First Advisor

Omdal, Stuart

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The purpose of this study was to build an understanding of what should be present in schools to meet the academic growth needs of gifted middle-level learners. In times of financial difficulty it is important that educators find ways to meet the needs of all students while afforded little resources to do so. While understandable that finances be provided for struggling students, it should not be at the expense of those who come to school with content mastery already achieved but still eager to learn new material. The results of this study indicate that meeting the academic, high growth needs of gifted learners (and others) is basically a cost neutral focus on five, non-prioritized areas. First, programming that puts core content at the forefront, with high expectations for academics and behaviors, carried out with excellent differentiated instruction by content teachers who have autonomy in what they teach and how they teach it. A second area is leadership that follows a coaching model and trusts in the professional ability of the teachers. Third is school culture, as results indicate that positivity and happiness is contagious and sets the stage for student growth. The final two areas are small schools and the teachers themselves. Small schools foster trust and relationships among the greater community, while teachers in these high growth schools are dedicated and passionate people who will do whatever it takes to ensure that all students are successful.

Abstract Format



Middle school education; Educational leadership; Gifted education; Gifted children -- Education (Middle school) -- United States.; Talented students -- Education -- United States.; Academic growth


201 pages

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