in the Highly Gifted Math class. Will Algebra I and Geometry be offered on campus?

    • The high school courses of Algebra I and Geometry will be offered on the West campus.

    How is the Texas Performance Standards Project supported at West?

    • The Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) is a part of the state plan. Students in the program research concepts both in the core classroom, during advisory, and on their own. The core teachers hold students accountable for portions of the project. West’s GTA showcase in the spring will highlight these projects.

    I have heard a lot about mini-courses. Are these offered at West?

    • Because of the challenges with the pandemic, the school district has placed a moratorium on mini-courses on all campuses. However, through their academic classes our teachers are able to design activities that allow students to explore their individual interests.

    I know that all teachers have basic Gifted and Talented training. Do the GTA teachers have any additional training?

    • Yes, our teachers are also trained by the College Board and regularly attend other trainings focused on the development of gifted learner.

    West is not my zoned campus. How does transportation work?

    • Parents will complete a transfer form so that the district can arrange bussing for our students. If your child participates in an activity outside the school hours like football or math/science club, parents will have to make their own transportation arrangements.

    If I have questions about my child in the GTA, whom do I contact?

    • Bill is the GTA specialist. Her office is centralized, and she is available to students throughout the day to address any concerns.
    • Parents are always welcome to contact Mrs. Bill with any questions or concerns: BillJ@PearlandISD.org

     

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    Gifted and Talented Academy's Booster Club

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