Major: Elementary and Early Childhood Education
Left Behind: The Status of the Elementary Gifted Learner in America's Schools
In our modern American society, most people have heard the term "gifted" and many think it only refers to academically advanced students. However, few people truly understand that the term encompasses more than just intelligence. Gifted learners also need structure and support throughout their educational career. My investigation sheds light on the blurry portrait of gifted programs, the lack of attention to elementary gifted learners and the fact that those students are being "left behind" in schools across the country.
Mrs. Patricia Martin, visiting assistant professor of education
Professor Martin provided an excellent foundation for my research investigation. By working with her on this project, she also helped me understand that learners at all levels in their academic careers (especially college) need support to grow and thrive.
The research process was extensive since I decided to analyze the history and current status of gifted programs in the United States. With the help of Professor Martin, I distributed surveys to 15 area school districts to capture demographic information of gifted learners in elementary school programs. The research spanned two semesters and was challenging to coordinate due to my student teaching commitments, but Professor Martin definitely was a wonderful resource and an incredible asset when it came to contacting local school districts.
The biggest eye-opener I discovered through my research was how much is still left to be accomplished with elementary gifted programs. While reports and investigations published in the past 10 years have advocated the need for reform, it is apparent that more needs to be done socially, economically and even politically to serve America's future leaders.
After graduation, I plan to teach second grade at Cumberland Valley School District in Mechanicsburg, Pa.