WSSD views gifted programming and services as larger than its obligations under Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania School Code. While it is true that the District must identify and provide meaningfully enriched and/or accelerated programming for exceptional learners, it also recognizes that traditional gifted programs face significant challenges. Among them are that some measures of giftedness historically used by educational institutions to determine eligibility lack validity, plain and simple. Some students who are not determined eligible for gifted services might actually benefit from them and some students who are determined eligible might not really need them. Along these lines, traditional mechanisms for determining eligibility for gifted services have long been found to perpetuate inequities seen across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic differences (Jensen, M., & Rosenfeld, L.B., 1974). Additionally, educational institutions face challenges when it comes to gifted education associated with systems of binary determination eligibility, or in other words, when students only have access to critical services due to being determined eligible and in the absence of meeting eligibility criteria, are unable to have access to much-needed services. Partly as a result of a flawed system of identification, gifted eligibility is often misunderstood, as are the traits of gifted students.
WSSD believes that gifted services are part of a broader continuum of services available to all students. It believes that students need not be determined eligible for gifted services in order to benefit from curricular enrichment. Actual gifted determination must rely on instruments that are valid and sensitive to the diverse student population that the district serves. While many students benefit from enrichment and even acceleration, gifted determination shall be made in accordance with Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania School Code - Students must meet objective ability-criteria as well as require specialized services in order to meet their full potential. With that said, the district is invested in individualizing students’ educational experiences regardless of whether they are determined to be eligible or not.