Serving Gifted Students in an Elementary School: A Principal-Teacher Perspective

Jennifer Ferrara, Fordham University


How gifted students needs are addressed in elementary schools is different from school to school. They are a population of students who at times, are underserved and left to work independently. This is often because teachers do not have the foundational understanding of gifted pedagogy. The purpose of this study was to determine how three elementary principals supported their teachers in teaching gifted students. For this study, the researcher interviewed three elementary principals from New Jersey, and three teachers from their corresponding buildings. Data were collected through semi-structured open-ended interviews, peer reviews, and document analysis. The data analysis showed that both principals and teachers acknowledged gifted students’ needs were being addressed, but not to the extent they should be. Both principals and teachers thought the identification process was important in selecting students. Once the parameters were established for the identification, it was imperative for the validity of the selection process, to abide by them completely. Teachers acknowledged that principals stressed differentiation of instruction for gifted students, but little professional support was available. The findings from this study suggest that there should be collaboration between general education and gifted teachers to ensure methodologies and best practices are shared. Sound identification practices and criteria should be established with clear cutoffs which would help with transparency to stakeholders. Furthermore, there should be professional development for every teacher that works with gifted learners. Finally, evaluation of the program and the students should be a requirement to assess success and growth of the gifted learner.

Subject Area

Gifted Education|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Ferrara, Jennifer, "Serving Gifted Students in an Elementary School: A Principal-Teacher Perspective" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10929941.