Frederick County Public Schools’ mission is to reach our students with exceptional teaching and caring support, challenge them to achieve their potential, and prepare them for success in a global society. The Office of Advanced Academics contributes to this mission through its commitment to rigorous, responsive programming for all students. As a part of the Accelerated Achievement and Equity team, we collaborate with curricular experts regarding the development, implementation, and enhancement of curricular and instructional experiences that support students who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment.
By nurturing potential through flexible, responsive, challenging, and creative learning experiences, Advanced Academics programming supports FCPS' goal of preparing students to be successful global citizens and innovators. While the instructional strategies associated with best practices for gifted and advanced learners generally benefit all learners, we recognize that the unique academic needs of our most advanced learners often require specialized resources and instructional techniques that challenge the highest levels of cognition. Ongoing, specialized professional learning for staff who work with highly able learners is a key component of ensuring excellent teaching and support for these learners.
Because FCPS values research, the Office of Advanced Academics engages in ongoing investigation of the best practices for highly-able and gifted learners. Recent research in the field of gifted education prompted FCPS to revise and examine its programs through the lens of the National Association for Gifted Children's (NAGC) definition of giftedness and its six Gifted Programming Standards. Highlights of NAGC's work to redefine giftedness include the following:
- The development of ability or talent is a lifelong process. It can be evident in children as exceptional performance measures of ability, actual achievement in a subject area, or a rapid rate of learning compared to peers.
- Achievement and high levels of motivation in a subject areas become the primary characteristics of giftedness as individuals mature from childhood to adolescence.
- High potential students require differentiated educational experiences that consist of adjustment in the depth, complexity, and pacing of curriculum to match their current levels of achievement and learning rates.
- Some gifted individuals with exceptional aptitude may not demonstrate outstanding levels of achievement due to environmental circumstances, such as limited opportunities to learn as a result of poverty, discrimination, or cultural barriers; due to physical or learning disabilities; or due to motivational or emotional problems.
FCPS recognizes that because "giftedness" is not a static trait, labeling a student "gifted" or "not gifted" can be problematic and inaccurate; therefore, FCPS staff endeavor to match the needs of each individual child with the programmatic components that best fit his or her unique learning needs.