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Gifted and Talented

Diane Knott, GT Coordinator
SAIL Program
106 Weeks Road, Gorham, ME 04038

Phone: (207) 222-1376

The Gorham School Department offers a continuum of Gifted and Talented Programming options through SAIL (Students Advancement In Learning).  This programming is designed to respond to the needs of students who excel beyond their age and/or grade level peers, as required by Chapter 104 and is monitored through district assessment data.  Guided by Renzulli's Schoolwide Enrichment Model (University of Connecticut) and operating within a consultancy model,  SAIL's enrichment options are implemented at different levels in order to create appropriate opportunities for students to explore, refine, and extend their talents.    

Program Philosophy
The Gorham School Department's Programming for Gifted Learners is founded upon developmentally appropriate structures which enable specialized instruction for students K-12 identified as gifted.  The programming provides gifted learners a school environment that addresses their unique learning needs.  Learning opportunities for these students are in lieu of regular classroom instruction and these assignments or explorations are extensions of, or are different from, mainstream classroom instruction.  Specialized instruction is grounded in the concept of depth versus breadth, where students are striving to reach deeper understandings of topics.  Studies in this programming reasonably extend beyond the walls of the classroom.  This programming acknowledges the value of having gifted students spend time together for some portion of their schooling to fully enhance their social, emotional and intellectual growth.

Definition of Giftedness
The Gorham School Department defines ìgiftedî as those children, K-12, who excel beyond their age and/or grade level peers in the regular program to the extent that they need and can benefit from specialized instruction.  GT students have exceptional ability, aptitude, skill, or creativity in one or more of the following categories:  general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, and artistic ability.
Adapted, State of Maine Definition (Chapter 104)

Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Learners
Is My Bright Child a Gifted Learner?

Talent is something rare and beautiful and precious, and it must not be allowed to go to waste.     
        George Selden, said by Tucker Mouse in The Cricket in Times Square

Both parents and educators know that all children have special talents, but it can be difficult to determine whether a child is a bright, hardworking student who is being challenged effectively within his/her learning environment or a gifted child who would benefit from something beyond the level of their learning environment.  The following table of characteristics is helpful in distinguishing between bright learners and gifted learners.  It is important to remember that no child will demonstrate all of the traits listed below nor will they demonstrate them all of the time.  

This table is meant to give you an idea of what these two types of learners are like. (

Bright Learners
Gifted Learners
Knows the answers
Is interested
Is attentive
Has good ideas
Works hard
Answers the questions
Top group
Listens with interest
Learns with ease
6-8 repetitions
Understands ideas
Enjoys peers
Grasps the meaning
Completes assignments
Is receptive
Copies accurately
Enjoys school
Absorbs information
Good memorizer
Enjoys straightforward, sequential presentation
Is alert
Is pleased with own learning
  Asks the questions
Is highly curious
Is mentally and physically involved
Has wild, silly ideas
Plays around, yet tests well
Discusses in detail, elaborates
Beyond the group
Shows strong feelings and opinions
Already knows
1-2 repetitions for mastery
Constructs abstractions
Prefers adults
Draws inferences
Initiates projects
Is intense
Creates a new design
Enjoys learning
Manipulates information
Good guesser
Thrives on complexity
Is keenly observant
Is highly self-critical      

by Janice Szabos, Gifted Child Quarterly

Identification Process
School-based committees meet yearly to review criteria for SAIL program identification.  As recommended by Gorham's Advisory Committee (June 2006) and required by Chapter 104, the following components are included in Gorham's identification process.   
  • Nominations are made by parents, self/students, or teachers
  • Multiple forms of assessment are used, providing objective data.
  • Checklists of typical characteristics, behaviors, and traits are included.
  • Assessments are used to screen yearly in each content area and to develop learning profiles.

Referral Forms
Teacher Referral Form
Student/Self Referral Form

SAIL Program Levels

Level III (Data based, pop. 3-5%)
G/T Plan (in class), Excursions (optional pull out)
Level II (Choice based, pop. 20-30%)
Clubs, Refinement options
Level I (Curriculum based, pop. 100%)
Differentiation of curriculum (content, process, product)

SAIL Enrichment Model

Additional Internet Resources:
Maine Educators of the Gifted and Talented, to see Chapter 104:
National Association for Gifted Children:
Renzulli's Schoolwide Enrichment Model:
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted:
Gorham Arts Alliance:

Last Modified: Aug 21, 2014
The Gorham schools are committed to the belief that all of our students will find success in school