Identification & Assessment: Reflection 2
Fulton County's approach to Georgia Board of Education Rule 160-4-2.38, while comprehensive, is certainly imperfect. Overall, Fulton County follows the guidelines set for identification of gifted students. This is absolutely the strength of our county. FCS complies with the complex and variable ways to identify students for both referral for testing and gifted services, but they also go beyond this to actively try and identify as many students as possible. This is an admirable approach to gifted education, and speaks to FCS's dedication to serving all students and particularly identifying underrepresented populations for gifted services. However, despite these efforts, the results to lead to gifted programs that do not reflects the overall population of our students. I think that some of FCS's weaknesses in regards to Rule 160-4-2.38 have to do with communication with the larger county community. Although FCS is compliant with all the elements of this rule, not all of the required elements are advertised. For example, under element (g) 1., the Rule states that the county will "make available to the public and the GaDOE a description of the differentiated curricula used for instruction of gifted students." After a year of training in the field of gifted education, I know this to be true for FCS, but I know that the average student, parent, and gen-ed teacher are not aware of this description of services or would know where to find it. The Rule also requires that the gifted program be re-evaluated every three years based on data collections. Although I am sure this happens at a county level, it ought to be encouraged at individual schools as well. FCS has a clear dedication to gifted education, but that does not necessarily translate to all schools. While most parents and students praise great experiences with the TAG program, my own experiences over this past year reveal that not every school's practice reflects the county's ideology.