All students in kindergarten, first, second, third and fourth grades receive gifted education services through SEARCH. SEARCH teachers plan and present lessons focusing on five thinking skills– perceiving, creating, reasoning, connecting, and evaluating. The lessons are designed to foster excitement for learning and discovery by stimulating critical and creative thinking through problem solving and open-ended situations. Classroom teachers participate in these lessons, making observations about students who respond at a high level.
During a student’s third and fourth grade years, Loudoun County uses a multi-faceted approach to identify students for gifted services in the upper grades. One factor is scores on standardized tests (Cogat and NNAT tests) of 97% and above. Teachers are asked to complete a survey on selected students. Documentation is provided by attaching outstanding work samples to the teacher evaluation. Parents are given the opportunity to present their view of the child’s strengths and accomplishments through a parent survey and additions of their own choosing for the student portfolio. A student portfolio is compiled as part of class lessons during the third and fourth grade years, or in response to a referral. Other portfolio items may be submitted by the student, or teacher. Completed portfolios of referred students are evaluated by a committee and final decisions about the need for gifted services are made by the Gifted office.
SEARCH lessons fulfill the goals of the LCPS Gifted Education Department which are:
1.To become divergent creative thinkers who recognize problems and solve them.
2.To construct personal meaning and understanding of others and of the world around them.