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What is a GIEP?

Judith Cunningham
Gifted Education, Allegheny Intermediate Unit

Reprinted from C-MITES News, Spring 2002

A "gifted student" is defined as being an exceptional student under Section 1371 of the Pennsylvania School Code. These students require specially designed instruction beyond that required by Chapter 4. Chapter 16: Special Education for Gifted Students was published on December 9, 2000. The Gifted Individualized Education Program (GIEP) is the framework of a student's program and should consist of information that is useful in providing appropriate programming and support services. The following information will help you to understand the GIEP process.

What is a GIEP?

The Gifted Individualized Education Program (GIEP) is a yearly summary document that includes all curricular areas in which a gifted child is to receive education that is adapted and modified to meet his/her individual needs. Acceleration or enrichment, or both, are appropriate options. The options provided to gifted students must enable them to learn at different rates, to learn difficult material earlier, and to think at a level different from their classmates.

How are GIEP meetings set up?

A GIEP meeting must be held at least annually. A GIEP meeting must also be held at a parent's or teacher's request to develop, review, or revise a student's individualized education program.

The school district must take steps to ensure that one or both parents has the opportunity to attend the GIEP meeting. An invitation to the GIEP meeting must be provided to the parents at least 10 days in advance of the meeting. The meeting should be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time and place.

The school district should ensure that the following people are included in the meeting: one or both of the student's parents, the student (if the parents choose), a school district representative who is knowledgeable about district resources and is authorized to commit the resources, one or more of the student's teachers and other individuals at the discretion of either the parents or the district.

How can parents contribute to the GIEP process?

The parents of a gifted student are expected to be equal participants with school personnel, in developing, reviewing, and revising the student's GIEP. They can contribute to the GIEP process by providing the following information: child's academic strengths, child's talents and creative abilities, evidence of leadership, educational activities child pursues outside of school, expertise that child demonstrates, interests of the child, special experiences and honors and number of repetitions necessary to learn new skills.

What should be written in the GIEP?

  • Present Levels of Educational Performance establish the extent of gifted potential, academic functioning levels, the child's rates of acquisition/retention, and performance levels. Information would include the child's intellectual/academic assessments, aptitudes and abilities, strengths, interests, and needs.
  • Annual Goals are to be developed from the present educational performance and be reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress within one year's time. Example: To develop independent research skills.
  • Short-term Learning Outcomes are actions and activities that help the child reach the annual goals, evaluation criteria to determine when the child has achieved those goals, and the timelines. They should include what the student will produce, how he/she will apply the skills, or what real outcome will be achieved as a result of engaging in a study, activity, or subject.
  • Specially Designed Instruction are the adaptations or modifications to the general curriculum, instruction, instructional environments, methods, materials, or a specialized curriculum. Specially designed instruction consists of planning and implementing varied approaches to content, process and product modification in response to the student's interests, ability levels, readiness, and learning needs.
  • Support Services could include, but are not limited to the following: career guidance, counseling, affective education, transportation, technology education, and flexible grouping.
  • Dates indicate when the services will begin and the anticipated duration, based on one year, of the services.

When considering placements, should the child fit the program placement or the program fit the child?

The program placement should be determined based on the child's needs as described in the GEIP. The intent of the law is that the program be based on the unique needs of the child, rather than the programs available in the school district.

Are signatures required on the GIEP?

The regulations do not require a signature on the GIEP, only the names and positions of the GIEP participants. The NORA (Notice of Recommended Assignment) indicates if parents agree or disagree with the child's program. If the parent believes the GIEP does not meet the needs of the child, then, within 5 days of the GIEP meeting, the parent must sign the NORA as "I do not approve this recommendation" and then state the reason for disapproval.

What are the timelines?

  • The GIEP shall be developed within 30 calendar days of the Gifted Written Report (GWR).
  • The GIEP must be implemented no more than 10 school days after it is signed or, if a new GIEP, at the start of the following school year if completed less than 30 school days before the last day of scheduled classes.
  • Parents have 10 calendar days to respond to a NORA sent by mail or 5 calendar days to a NORA presented in person at the GIEP conference.
  • If parents receive the notice in person and approve within 5 calendar days, the district may not implement the GIEP for at least 5 calendar days.
  • GIEP meetings are at least yearly and more frequent if needed. Any GIEP team member can reconvene a meeting at any time.

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