Mrs. Dawn Koons

Dallastown Area School District

K-3 Gifted Teacher


"Live your life in the manner that you would like your kids to live theirs."

~Michael Levine, Lessons at the Halfway Point

Dallastown Area School District

Gifted Education Plan

The Dallastown Area School District Program for the education of gifted students is designed to meet the needs of students exhibiting outstanding intellectual and creative ability.  Opportunities for acceleration or enrichment, or both, are provided to students who are gifted in compliance with the regulations set forth in Chapter 16 of 22 Pa Code. 



Vision/Mission Statement


Dallastown Area School District’s motto is “Dedication to Excellence.” We strive for excellence in all of our programming, including the gifted program. We believe that all students benefit from instruction that challenges them to reach meaningful academic goals. Our mission is to identify gifted students through established criteria set forth by the state of Pennsylvania and to develop appropriate programs to meet their individual academic and social/emotional needs.





All students benefit from differentiation of instruction in the classroom setting. Our belief is that we offer strong, relevant staff development programs that promote instructional staff members’ knowledge about gifted students’ academic and social/emotional needs, strategies for differentiation in the classroom, and a district-wide focus on multiple intelligences and higher-order thinking skills.


We believe that gifted programs and the Gifted Individual Education Plans that support each gifted student’s progress should be based on the aptitude, achievement, and academic needs of these students. We utilize multiple criteria to identify students for the gifted program from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds within the Guidelines of Title 22 CODE of PA, Chapter 16: Special Education for Gifted Students.


We believe that the learning environment in DASD schools should be one in which students are given ample opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, productive interpersonal and social skills, and instructional activities which will enhance and stimulate each gifted student’s growth and potential, addressing both strengths and needs of students.


We also believe that teachers of the gifted work together with their colleagues and identified students as a learning team.


 Screening and Evaluation Process


            The screening and evaluation process begins with professional development to ensure teachers’ competency in recognizing the characteristics of gifted students as an informal screening.  Referrals for formal screening may be initiated by teachers or parents on the basis of observations and/or school achievement.  The individual making the referral completes a checklist of characteristics of students with gifted ability.  Referrals are forwarded to the building principal who completes an initial screening request form.  The screening request form is forwarded to the gifted education teacher (elementary school) or IST teacher (middle school) to initiate the formal screening process. 



            A GIEP is developed for all students identified as mentally gifted as determined by the gifted multidisciplinary evaluation.  A GIEP team is appointed to review the recommendations resulting from the gifted multidisciplinary evaluation.  Parents of the gifted student are offered the opportunity to be present at the GIEP meeting.  Each GIEP includes, as required in Section 16.32 of 22 Pa Code the following:


1.      a statement of the student’s present levels of educational performance

2.      a statement of annual goals and short-term learning outcomes which are responsive to the learning needs identified in the evaluation report

3.      a statement of the specially designed instruction and support services to be provided to the student

4.      projected dates for initiation and anticipated duration of gifted education

5.      appropriate objective criteria, assessment procedures and timelines for determining, on at least an annual basis, whether the goals and learning outcomes are being achieved

6.      The names and positions of GIEP team participants and the date of the meeting.




                                 Differences of the Gifted Learner and the Bright Child

Bright Child

Gifted Learner



Knows the answer

Ask the questions

Is interested

Is highly curious

Is attentive

Is mentally and physically involved

Has good ideas

Has extremely creative, original ideas

Works hard

“Plays around”, yet tests well

Answers the questions

Discusses in detail, elaborates

Top group

Beyond the group

Listens with interest

Shows strong feelings and opinions

Learns with ease

Already knows

6-8 repetitions of mastery

1-2 repetitions for mastery

Understands ideas

Constructs abstractions

Enjoys peers

Prefers adults

Grasps the meaning


Draws inferences

Completes assignments

Initiates projects

Is receptive

Is intense

Copies accurately

Creates a new design

Enjoys school

Enjoys learning

Absorbs information

Manipulates information



Good “memorizer”

Good guesser

Is pleased with own learning

Is highly self-critical






National Association for Gifted Children

American Association for Gifted Children

Suite 550

1707 L Street, NW


Washington, DC   20036

Gifted Children Monthly




SAMI – Science and Math Institutes

National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented

The University of Connecticut


362 Fairfield Road, U-7

National History Museum

Starrs, CT   06269





Bureau of Special Education


Shirley Curl, Special Education Adviser for Gifted


Pennsylvania Department of Education


333 Market Street


Harrisburg, PA  17126






C-MITES (Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary Students)


Dr. Ann Shoplik