Give to the College

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Gifted Education


Project ELEVATE is a Jacob K. Javits USDOE collaborative grant between UCF and Seminole County Public Schools. The 2.4 million grant award was approved for 5 years (2015-2020).

The UCF Project ELEVATE team, under the direction of UCF PI Dr. Gillian Eriksson includes UCF CO-PI Research Dr. Haiyan Bai; content area specialists in Language (Dr. Vicky Zygouris Coe Year 1, 2); Mathematics (Dr. Selcuk Haciomeroglu Year 1, 2); Science (Dr. Malcolm Butler Year 1); English Learners (Dr. Joyce Nutta, Year 1) and Dr. Kerry Purmensky (Year 2); and STEM through robotics (Dr. Megan Nichels Year 2), and graduate research assistant (Jennifer Sanguiliano).

To meet grant objectives, Teacher Leaders were selected from an initial 5 Title I schools in SCPS with high percentages of educationally disadvantaged and EL students where very few students were identified for gifted services. UCF Faculty presented intensive Professional Development in Year 1 and Year 2. In addition, each year, Dr. Eriksson and Ms Sanguiliano have completed 60 hours of Professional development within every school, presented to grade level teams, so that every teacher in the project schools has received training.  What is unique about this project, is that innovative technology includes a simulated Gifted classroom using TeachLivE, scripted from real case studies within SCPS, to train teachers, both the Teacher Leaders and Grade Level Teams.  These case studies stem from English Learners from 5 different countries or cultures around the world.  

This intensive training addresses stereotypes and misconceptions about the nature and identification of giftedness. This has impacted the climate of these schools and led to many more referrals for Talent Development and to students being identified and served in Gifted classrooms (an increase of 37% year 1).  SCPS Project Director, Jeanette Lukens, will continue to monitor the implementation in these schools in 2016-2017 as the Project continues with a set of 5 new Title I schools for 2017-2019. Middle schools will be served in 2019-2020.
In addition, Project ELEVATE has implemented an after-school enrichment program at each school - Project ASSIST - where UCF students are placed for service learning.  There is also an online project, Computer Pals Across the World (CPAW) linking these schools with schools in 5 other countries.  The project includes 2 week UCF ADAGE (Academic Discoveries and Adventures for Gifted Enrichment) summer program in June. 

Project ELEVATE also hosts a UCF ADAGE (Advocates for Advanced and Gifted Education) Gifted Conference, with over 30 presenters - coming up on April 22, 2017 – fully sponsored by this grant. 

PROJECT ELEVATE has received wonderful recognition with the selection of the SCPS Project Director, Jeanette Lukens, as a Leader to Learn From, with Superintendent Dr. Griffin by Education Week.  Data on the success of the project in identifying gifted students is presented here.