How do I know my child is gifted?
- We provide a free guide to help you to answer this question. The first step is for you, who know your child best, to use the checklist contained in the guide to help you determine whether your child is potentially gifted. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation and further information.
- What makes Steppingstone special?
- Steppingstone provides a learning community for gifted children and their parents whose core values center around respect for others, excellence, self-discipline, and motivation.
Steppingstone provides one of the few school environments in southeastern Michigan where gifted students can interact with each other, make friends, fulfill their social needs, and learn to accept differences in others.
- Why should my gifted child attend Steppingstone?
- With over twenty years experience in the field of gifted education, Steppingstone's faculty and staff understand giftedness and gifted students. As a result of this experience, the faculty and staff can better meet your child’s intellectual and emotional needs.
Gifted children's academic, social, and behavioral needs are not the same as other children's. A greater capacity for learning and reasoning brings a greater need for challenge, accomplishment, and self-understanding.
- Do you use special teaching methods?
- Because of the diverse cognitive, social, and behavioral nature of the gifted child, we use a variety of instructional and support methods. Based on the needs of each student, we apply the following instructional techniques in any number of combinations:
- flexible pacing
- advanced or complex concepts and abstractions
- How is the curriculum different from those at other schools?
- The curriculum is differentiated at the core subject level (math, spelling, and reading).
Each student is approached as a unique and individual learner. At Steppingstone, it is understood that the gifted population is an academically diverse group. Therefore, within our highly differentiated approach, teachers may use a variety of methods to present course material, which may include hands-on activities, acceleration, variety, flexible pacing, reorganization, enrichment, compacting, skipping, novelty, remediation, and the use of more advanced or complex concepts and abstractions.
- How does a Steppingstone student advance through grade levels?
- Grade advancement for the gifted child, who may be several grade levels ahead of their age peers in some of their subjects in a regular school setting, presents real academic and, oftentimes, emotional challenges for both teacher and student. This is not an issue at Steppingstone. For purposes of social and emotional development, our approach is to keep all students within their respective age-appropriate groupings for their entire tenure at Steppingstone. However, because core subjects are differentiated and students are grouped by ability, students can be advanced by subject without becoming overwhelmed and without emotional penalty.
At Steppingstone, it's ok to be smart!
- How are teachers selected?
- All staff members are qualified through professional preparation and/or experience. All classroom teachers are selected on the basis of compatible philosophies, the demonstrated ability to implement those philosophies, and sensitivity to the social-emotional needs essential for teaching gifted students. Certification is the norm but not a requirement.
- Who should I contact?
- Our admissions director is available during normal business hours to answer any questions by phone or email.
- Why should my child be tested?
- As with any form of student assessment, giftedness testing can give you an idea of how to help your child achieve his or her personal academic and intellectual best. Based on the results and interactions with the child, the person administering the test can give you suggestions on how to select a school, how to encourage progress in already-strong areas, and how to avoid exaggerating weaknesses.
- At what age should my child be tested?
- Tests are most accurate for children when they are at least four and a half years old. However, gifted children can often be tested at younger ages. A tester who has experience with younger gifted children can often provide a very accurate interpretation of test results and confirmation of giftedness.
- Is there anything I can do to prepare my child for the test?
- Psychologists who administer the test suggest that, depending on the age of the child, you simply make sure that the child has a good night's sleep and a nutritious meal beforehand. Schedule the test for a time during the day or week when the child is usually at his or her "best." For younger students, avoid anxiety by telling them they will be playing games and puzzles with a new teacher. For older children, try not to tell them too far in advance so they don't spend weeks worrying. The tests are designed to eliminate the advantage of drilling students. The results are based on cognitive and developmental skills, not knowledge.
- How do I select a professional to administer the test?
- A list of professionals is provided on this Website. One very important factor is depth of experience with your child's age group. Also, keep in mind your child's preferences – i.e. responding best to a man or woman or to a challenging or nurturing motivation.
- What kind of test will be used?
- Most testers use the Wechsler Intelligence Scales. For children age 2 years 6 months to 7 years 3 months, the test is called the Wechsler Preschool Primary Scale of Intelligence or WPPSI. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, or WISC, is used for 6 to 16 year-olds.
- How long does the test take?
- Depending on the child's age and ability to warm up to the tester, the test can take from 40 minutes to 2 hours. With the youngest children, attention spans are obviously shorter, and testers can compress the testing into a shorter period of time.
- Can I stay in the room while my child is being tested?
- That is up to the tester. Most prefer that the parent not be present because of the distractive nature of parent involvement. If the child cannot separate from the parent successfully enough to be able to concentrate on the tasks, the parent may sometimes stay in the room but be physically distanced from the student.
- What goes on during the test?
- The tester asks questions or proposes tasks in 12 "subjects" such as: mazes, comprehension, vocabulary, geometric design, etc. Students receive a score between 1 and 20 (20 is the highest, with 10 being the average). The tester scales the scores and determines an IQ score.
- How much does testing cost?
- Fees vary; but they usually range from $400.00 to $750.00, depending on the student's age and the length of time s/he needs to "comfortably" complete the tests. This fee usually includes the administration of the test, assessments of scores, conference with the parents, and any requested response to schools or teachers. Some testers will also include personal consultation time for parents looking for advice regarding choice of schools, teachers, or mentoring programs.
- What do the results mean?
- Most testers will interpret the results and convene with the parents immediately following the test. It may take a day or two before records are submitted to the school.
- How do schools use the results?
- Most psychologists and educators use 130 as the minimum IQ level to be considered "gifted." However, some gifted schools will consider prospective students who have a lower total score but have some "perfect" scores on one or more individual "subjects."