Facts and Fictions for Parents of Gifted and Talented Students

Across the United States, it’s estimated that about three 3 million K-12 students – or about 6 percent – are academically gifted and talented. Here in Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester 2 and Dorchester 4 School Districts, that translates to about 4,063 state-identified gifted students in grades 6, 7 and 8.

Parents of these gifted students understand that their children show potential for great achievements in academic or creative fields. But there are still many misconceptions about gifted students and what they need.

Here are 7 facts and fictions for parents of gifted students:

FACT: Gifted students can greatly benefit from special programs
While many parents think that gifted students will do just fine on their own – after all, they’re gifted – the reality is different. To fully blossom and meet their potential, gifted students need instruction, services and activities tailored to their unique needs.

FICTION: A gifted program isn’t available for my child
Palmetto Scholars Academy, a gifted and talented charter school located in North Charleston, is open to all gifted and talented South Carolina students in grades 6-12, regardless of their county of residence. So long as a student lives in South Carolina, he or she can take advantage of Palmetto Scholars Academy’s unique gifted and talented curriculum.

FICTION: Gifted students will need to attend more classes to reach their potential
More advanced coursework doesn’t mean more coursework. For instance, because Palmetto Scholars Academy uses the same calendar that the Charleston County School District uses, its school year is the same length as any other school in the district. Gifted students need time off just like other students.

FACT: Gifted students have needs beyond more advanced classes
School involves more than just studying a subject. It also means building interpersonal relationships with other students, figuring out personal values and just having fun. Sometimes gifted and talented students feel like their advanced studies separate them from other students. For this reason, it’s especially important that they have ways to relax and with others.

FICTION: Special accelerated programs can hurt gifted student’s social lives
Gifted and talented programs can actually provide increased options for students to meet others like themselves. This way, they can socialize around shared activities and interests without feeling like they’re different from others because of the “gifted and talented” label. Palmetto Scholars Academy offers a variety of clubs and special programs that allow the cultivation of lasting relationships and empower students to take an active role in the school. These include robotics clubs, a math team, chess club, the Student Council, a student art society and more.

FACT: Gifted students don’t have to choose between academics and sports
Sometimes the best students excel in both. At Palmetto Scholars Academy, for example, JV and varsity teams are available for students in 7th grade and above. Sports offered include co-ed cross country, co-ed track, girls tennis, girls volleyball, boys and girls basketball, and boys, girls and co-ed soccer.

FICTION: Gifted education programs are elitist
In addition to the rigorous academic challenges, the best gift and talented programs encourage students to be involved members of the community. Students at Palmetto Scholars Academy have received local and national recognition for their achievements in extracurricular activities, as well as community service.

Palmetto Scholars Academy was founded in 2010 by a group of parents and community members who recognized a need to offer an alternative for the state’s diverse population of gifted students. The school provides academic challenges in all subjects while meeting the social and emotional needs of gifted students. There is no minimum test score requirement to be enrolled at the school. Parents may fill out an online enrollment application. The deadline to apply for the coming school year is January 31, 2018. Because of the limited number of spots available at the school, students are selected by lottery. By applying, parents can be sure that their children are eligible for the student lottery.

To find out more about Palmetto Scholars Academy or to learn how your child could benefit from its unique approach to education, visit them online at PalmettoScholarsAcademy.org or call (843) 300-4118.