Introducing and Integrating Gifted Education into an Existing Independent School: An Analysis of Practice
By: Stephen McKibben
Published: 05/22/2013
Uploaded: 12/12/2017
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2013 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Education, Gifted Leadership

Description/Abstract: In this analysis of practice, I conduct a combination formative and summative program evaluation of an initiative introduced to serve gifted learners at The Ocean School (TOS), an independent, Pre-K-grade 8 day school located in a rural area of the West Coast. Using the best practices as articulated by the National Association of Gifted Children Program Standards in order to evaluate the quality of the program at TOS and the four frames--structural, political, human resource, and symbolic--of Bolman and Deal (1997) in order to provide organizational perspective on the impact of the program on TOS culture and community, I strive to answer my primary research question: In what ways, if any, is the current Individualized Education Program meeting the needs of our students and should it continue as presently constituted? By using data collected from surveys and focus groups of teachers and families, I conclude that while the program met the needs of gifted students, the way in which it was presented, implemented and administered led to significant tension in the community, tension that manifested itself as distrust and suspicion and which, ultimately, demanded that the program be fundamentally re-envisioned moving forward. And while faculty and parents often differed in their knowledge, perception, and acceptance of the program, both were concerned about issues of equity, the extent to which all students had access to individuated educational opportunities. I also reflect on the lessons I learned as an educational leader and make recommendations for how I might have managed the change process more effectively, how independent school policy makers might benefit from my findings, and how the TOS Board of Trustees should proceed.