Guidance for Parents Supporting a Gifted Child in the Foreign Service
Although gifted children do not qualify for the special needs allowance, under the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR), the families of most US Government civilian employees overseas who have gifted children who are not sufficiently challenged in their overseas school may avail themselves of up to $4,100 per school year to supplement the education in academic areas (mathematics, science, languages, and social studies). Information about obtaining such allowances can be accessed through the embassies and consulates. Information is also available in the DSSR 276.9 (e) .
To receive the supplemental allowance, the parent must present to the post Management Officer one of the following:
- A letter from the child's previous school that the child qualified for and participated in a Gifted and Talented (GT) program.
- A letter from the child's current school which endorses that the child's performance qualifies for a GT program which the school cannot provide.
- The results of a standardized GT test(s) which shows the child eligible to participate in a GT program. On request of the family, the Office of Overseas Schools will facilitate the administration at post of an instrument to evaluate the child's academic level.
Some rules of thumb for using the allowances:
- It is important that parents and schools work together to choose appropriate academic options and to support one another.
- Funds may not be used for activities not ordinarily funded by stateside schools (e.g., advanced summer programs) or for informational materials directed at parents rather than students.
- It is important to note that before making expenditures for any specific adaptations, the Post Management Officer must be contacted in order to review the specific program in relation to the regulations related to the GT Supplementary Education Allowance.
The supplementary allowance can be used to pay for several activities as outlined below:
- Enrollment in classes at a local college (or high school, if the student is in a K-8 school) for advanced instruction in classes the student has "outgrown" at his or her own school.
- Purchase of books, online textbooks, and materials to support or supplement a coherent, above-grade course of academic study designed by the school or by the student.
- Enrollment in online instruction and tutoring at grade levels K-12. Among useful sources are courses provided by:
- Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth.
- Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development.
- Stanford University's Educational Program for Gifted Youth.
- Advanced Placement (AP) classes offered by Apex Learning.
- The Calvert School offers enrichment coursework which could be incorporated into an independent study period.
- Purchase of advanced academic curriculum units. For example, rigorous language arts units for grades 1-12 are available such as:
- Computer software for problem solving in history and social studies: http://score.rims.k12.ca.us.
- Middle-School math packages, Descartes'Cove from http://cty.jhu.edu/descartes/.
- Course packages from the Talent Identification Program at Duke University, programmed texts such as those in high-school math by Keedy and Bittinger, or other sources.
- Enrichment in math www.nctm.org (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) or www.challengemath.com, a series of intriguing books designed to enhance a love of math).
- College of William and Mary provides curriculum units available through Kendall Hunt Publishers in ELA, Social Studies and Science.
Talent Search Organizations
Numerous resources are offered by the organizations that sponsor talent searches, typically for children from fifth to eighth grades. These include:
- William and Mary Center for Gifted Education College of William & Mary, School of Education, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187
- National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, 2131 Hillside Road, Unit 3007, Storrs, CT 06269
- National Association for Gifted Children 1331 H Street NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005
- Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, McAuley Hall, 5801 Smith Avenue, Ste. 400., Baltimore, MD 21209.
- Duke University's Talent Identification Program (TIP), 1121 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27701, publishes a national Educational Opportunities Guide of summer and year-round programs.
- Many other opportunities are available through the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University.
A number of internet informational resources are available.
- www.ditd.org (Davidson Institute on Talent Development ). This organization offers considerable help for families of profoundly gifted children but provides many internet resources for all families of gifted, including a huge number of complete articles.
- www.hoagiesgifted.org (well reviewed resources)
- www.gifted-children.com (supported by Gifted Child Monthly)
- www.depts.washington.edu/cscy (Halbert and Nancy Robinson Center for Young Scholars)
- www.mentoring.org (National Mentoring Partnership)