The Gifted and Talented Program Experience

THE “CHALLENGE EXPERIENCE”

In the McAllen Independent School District’s Gifted and Talented Program students experience an array of appropriately challenging learning experiences.

THE PRIMARY SOURCE FOR THESE EXPERIENCES IS FOUND WITHIN THE CLASSROOM!

    • In  kindergarten,  all teachers have received the 30 hour gifted education staff development and/ or gifted and talented endorsement. Teachers enrich the curriculum for all students. Kindergarten enriched experiences provide opportunities for all students to develop their gifted characteristics and abilities.   All students in kinder are reviewed for gifted and talented services.  This review begins in September.  In March when students are identified for  gifted and talented services, the  classroom teacher ensures that the identified child or children are appropriately challenged  with curriculum differentiation within the  regular classroom. The teacher will also differentiate instruction for all students who are achieving at higher levels in reading, mathematics, science and social studies.
    • In grades one through five an identified gifted and talented student has the opportunity to be in a gifted classroom and experience challenging learning activities.  Being with other advanced students and trained  teachers, students  progress at an appropriate pace and level. To provide a well rounded experience for all students, students are grouped with regular and gifted learners.
    • Dual Language and  ESL instruction are provided for identified gifted students who are also English Language Learners, in the elementary grades.  Students are grouped with both regular and gifted learners, and receive instruction in both English and Spanish.
    • In middle school (grades 6, 7 and 8) students are offered Pre-Advanced Placement of IB Middle Years Program as the academically challenging courses in the four core academic areas.  Students are encouraged to accelerate in mathematics and take Algebra I as early as 7th grade or 8th and Geometry in 8th grade.  See your middle school counselor for the detail on acceleration.  Students who are accelerating in Mathematics are on track for Calculus and Statistics or Advanced Mathematics at Lamar Academy.  Please check with the  college or university for “Calculus Readiness” requirements, so your son or daughter can complete all requirements before graduation! 
    • Students in the middle school are encouraged to visit the McAllen ISD Curriculum Bulletin and begin understanding how taking high school advanced courses such Algebra I and Geometry can help a student to earn an endorsement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Taking Advanced Biology, Chemistry, Physics or other science can also help students to earn an endorsement in STEM.

Gifted and Talented Classes in High School

In high school, gifted learners may choose from the following program options: the Advanced Placement ProgramInternational Baccalaureate  Diploma Program and Concurrent Enrollment / Dual Credit, either at Achieve Early College High School, STC Academies or UTRGV.  The Options High School Program at Lamar Academy offers Advanced Placement and Dual Credit Courses for students who are sufficiently recovering credits and  their academic standing.   As students are academically recovering they are afforded the opportunity to challenge themselves in this small environment.

Students should begin as early as 8th grade, to review the college or university they are interested in attending and begin to examine the entry requirements. Participation in  Dual Enrollment, Community Service, Job Shadowing, Club Leadership, Fine Arts, Athletics, National Honor Society, Student Council, Yearbook, CTE Student Organizations, AP Scholars, IB Diploma etc. are excellent opportunities for gifted and talented students to achieve both in and outside the classroom.  Colleges and universities expect students to be well rounded and balanced.  Students must be  focused on their grades, and always participate in the most rigorous courses available.

Advanced Placement Program (AP)
The AP Program provides gifted and academically motivated and  advanced high school students exposure to university/college-level academic work and provides opportunity to show what they have learned by taking AP Exams.  Many colleges and universities are then able to grant college credit to these students while they are still in high school (also known as Advanced Placement).   McAllen ISD offers a full range of AP classes in all high schools. The program begins in the ninth and tenth grades with Pre-AP classes that prepare the students for AP courses in grades ten through twelve.  AP prepares students for the future by giving them academic tools that will serve them well throughout their college careers.  Students should review the university program to which they are applying to determine their course of study.

Students who are interested in applying to engineering, pre – medicine  or STEM programs, should take the most advanced Mathematics and Science courses available at their high  school all four years of high school.  (AP Calculus AB/BC, AP Statistics, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Biology etc.)  Grade point averages for these courses are extremely important as well as AP exam scores in these subjects.

AP exams in McAllen ISD for enrolled students are offered at no fee to the student.  Students are also provided with Saturday prep sessions, after school tutoring, AP prep books and materials and mock AP exams.  

Achieve Early College High School

The Nationally Acclaimed Blue Ribbon School  – Achieve Early College High School on the South Texas College campus, affords students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an Associate Degree from South Texas College.

Concurrent Enrollment 

MISD, in collaboration with the University of Texas-RGV  and South Texas College, offers educational opportunities and experiences to academically talented high school juniors and seniors. This collaboration enables students to get a head start on their college degrees before high school graduation.

International Baccalaureate Program (IB) at Lamar Academy
The IB, an internationally recognized program, is a rigorous pre-university course of studies that meets the needs of highly motivated high school students in their junior and senior years.  This program’s high quality curriculum aims to encourage critical thinking by the study of traditional disciplines while encouraging an international perspective.  MISD’s IB Program is housed at Lamar Academy and serves students from the district’s three high schools. Students who successfully complete the program receive college credit as well as an international diploma that is recognized by  universities throughout the world.  To learn more about the IB Programme visit IB at Lamar Academy.