Part 3 in a series
If you think your school-aged child may be gifted and would benefit from accomodations made to her curriculum, the first thing you should do is request, in writing, that your child be tested. In Pennsylvania, this is called a Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE) and can be requested by parents up to once a year.
The school district is only obligated to follow your requests if they are in writing. While talking to your child’s teacher is fine, and may be interesting and helpful, official action can only be taken after you have written a letter.
On Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website, there is a sample letter on page 14 of the Parent Guide to Special Education for the Gifted. We used this letter to request that Audrey be evaluated last year. Once the school recieves your written request, the Gifted Multidisciplinary Team (GMDT) will begin evaluating your child. Tests will include an IQ test along with tests to find out where your child is in the curriculum.
The GMDT officially includes the parents of the student being evaluated. After you have submitted your letter to the principal, you will receive a questionnaire to fill out. You will be asked to describe your child’s strengths and needs as you see them. Your answers will become part of the Gifted Written Report (GWR) that will be developed after all of the assessments have been completed.
Legally, the GMDT has 45 school days to complete the evaluation and another 10 school days to write up the GWR. Then they are obligated to provide you with a copy of the GWR within 5 school days of its completion. This year, some new regulations have been introduced regarding this time frame, but for now they are still in effect.
So after 60 school days (which is about three months), the school will contact you to discuss the GWR. They will either conclude that your child is gifted and requires specially designed instruction, or they will say that they do not think your child qualifies as mentally gifted and does not need specially designed instruction.
If your child has been identified as gifted, within 30 calendar days, you will be invited to a Gifted Individualized Educational Plan (GIEP) meeting. This is a topic for another post, but to summarize, the GIEP is the plan that you and your child’s teachers will make to maximize your child’s learning.
Come back next week for “What do I need to know before my child’s GIEP meeting?”