Ashe City Schools’ Journey to Recognize, Nurture, and Respond to the Potential In All Children Via U-STARS~PLUS Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Kern, Angela Haywood
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Culturally/linguistically diverse and economically disadvantaged students are under-represented in gifted education programs. White middle-class children tend to be afforded the opportunity of gifted education services. This study analyzed Ashe City Schools' journey to implement Project U-STARS~PLUS in order to identify and serve culturally/linguistically diverse and economically disadvantaged students. The methods employed for this research included: analysis of existing data, focus groups with teachers, interviews with administrators and a director, interviews with fourth grade children, and document reviews of AIG plans. Qualitative methods were employed to summarize the effect of Project U-STARS~PLUS in Ashe City Schools. The purpose of this study was to analyze Ashe City Schools' journey to recognize, nurture, and respond to the potential in all children via U-STARS~PLUS. The data obtained from the focus groups, interviews, and document analysis were analyzed to determine the overall effect of Project U-STARS~PLUS in Ashe City Schools. Findings indicate that when teachers were trained to utilize systematic observations over time for students, then at potential traits emerged. In this study, eighty-three children were recommended for gifted services that would have otherwise been overlooked over the course of the four year research. Teachers felt that Project U-STARS~PLUS impacted their interactions with possible gifted students or students with academic potential by allowing the teachers to see gifted potential. However, even though possible strengths were noticed, gifted identification still belonged to the student who could score high on a standardized test. Another benefit of this study revealed that science was energized in the classroom through inquiry based methods and hands-on family take home science kits. The written district gifted education plan indicated that Ashe City was intentionally exploring multiple pathways to gifted identification for all children. This study is important because children from culturally/linguistically diverse and economically disadvantaged households should have equitable access to gifted education services. This study will be beneficial to other school districts facing the same challenges of recognizing and nurturing their brightest children.
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  • Day, Barbara
  • Open access

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