Choosing the right school for your gifted child is an important matter. The best education for a gifted child offers stimulation, flexibility and a rich basis in learning that lets your child’s unique talents soar.
Online learning at CCA offers all that and more. Cyber school gives children the freedom to explore the subjects that seize their imagination. It allows children to learn at their own pace, regardless of arbitrary grade levels. Knowing what to consider when choosing a school for your gifted child helps make the decision easier and assures parents that they are making the right choice.
What Do Gifted Children Need From Their Education?
If you’re wondering how to choose a school for your gifted child, it’s important to know what it means to be gifted and what gifted children need from school.
Giftedness can have different definitions, but most programs follow federal guidelines dating to 1971 that say “gifted and talented” children are capable of high achievement in intellectual, creative, artistic or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields.
Most importantly, gifted children need services and activities beyond those available through typical school procedures. Gifted children might develop more quickly and be motivated only if their tasks are truly meaningful. They are highly intuitive, and they can be more introverted than their peers.
It takes a true commitment from school administrators to develop a culture that nurtures these specific needs of gifted children.
- Challenging Academics: Gifted children need stimulation to avoid boredom and discouragement.
- Openness to Acceleration: Your gifted child should be given opportunities to learn at higher levels than the grades associated with their age.
- Support for Social-Emotional Needs: Gifted children can be misdiagnosed as having ADHD or other behavioral challenges. A school committed to gifted education connects children with the supports to manage their unique social and emotional challenges.
- Personalized Learning: Gifted children crave learning material individualized to their curiosity and specific interests.
Choosing the Right School for Your Gifted Child
The right school can help your gifted child thrive. These three questions will help you find the right fit.
- Are Teachers Equipped to Provide Personalized Support? State certification is an important starting point to ensure that your child is in capable hands among teachers skilled in delivering education to rigorous standards. Beyond that, however, it’s critical that teachers have the heart and compassion for working with gifted children. It takes a teacher who’s willing to go above and beyond daily classroom requirements to motivate and inspire a gifted child. Teachers should be willing to partner with parents and students to personalize learning to the child’s strengths, passions and challenges. School administrators should provide teachers the full backing to make learning challenging and stimulating for gifted children. The child gifted in math, for instance, should get more than the lessons delivered to classmates. They need to dive into a customized learning plan through which the complexities of the subject unfold. They should also have the freedom to find answers to their unending questions, without having to wait for group lessons. Teachers, counselors and administrators should guide families through the full range of career options aligned with the child’s unique talents, preparing children for further study and success in the career that sparks their passion.
- Can Your Student Access Enrichment Opportunities? Excellence in academics should be a given, but any school devoted to cultivating the talents of gifted children should look beyond the classroom for learning opportunities. Gifted children have a curiosity that can’t be boxed up in classroom lessons. The real world offers places to explore and people to meet. Field trips should be abundant, providing opportunities to see academics come to life in parks, historical sites and museums. Clubs in an array of subjects should provide platforms for working on meaningful projects and meeting peers with shared interests. Internships and work-study programs give children the chance to explore careers and see for themselves where their academic studies are leading. All these enrichment opportunities also offer moments for practicing social interaction, allowing gifted children to develop their communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills.
- Does the School Provide a Challenging Curriculum? Even a rigorous, standards-aligned, challenging curriculum for all students can’t always keep up with gifted kids and their hunger for learning. Parents seeking the right school for their gifted child should look for the broadest range of academics possible. Are there honors and AP courses? Can your high school student earn college credit through AP and other advanced classes? Are courses offered in a rich array of subjects, well past the standard fare and diving into niche subjects sure to fascinate the curious learner? The school’s academics should be fully equipped to prepare your child for success in a 21st century economy where their unique gifts for innovation, initiative, creative thinking and entrepreneurship are highly valued.
Types of Schools for Gifted Learners
Parents of gifted children are fortunate to have choices in schools. It’s important to choose the right one because students fare better, academically and personally, in a school environment that’s positive and supportive.
Consider these choices beyond traditional public schools.
- Charter Schools: In Pennsylvania, charter schools are created and operated by groups of people with a shared philosophy of learning. Charter schools are brick-and-mortar schools that receive authority to operate — their charter — from a local school district or group of school districts.
- Cyber Charter Schools: Cyber charter schools receive their charters from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and deliver the majority of learning online. They offer education to any student in the state, and students are free to learn in the safety and security of the home. Like brick-and-mortar charter schools, cyber charter schools must offer curricula aligned with state standards, but they are free to deliver instruction through innovative means.
- Alternative Schools: Alternative schools take specialized approaches to teaching children with unique needs. For gifted students, magnet schools can offer intensified learning in the subjects and fields they’re passionate about, including STEM, leadership and the arts.
- Traditional Private Schools: These are the parochial, faith-based, Montessori or ideology-based schools found in many communities. Most are tuition-charging brick-and-mortar schools. Most private schools don’t have to adhere to state educational standards. Yet, parents searching for alternatives to traditional brick-and-mortar schooling, which can hold gifted children back through their rigidity, shouldn’t assume that a private school’s program is inherently better. Some may lack the resources or commitment to fully accommodate children with special needs, including gifted students.
How CCA Supports Gifted Students in PA
For students gifted with unique abilities, CCA can be the ideal fit. CCA learning keeps up with the scope and breadth of your child’s curiosity. Our Honors program and innovative approach to education allow gifted children to achieve their full potential.
Consider these advantages.
- Students Can Learn at Their Own Pace: CCA’s flexible online learning gives students the time and space to study according to their own timelines and learning styles. Through flexible learning, gifted children can work quickly through their lessons, absorbing new concepts without having to wait for the rest of the class. They can also launch into self-directed learning, exploring all the facets and corners of the subjects that fascinate them. CCA’s Honors program, providing academic enrichment and stimulation for gifted children, continuously challenges high-achieving students in grades 3 through 12.
- Gifted Program Available at No Cost to Families: CCA is a tuition-free public school, teaching a rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum without the constraints of traditional brick-and-mortar public schools. Unlike private schools, CCA doesn’t charge tuition. Students can get CCA’s high-quality Honors education at no cost to families, without leaving the home. Families can even save money through our AP and College in the High School courses, allowing gifted children to enter college with low-cost credits already on their transcripts.
More Flexibility for Extracurricular Activities: Extracurricular activities are often the lifeblood for gifted and talented children. Whether they are building robots, exploring medicine, pursuing competitive athletics or training in dance, theater or music, gifted children need outlets for their prodigious talents. Through extracurricular activities, gifted children build skills and resumes that open doors to intensive study and fulfilling careers after high school. Through CCA’s flexible learning, gifted children don’t have to choose academics over extracurriculars. They can craft their own weekly schedules in which academics and extracurriculars coexist in harmony.
Learn More About the Gifted and Talented Program at CCA
Cyber charter schools offer many advantages for gifted children. Students can learn at their own pace, balance academics with real-world training and competition, and take classes at home or on the road. Through CCA’s personalized learning, gifted children flourish and blossom. Parents and gifted students work with teachers and counselors to customize educational pathways that turn talents into lifetime assets. Discover why CCA cyber charter schooling is ideal for your gifted child by reaching out to Commonwealth Charter Academy today.