Roundtable Discussion Notes

Chapter 16 Roundtable Discussion Notes

Pittsburgh, PA

October 3, 2018

30+ people in attendance (27 speakers, 16 observers, 6 State Committee Members)

6 State Reps – James Agras (State Board of Higher Ed), Kirk Hallett (Harrisburg non-profit for at-risk students), Maureen Lally-Green (Committee Chair), Carol Aichele (member, PA State Board of Ed, from Chester County, Secretary of State under Corbett), Karen Molchanow (State Board of Education), Karen Farmer White (Chair of State Board of Ed)

  • The roundtable happens every 4 years, to review regulations.
  • The goal is how the Commonwealth will maintain the obligations of gifted students, already identified and not yet identified.
  • They are reviewing evaluation, elements of a GIEP, criteria for educational placement, due process procedures.
  • State board is not proposing any changes at this point. Only fact-finding how our regulations impact gifted in the state; their opinion will be formed by those who are responsible for delivering services.
  • This is the 1st of 3 roundtables.
  • Each roundtable site quickly met capacity.
  • Will accept letters with comments. They will provide what happened to PDE.
  • They will provide feedback and answer questions if they can


Below is a brief list of topics covered at the 10/3/18 Meeting.


  • There is no follow thru from the state after a monitoring. How does the state plan to follow up to progress monitoring?
  • Caseload is too high for gifted teachers and they can’t deliver quality for their students.
  • Professional Development needs to be required within the first 5 years for new teachers or teachers new to Gifted.
  • Teachers and Admins are not trained to work with our gifted students. When administrators don’t know requirements, they cannot enforce it.
  • Identification needs to be unified across the commonwealth.
  • Every district should have a policy on acceleration, including a policy on the early entrance to kindergarten.
  • Needs to be consistent testing and interpretation across the state.
  • Universal Screening needs to happen statewide.
  • There is no oversight from the state. If a school doesn’t do what they are supposed to, what are the repercussions?
  • GIEPs don’t address the social/emotional needs of gifted learners. GIEP’s are strength based, so it doesn’t help kids with social issues.
  • Lack of funding causes Gifted Education to be the lowest priority for the school districts.
  • Push-in vs. Pull-out Method, which is the best and what does the state recommend?
  • Teachers with no gifted experience are being put into gifted positions and not given any instruction.
  • Request to use the same language in Chapter 16 that NAGC uses.
  • Questions about the Identification Process.
  • The matrix is made by each district, so if a district doesn’t want more gifted children, they can make their matrix more difficult. This needs to be the same across the state in all districts.
  • Monitoring needs to be more serious with action steps required and follow up on those action steps.
  • Caseload Managers should be in place for districts that have many identified students.

10 responses to “Roundtable Discussion Notes”

  1. The current Chapter 16 is no way addresses Gifted students who transfer from a different state. There should be a state-wide policy to address students who transfer from a different state.

    • We agree. These were points brought up by the different stakeholders who attended the roundtable discussion, not specifically by PAGE. We urge you to please send in a letter stating that this issue needs to be addressed.

  2. Thank you for sharing these notes. I’m glad to read that many important issues are coming to the attention of PDE. Many of the most important issues to me as a gifted teacher for many years, are; the social/emotional needs being addressed, the standardization statewide (for identification-including matrices, teacher training and case load numbers), and the prioritization of funding for Chapter 16.

  3. I have sent an email expressing our disappointment with the state of Gifted Education in PA. The Districts are doing almost nothing to address the unique learning and academic needs of the Gifted children nor do they provide the social and emotional support many need. Many of these children struggle, and will continue to struggle, without changes being made. It’s a shame that so little value is placed on the children who have the intellectual capacity to make such a great difference in the world.

  4. I will be attending tomorrow in Norristown. I am registered so I believe I am given time to speak. I am very interested in eligible students that are 2E or have other disabilities. I will be asking about gifted seminars, pull out/push in and high placement (pre cursor for advanced placement) courses. My child was identified gifted or in need of specialized gifted instruction in 1st grade. He is challenging as he has other dx. I feel his push in (dare I say differentiated) instruction was lacking. The literacy course marked as Gifted Seminar also does not particularly align with his needs as a Gifted learner. I feel he is behind in his advanced class (Algebra I HP) due to insufficient use of “differentiated” push in classwork.

  5. Caseload limits of 65 in no way limit number of schools or grade levels served by a single individual. I have fewer than 65 students, but those students are spread out across all grade levels and buildings within a district.

    • We don’t recommend a caseload of 65, a person that testified used that as an example that they have a caseload of 65 and it’s too much. Sorry for any confusion. 🙂

  6. Appreciated reading the topics covered in the round table and the responses from the members. Like the transparency.
    Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) has experience with supporting teachers with GT issues, 2E and social/emotional issues for these highly bright students. How can we be of help to association members?

  7. I’m a parent and I have some suggestions:
    1. Get schools (and PDE) familiar with online courses. Ideally, schools will allow students to self-pace their progress and accelerate.
    2. Increase the variety of locations where CTY programs are offered. It is very difficult for children from western PA attend CTY programs which are mainly in NYC and Baltimore areas.
    3. Help “spread the word” regarding twice
    exceptional identification and support.

    Thank you!

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