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Gifted Program

CHANGES TO GIFTED BOUNDARIES


At the Board meeting on Wednesday on October 28, 2015, the following recommendations were approved: 

“That the placement of students with a Gifted Exceptionality in secondary Gifted Intensive Support Programs (ISPs) be based on home address and be determined through an IPRC Review Process;

That students currently in existing 2015-2016 Secondary Gifted Intensive Support Programs (ISPs) will be unaffected and will remain in their current school until graduation or withdrawal from the program; and

That this new placement process will begin this year in time for the September 2016 school year”


As you may know there has been a review process underway since last spring with respect to Secondary Gifted Intensive Support Programs (ISPs). The review process considered revising the program boundaries for the secondary Gifted ISPs in order to:

Address equity of access to secondary Gifted ISPs across the District;

Introduce the program in regions of the city where no program currently exists with a more reasonable proximity to student home addresses; and address accommodation pressures at a number of the current Gifted ISP secondary schools due to increased growth at the elementary level.

This review process included four community consultations as well as Local Feasibility Meetings that concluded on September 28, 2015.

New Secondary Gifted Intensive Support Programs

As a result of the Board decision, four (4) new secondary Gifted Intensive Support Programs were established for Grade 9 entry beginning September 2016. The new schools are Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute, A.Y. Jackson Secondary School, Birchmount Collegiate Institute and Thistletown Collegiate Institute.

Please see read the full details in the letter from the board and look at the map.

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In order to provide ongoing support to some of the TDSB's most talented and exceptional learners, DMCI offers a Gifted Intensive Support Program (ISP) for students in grades 9 - 12. As a multi-disciplinary ISP, the Gifted program features differentiated course offerings and specialized instructional supports in all core subject areas.

DMCI offers one of five gifted secondary programs within the Toronto District School Board. All compulsory courses and many optional courses are offered at the gifted level. The Gifted Program seeks to balance the needs for equivalent academic opportunities for students with the need for increased challenges for bright and talented learners. Accordingly, a wide variety of pedagogical approaches are employed in the various departments. Differentiation is sought according to type of material covered, pacing of instruction, use of technology, and assessment and evaluation strategies. Gifted students have opportunities to study in specialized facilities, such as photography, art, and drama studios, technological shops, and an onsite greenhouse. DMCI includes many talented and highly engaged staff who seek to provide exceptional education opportunities for gifted students.

Admission to DMCI's Gifted Program is based on formal identification through the TDSB's Individual Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) process. This process can be initiated by the student's TDSB home school and is coordinated through central TDSB Special Education staff.  The key criterion for acceptance is a General Abilities Index in the 98th percentile - as reported on a Welchsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC - version 4). See page 64 of the TDSB's 2012 Special Education Report for the most up-to-date guidelines on the identification and placement process for Gifted students.

FAQs

1. I would like to arrange for testing for my child. How do I go about it?
If your child is currently enrolled in a TDSB elementary or middle school, make the request to his/her school's special education MART or school principal. Once a request is made, the school will initiate an IPRC process to determine the suitability of a gifted ISP for your child. Please bear in mind that there are several stages in this process and that it typically takes several months to complete.

2. My child has been identified as gifted in another school board. Will the TDSB honour that identification?
Possibly. Standards for acceptance into Gifted programs vary from board to board, but the TDSB's Chief Psychologist would typically be willing to review the results of recent WISC-IV testing and make a recommendation.

3. How do we go about testing if we are not yet enrolled in a TDSB school?
At the current school - if they are willing and able to administer the WISC-IV;
With a private psychological testing facility - but be sure to check with central TDSB Special Education to ensure the facility's testing meets the applicable TDSB criteria
Once enrolled in a public school in the TDSB - by requesting testing through the Special Education resource teacher at the school.

4. How will the program be different than the regular classroom program?

You can expect the gifted program to provide fundamentally different learning experiences from the regular academic program. The kind of learning experiences, the breadth and depth of content and delivery methods, and the pacing of the learning reflects the unique needs, interests, aspirations, and concerns of gifted learners.

5. Where are the TDSB's Gifted programs located?
Click here for a map of all TDSB schools currently offering Gifted programs.

6. What additional opportunities are there for my gifted child?
There are several excellent summer programs available for high school students to "get a taste" of university life. These programs focus on developing leadership skills, building self-confidence, and pursuing enrichment opportunities - all in a residential setting. Testimonials from students who have completed these programs have been overwhelmingly positive. A couple of examples that DMCI gifted students have participated in include Shad Valley and Queen's Enrichment Studies Unit.

For more information about the gifted program and the range of academic and extracurricular opportunities available for Gifted students in the TDSB, please consult the TDSB Special Education Parents' site, where you will find the TDSB's Special Education Plan, the Parents' Guide to Special Education, information on the IPRC process, Assistive Technology, and much more.

Bruce Forsyth
Assistant Curriculum Leader, Gifted
Don Mills CI
bruce.forsyth@tdsb.on.ca
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