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N.C. praises county's program for gifted students

The Academically or Intellectually Gifted program at Henderson County Public Schools has recently received state recognition as an AIG “Promising Practice” program, the school system said.

The county schools' AIG program exemplifies a Critical Action outlined in the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Call to Action: Guidebook, which was guidebook was recently presented at the State Board of Education on March 4.

Over the last two years, NCDPI’s Division of Advanced Learning and Gifted Education has collaborated with school districts’ AIG coordinators to develop a strategic initiative to realize equity and excellence in gifted education programs across the state. Part of this initiative, the Call to Action: Guidebook details six “Critical Actions” or best practices, including mitigating systemic barriers to accessing gifted education (Critical Action 2), providing a range of services within an AIG program, (Critical Action 3) and intentionally cultivating student strengths and talents (Critical Action 4).

In the Guidebook, existing AIG programs in various North Carolina public school systems are listed as “Promising Practices,” serving as successful illustrations and models of each Critical Action.

The AIG program at HCPS is noted as a “Promising Practice” for Critical Action 4: Foster Talent Development, which calls for “cultivat(ing) potential in students whose strengths are not yet tapped or readily observable in typical classroom environments, in addition to serving students who are already demonstrating high performance.”

The district’s AIG program is described as using a nurturing philosophy to ensure instructional differentiation that challenges students and supports their individual growth and development by being intentionally inclusive, ensuring access to advanced academic services from kindergarten through Grade 12, giving schools the flexibility to meet the needs of unique student populations, and more.

“It’s an honor to be represented in this Guidebook of statewide best practices,” said Caroline Patterson, the school district's Director of High Schools and AIG. “Our AIG department is continually working on ways to ensure that the program adapts to meet the needs of all academically gifted students in each of our schools,” said Patterson. “We recognize the need to increase access and opportunity to gifted academic services, in every grade level.”