Classifying your talented child

Even the most well-intentioned parents can have a hard time understanding how school systems work. To help, we are answering some often-asked questions. This is our second installment. For information about the previous topic and to suggest a topic for us to write about in the future, go to our new Web site,

Question: What is the ­primary talent pool?

Answer: It's a group of students who show the potential to perform at exceptionally high levels. They receive extra enrichment to help them achieve their potential.

These students generally represent about 25 percent of the total talent pool. Once children are in the primary talent pool, they should not be removed. School districts are not required to let parents know their child is in the primary talent pool.

Q: When are students ­officially designated ”gifted“?

A: That designation comes in the fourth grade. Individual districts determine how ”gifted“ students are identified and what criteria they should meet.

Q: Can parents ask the child to be considered? Can a parent ask that a child be tested?

A: Yes, parents can talk to the teacher about the child being considered. They can't force a teacher to test a child, however.

Q: What is a GSSP?

A: A gifted and talented student services plan (GSSP) is an educational plan that matches a formally identified gifted student's (grades 4-12) interests, needs, and abilities to differentiated service options and serves as the communication vehicle between the parents and school personnel.

Q: Is a GSSP required for every gifted/talented student?

A: Every formally identified student in grades 4-12 must have an annual GSSP. This piece of the regulation was effective beginning with the 2001-2002 school year.

Q: Do parents play a role in the development of the GSSP?

A: A local school district implements a procedure to obtain information related to the interest, needs, and abilities of an identified student from his parent or guardian for use in determining appropriate services. A parent or guardian of an identified student is notified annually of services included in the child's gifted student services plan.

Service options

Q: What are gifted and talented education services?

A: Gifted and talented education services are a delivery of service options for qualifying P-12 students. ”Gifted and talented student,“ a category of exceptional students included within the definition of ”exceptional children,“ KRS 157.200 (1)(n), means a student identified as possessing potential or demonstrated ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in general intellectual aptitude, specific academic aptitude, creative or divergent thinking, leadership skills, and/or in the visual or performing arts.

State contact: Leah Ellis, or (502) 564.2106, Ext. 4162.

Berea Independent: Donna Lovell, or (859) 986-8446, Ext. 327.

Bourbon County: Sharon Rankin, or (859) 987-2180.

Clark County: Patricia Rosenthal, or 859-744-4545. Ext. 222.

Fayette County: Carol Hiler, or (859) 381-4184.

Jessamine County: ­Owens Saylor, or (859) 885-4179.

Madison County: Vickie Moberly, or (859) 625-6090.

Paris Independent: Jeff Isaacs, or (859) 987-2160.

Scott County: Kenneth Wright, or (502) 570-3036.

Woodford County: Candace James, or (859) 873-4701.

To learn more

The Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership offers free seminars for parents who want to better understand how Kentucky schools work. The selected participants meet for six days over three weekends. Housing and food are provided. There are two seminars planned for 2008. One, open to parents from around the state, is focused on science, technology, engineering and math and will meet in Bowling Green in August, September and October.

The second, open to parents from Boone, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton and Pemberton Counties, will meet in September, October and November.

You can fill out an application online at or call (859)233-9849 or 1-800-928-2111.