Gifted Education Programs
Intellectually gifted students attending middle schools have pull out and push in gifted instruction through the collaborative work of cluster teachers and the gifted resource teacher. Either option allows gifted students to work to their potential through curricular opportunities emphasizing differentiated curriculum and instruction and the use of strategies designed especially to raise the level of challenge. The resource-cluster program promotes optimum understanding of the needs of gifted children for all school staff. Gifted students interact with their teachers, classmates, and gifted peers in a heterogeneous grouping, while attaining benefits through the modification of content, process, product, and learning environment.
The Governor’s School for the Arts
The Governor’s School for the Arts is a regional, secondary visual and performing arts school sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education and the public school divisions of Chesapeake, Franklin, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Southampton, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. The Governor’s School for the Arts is located in Norfolk. In order to attend, students must be enrolled in the ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grade in a public school in one of the participating school divisions. The Governor’s School for the Arts is one of the specialized Virginia public schools designated as “Governor’s Schools” whose mission is to provide intense educational opportunities for gifted and talented students in grades 9-12. Classes are held at the campus of Old Dominion University and in Downtown Norfolk. The school division provides tuition and transports students between the schools and the Governor’s School for the Arts only.
The Governor’s School for the Arts provides pre-professional, individualized, and focused instructional programs in dance, instrumental and vocal music, musical theater, theater, and visual arts for students with a high degree of artistic talent and potential for growth. Students must be committed to developing their talents and interested in pursuing careers in the arts.
Students take academic courses at their regular high schools in the morning and attend the Governor’s School for the Arts in the afternoon for three hours daily during the regular academic year. Classes may be individualized lessons, small or large group instruction, or rehearsals. The average class size is 12 students. Students may earn four credits for each year they attend the Governor’s School for the Arts. These courses are given advanced weight. Students earn four (4) credits per year. The courses are: Dance-93150A, Music-92890A, Theater Arts-93200A, and Visual Arts-91470A,
There are two steps in the application process. Interested students, in grades 8-11, must complete and mail an application for an audition. (Applications may be secured from guidance offices.) Applicants who pass the audition must provide teacher references and additional forms for review.
Students who are accepted by the Governor’s School for the Arts should carefully weigh all options and discuss them with their parents. While this specialized training represents outstanding opportunities for aspiring artists, it may also lead to difficult choices. Some course options within the home school will be precluded by the scheduling demands of the Governor’s School for the Arts. (Additional information can be obtained from the guidance department.)
The Governor’s School for Science and Technology
The Governor’s School for Science and Technology, located in Hampton, Virginia, serves students enrolled in high schools from the Hampton Roads area. The Governor’s School for Science and Technology is a two-year, half-day program for 11th and 12th grade students. Admission is highly competitive and based on previous math and science course selection and grades, teacher recommendations, and standardized achievement scores. Students accepted to attend the Governor’s School for Science and Technology will be expected to enroll in one of the following designated strands: engineering, biological science, or scientific programming.
The Engineering Strand provides an intense, rigorous study of fundamental principles of engineering and calculus-based physics. Students develop a passion for calculus and physics during their junior year. Building a robot, constructing a fuel cell, and then proceeding to on-line technology that studies air-bag deployment principles in automobiles are just a few of the engineering activities students experience in the course. The ideas of Maxwell and Hawking are studies during the senior year. Understanding the physics behind such inventions as the TV, computers, and magnetic resonance imaging technology round out the senior year. In addition, senior year includes the study of modern physics exploring relativity, quantum mechanics, and nuclear physics.
The Biological Science Strand provides insights into organic and inorganic chemistry in conjunction with cell and molecular biology by employing advanced technologies utilized in medicine, forensic science, and research labs. An advanced level understanding of biology and chemistry sets the stage for senior students to argue controversial topics concerning the environment. Analyze water quality and biodiversity during monthly sampling of a nearby pond. Extensive field work and laboratory analysis generates a nine-month database for a more comprehensive understanding of our local environment.
The Computational Science Strand provides a detailed study of the fundamental concepts of Computer Science (using Java) and non-calculus based physics. In the junior year, students study the fundamentals of object-oriented programming, Newtonian mechanics and thermodynamics. The senior year will provide an exhaustive study of data structures, algorithms and simulations of continuous and discrete systems.
With small class sizes and advanced-degreed faculty, the learning environment at the Governor’s School is truly unique. Each course has been specifically structured to incorporate best practices for gifted students. Each strand requires completion of one year high school biology, one year of high school chemistry, and Algebra II/Trig prior to admission. For the engineering strand, students must have successfully completed Math Analysis (Pre-Calculus) prior to admission. All strands encompass a math course during both the junior and senior year. Placement in the appropriate math course will be determined upon admission at the end of the 10th grade. In addition, each strand will foster research through a Research Methods and Ethics course the junior year and an Honors Research and Mentorship placement the senior year. In total, students will spend approximately 3 hours at the Governor’s School, taking three courses each year during the two-year program.
Scientific Research Experience
During their two years at the Governor’s School, students will experience hands-on science through classroom experimentation and individualized project research. The junior year research experience involves
• various aspects of research methodology,
• ethics and statistics,
• critical thinking skills,
• scientific writing and communication skills,
• a research project for submission to Tidewater Science Fair.
During the senior year, students participate in an Honors Research and Mentorship experience with a professional. Final projects are presented to the local scientific and professional community as a culminating experience in May. The opportunity to work with a professional in research is an invaluable experience toward career pursuits.
The Isle of Wight County School Division purchases slots in this regional program in an effort to expand educational offerings for eligible students in the 11th and 12th grades. The school division provides tuition and transports students between the schools and the Governor’s School for Science and Technology only. Please visit there website at https://nhrec.org/gsst/