DESE defines the gifted child as, “gifted children” mean those who “exhibit precocious development of mental capacity and learning potential as determined by competent professional evaluation to the extent that continued educational growth and stimulation could best be served by an academic environment beyond that offered through a standard grade level curriculum.”
The St. Joseph School District offers gifted services for grades K‐12. These services include:
- PEGS (Program for Exceptionally Gifted Students) for grades K‐6
- GATE (Gifted, Academically, Talented Education) for grades 3‐8
- TAG: Literature and Humanities & Science and Investigations 9‐12
Students in the above mentioned classes have met the criteria set by the DESE for gifted programing. In addition, SJSD gifted faculty hold valid Missouri teaching certifications with additional certification in the area of gifted education.
The PEGS program is housed at Oak Grove Elementary and students participating must attend Oak Grove in order to participate in the PEGS program (if students live outside of the normal boundaries for the Oak Grove school, they must provide their own transportation). Students in the GATE program visit Carden Park Elementary or the Advanced Science Research Center at Hillyard Technical Center one day a week based on grade level. TAG classes are available at each of the SJSD High Schools.
The overall design of the units developed in this coursework is centered in real‐world, authentic experiences—having students work as a professional would. Learning experiences are rich with problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and responsibility. Students are able to explore loosely framed problems issues, which are interdisciplinary in nature, with open‐ended products. In addition, students engaged in the SJSD gifted curriculum will engage in collaboration and utilize technology to facilitate 21st century learning; inquiry, innovation, collaboration, and creativity are addressed in each unit, although from different perspectives.