The Program


  •  Philosophy
  • Goals
  • Learning Environment
  • Curriculum Content
  • Program Design
  • Characteristics of Gifted Children
  • Referral for Evaluation Process
  • Types of delivery models


St. Johns County School District is committed to develop to the greatest extent possible the potential of each student. The school district recognizes that students who are gifted have special needs which must be met in order for them to reach their potential.

The philosophy of the gifted program is to encourage and facilitate higher levels of critical and creative thinking, communication, independent study skills, leadership abilities, productivity, self-awareness and community involvement. The program supports students to maximize intellectual growth and to become aware of personal and academic, social, emotional, creative and leadership capabilities on both the present and future through enrichment, awareness activities and academics.


The school district believes that a program for gifted students should provide a flexible classroom structure which meets the needs of the gifted learner through a variety of learning situations and styles. The program focuses on problem solving, higher level thinking (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation), creative thinking (fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration), convergent and divergent thinking, critical thinking and metacognitive thinking.

Learning Environment

  • A faculty and staff who acknowledge and repect student’s uniqueness.
  • A flexible classroom structure which meets the needs of the gifted learner through a variety of learning situations including small group instruction, cooperative learning, and independent research.
  • A school day which provides opportunities to:
  1.  Interact with intellectual peers,
  2. Interact with other gifted students who share the same learning need,
  3. Learn and practice being a leader as well as a follower,
  4. Engage in divergent, creative, critical, and higher level thinking,
  5. Develop social as well as academic skills.
  •  A risk free environment in which freedom of thought is encouraged, expected and valued.
  • Teachers who have the desire, skill and commitment necessary to provide students intellectual, social and emotional development.

 Curriculum Content

St. Johns County School District believes that the gifted program should challenge the students through a multi-dimensional teaching approach. Instruction must consist of curricula and instruction adapted to meet the unique needs of the gifted learner. Differentiation, enrichment and flexible instructional pace to allow appropriate learning opportunities for gifted students.

Characteristics of Gifted Children

Gifted children vary in their interests, abilities, values and background experiences, as do all children. There are traits, however, which can be linked to the majority of gifted children when compared with other pupils.

Gifted students may:

  • Be highly motivated
  • Be very curious
  • Have a good memory
  • Use advanced vocabulary
  • Be a good problem-solver
  • Be creative and imaginative
  • Have many hobbies and interests
  • Have a clear learning goal
  • Have a highly developed sense of humor(Frasier, 1997)

Referral for Evaluation Process

A referral is a request for an individual evaluation of a student who is suspected of needing gifted education services. An individual evaluation is a way of collecting information about a child’s learning needs, strengths, problems, and interests. It is used for make decisions about whether a child is gifted and is eligible for ESE services. No decisions about ESE services can be made until after the individual evaluation is finished and reviewed.

To determine if a child needs gifted services the following may occur:

  • Student will be given an intelligence screening
  • Classroom interventions/strategies will be tried
  • Parental information about the child’s development and history
  • Intelligence test administered by a licensed school psychologist
  • Behavioral characteristics checklist of superior students

After the evaluation is done, an eligibility staffing will be held. The team of people at this meeting will determine whether the evaluation data indicate that the child is eligible for ESE gifted services. A child is only eligible when he or she meets the criteria listed in the State Board Of Education Rules. Students must meet the eligibility criteria in order to receive ESE services.

Programs for Different ages and abilities

The following service delivery models are available:

Full-time: students receive curriculum taught by a certified gifted instructor in a classroom with other gifted students. This program option focuses on all aspects of gifted academics including acceleration, social/emotional and enrichment. These services are available for students in 3rd through 8th grade at cluster sites.

Resource: Students are pulled from the general education classroom one day per week to receive specialized instruction from a certified teacher of the gifted. This program option focuses on enrichment activities and is available for students in kindergarten through 5th grade at cluster sites.

Consultation: A teacher of the gifted works with general education teachers to assist them in meeting identified needs of the gifted learner. Materials and other resources are made available to the general educator to enhance instruction for the gifted students in their classes. Consultation services are available in all district schools.

Students will be evaluated and reviewed for eligibility only once in any 12 month period.


In-state Transfers: Students transferring from another public school in the state of Florida can be automatically be placed in a gifted program if:

they have a current Educational Plan (EP) or Individual Education Plan (IEP) which lists gifted placement. ~Data is verified by paperwork or by a phone call to the sending county’s ESE records department that the student was identified and eligible for gifted services.

Out-of-state Transfers: Students transferring from outside the state of Florida may or may not be eligible for gifted eligibility in this state. Florida’s gifted program is designed for intellectually gifted students only. Many other states have programs for academically talented students with different criteria which may not meet Florida requirements for eligibility.