Groveport Madison’s gifted education program on the rise


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Groveport Madison Schools officials say emphasis on the district’s gifted education program will produce positive results.

According to the district’s Supervisor of Gifted Education Kelley Rains, the average academic growth for students in the program from this fall to this winter shows the kids are “doing two to three times what was expected of them in a short time.”

The district added a gifted program at the elementary level this year to go along with existing programs at the middle school and high school.

Rains said gifted students need challenges a regular classroom does not provide.

“Every child has the right, and deserves, to learn something new every day,” said Rains. “These are kids who weren’t always receiving this opportunity.”

Who is a gifted student

According to Rains, a gifted student is one who scores in the 95th percentile or above on an approved nationally normed assessment for ability in math, reading, social studies or science. They also score 128 or above on the district’s intelligence test (a score of 100 is considered average). She said gifted students have the potential for achieving or performing at high levels of accomplishment when compared to other students. Gifted students can also be identified by their abilities in overall creativity, music, art, dance, and drama.

About the gifted program

Groveport Madison offers gifted student programs at the following grades: K-2 – none at this time; third and fourth grades – math; fifth grade – math and reading; sixth, seventh and eighth grades – math, reading and science; and grades 9-12 – Advanced Placement courses and College Credit Plus.

The elementary school program is offered at three sites: Asbury Elementary for Asbury and Madison Elementary students; Groveport Elementary for Groveport and Glendening Elementary students; and Sedalia Elementary for Sedalia and Dunloe Elementary students. The middle school program is offered at Middle School North for all three district middle schools.

According to Rains, the program groups students with similar abilities together and provides resources and instruction to meet their needs.

“The students push each other and take ownership of their learning,” said Rains. “They discuss issues and explore big ideas.”

She said the program challenges the students to leave their comfort zone, develop different ways of thinking and responding,  learn that their work must connect to something, and promotes perseverance.

The students are not isolated all day from other students as they participate in mainstream classes when not in their gifted class, according to Rains.

Rains said what sets Groveport Madison’s gifted program apart from other districts is, “The high level of support we receive from the district administration and school board. Because of this support we’re able to have an open dialogue about where to go next and setting goals. We’re gaining momentum with the program.”

Rains said many districts do not have a licensed gifted program coordinator and gifted intervention specialists who work as instructors like Groveport Madison does.

“This difference sets us apart because our services include gifted intervention specialists as instructors rather than general teachers like other districts,” said Rains. “Here the GIS is their teacher. That is huge.”

Numbers and community connection

While officials have identified the number of gifted students in the district, some families choose to opt out of the program.

Currently the number of students identified as gifted in the district and the number who participate in the program are: 88 students in K-2 (no services offered for them yet); 72 third graders with 52 participating; 132 fourth and fifth graders with 73 participating; 138 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders with 52 participating; and 190 high schoolers with 39 participating.

“Too many families opt out,” said Rains. “We need to make parents more comfortable with the program.”

Rains said students opt out for various reasons, including having difficulty switching from a school close to home to one of the dedicated gifted school sites and because they do not want to be considered different from their peers, which can cause anxiety.

“We also need to recruit more high school students and pursue more staffing and support,” said Rains.

However, she said students currently in the program are flourishing. Examples of work the students have done include:

•Middle school science students using raw liver and hydrogen peroxide to investigate how a catalyst affects a chemical reaction and how to increase the rate of reaction.

•Middle School Socratic Seminars where students respond critically to and discuss big ideas.

•Elementary math student built prisms that lead to surface area and volume of three dimensional figures, a concept normally reserved for older students.

“These are students who can be community leaders in the future,” said Rains. “‘We want them to learn at an early age to make contributions that benefit the community. They need to know they have a voice and they can use it. They learn they can make change happen.”

Visit for more information on the gifted education program.

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  1. It’s a shame that the children that were in this program last year would have been forced to attend Middle School North this year. Many of them, even though they loved it, pulled out of the program. For this program to be a true success it needs to be offered at all the middle schools again, not just at North where the administration wanted it moved to bring up that schools academic numbers. Just imagine how much bigger of a success it could have been if all the students that didn’t want to be uprooted and sent to a different school were still in the program. I would be interested to hear how many children dropped out of the program for that reason. If this was actually for the betterment of the children in the district, it would be offered everywhere so it could reach as many students as possible. Not just the ones that didn’t mind be forced to attend a different school.

    • The scores go back to their home school. Please contact the administrators if you would like verification and proof of this.


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