Gifted Program

The Gifted Program supports the educational, spiritual, and social-emotional needs of gifted students.

The program enhances academic potential and success by providing compacted, accelerated, curriculum and enrichment opportunities. The gifted teachers help each student understand and embrace their learning profile while confidently seeking and managing academic coursework. The Gifted Program allows each student the academic challenge commensurate to his/her intellectual potential.

Gifted Defined

Westminster has considered the guidelines of the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) in developing gifted services and identifying the gifted learner.

Gifted students are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in 10% or rarer) in one or more academic domains. “What is Giftedness?” (NAGC, 2015) 

The Gifted Program at Westminster focuses on exceptional ability or potential in the academic domains of humanities, mathematics, and science. Ensuring that highly able learners are recognized and subsequently served through systematic programming is of the highest priority. “National Standards in Gifted and Talented Education.” (NAGC, 2015)

Program Overview

The services for students identified as gifted begins in the 7th grade and continues through graduation.

Middle School

At this level, 7th and 8th-grade students are enrolled in compacted, accelerated, gifted history/gifted exploration courses in place of the traditional history courses. This is the time for students of high potential to explore their unique intellectual abilities from a biblical perspective, to experience opportunities that help them define interests and passions, and to explore the challenges unique to their giftedness. The teacher of this gifted class also works to assist the students in course selections, scheduling, and advocacy. Students participate in appropriate placement in the traditional curriculum for the remainder of the day.

Upper School

At this level, students have one more Gifted Exploration course before transitioning to gifted courses that focus on integrating the study of the humanities. Ninth grade student will have the option to enroll in a gifted geometry course, and 10th grade gifted students will be offered a honors literature course of Western civilization. At the end of their Westminster careers, students finish with a two-year-long capstone project in the 11th and 12th grades. With a continued emphasis on a biblical perspective, gifted students are supported with the development of a Gifted Student Profile, development of the four-year academic plan, and with assistance in course selection, acceleration, and advocacy.

Truths About Gifted Students

  • Gifted students are often perfectionistic and idealistic. They may equate achievement and grades with self-esteem and self-worth, which sometimes leads to fear of failure and interferes with achievement.

  • Gifted students may experience heightened sensitivity to their own expectations and those of others, resulting in guilt over achievements or grades perceived to be low.

  • Gifted students are asynchronous. Their chronological age, social, physical, emotional, and intellectual development may all be at different levels. For example, a 5-year-old may be able to read and comprehend a third-grade book but may not be able to write legibly.

  • Gifted students may be so far ahead of their chronological age mates that they know more than half the curriculum before the school year begins! Their boredom can result in low achievement and grades.

  • Gifted children are problem solvers. They benefit from working on open-ended, interdisciplinary problems; for example, how to solve a shortage of community resources. Gifted students often refuse to work for grades alone.

  • Gifted students who do well in school may define success as getting an “A” and failure as any grade less than an “A.” By early adolescence, they may be unwilling to try anything where they are not certain of guaranteed success.

Interested in learning more? Register here.

Join us for this special event for a comprehensive look at gifted education at Westminster. Hear from our Director of Special Services, talk with our gifted educators, and meet with admissions representatives to learn more about this specialized program.

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Questions?

Contact Director of Admissions and Enrollment Peggy Johnson at 314.997.2901, ext. 6119, with questions.