Conference Focuses on GT/LD Student Needs

April 4, 2003
Gifted/learning disabled (GT/LD) students possess an outstanding gift or talent, but also have a learning disability that makes some aspect of academic achievement difficult. The "twice exceptional" student was the focus of a recent conference "Diamonds in the Rough: Practical Strategies for Uncovering the Brilliance of Gifted Underachieving Students."

More than 400 students, parents, and staff gathered on March 21 and 22 to hear expert speakers and participate in more than 50 workshops, panels, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. The conference was cosponsored by AEGUS (Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students), Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and Montgomery College. Rich Weinfeld, MCPS instructional specialist for GT/LD programs, volunteers from the non-profit GT/LD Network, and personnel from MCPS and Montgomery College planned and presented the national conference.

MCPS' comprehensive program for this specific population of students is the result of a collaborative effort of the Department of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction and the Division of Special Education and is unique in the country. GT/LD students are guaranteed access to accelerated and enriched instruction that maintains the rigor and high standards expected of all gifted students.

A majority of GT/LD students in MCPS receive appropriate programming in their home schools. Training and consultation from the GT/LD instructional specialist can support schools' efforts to identify these students and provide them with the skills and strategies they need to access rigorous instruction.

One measure of the success of these students is the results of last year's Advanced Placement (AP) tests. Nearly 2 percent of the AP tests that were taken by MCPS students were taken by students with disabilities. Their scores were commensurate with the success achieved by nondisabled students.

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