Welcome to the homepage of the
GCT Minds
Serving Mahtomedi’s Advanced Learners

Our Vision:

LEARNING WITHOUT LIMITS Mahtomedi school district puts forth the vision that students should progress through their learning without limits. This is a bold vision and one that we are in the process of achieving. We are currently looking at barriers that get in the way of students moving forward and working to eliminate those barriers.

Our Beliefs about Gifted and Talented Students Mahtomedi Public Schools recognize that some students have outstanding abilities that differ from others of their age, experience, or environment. Mahtomedi seeks to identify these gifted, creative and talented students in order to provide services to meet their unique needs.

What is GCT MINDS? Gifted, Creative and Talented MINDS is an acronym that stands for Matching Identified Needs with District Services
. This describes the way we strive to serve our gifted, creative and talented students.  Mahtomedi School District uses the LoS (Levels of Service) model in designing services provided.
Definition of Levels of Service Model
Level I: Services for All Students
Opportunities that provide foundational skills and tools that help all students to discover and build their personal strengths and talents.
Teachers in a school noticed that most of the questions they asked their students called for basic recall. They decided to teach higher level thinking skills and deliberately modified their questioning technique by developing questions that required students to think creatively and critically.

Level II: Services for Many Students
Opportunities that invite students to engage in activities through which they can investigate their interests and verify areas in which they may demonstrate strengths and talent potentials.

Level III: Services for Some Students
Opportunities that involve alternative learning activities for students to engage in rigorous and complex learning based on their demonstrated performance and documented needs in areas of strength and sustained interest.
Students with strengths and talents in math may be placed in advanced math classes, Honors classes, or AP math courses (based on mathematical aptitude, skills, and interests). Their math opportunities may involve acceleration as well as opportunities for enrichment (e.g., special projects for individuals or small groups).

Level IV: Services for a Few Students
Advanced opportunities that respond to the unique needs of individual students who have demonstrated outstanding ability, expertise, motivation and passion to learn in a talent domain or academic area.

Identifying Students for Gifted, Creative and Talented Minds

How does Mahtomedi identify advanced learners for Levels of Service? Students are identified if they need to receive advanced math or language arts instruction.

In the Elementary Schools:
Mahtomedi uses multiple age-appropriate measures to determine placement in math and reading classes. Students that meet criteria will join a class that has been subject-accelerated. For example, in math, some of our students may be in third grade but studying fourth grade math standards with a third grade teacher. Other students better fit the criteria to study in a faster-paced, compacted class that focuses on the grade level standards that match their grade. A very few students will need to go to another grade level to receive instruction.

Placements are reviewed quarterly to make sure that students are still in a class that best meets their needs.

In the Middle School:
Multiple measures are used in the middle school to identify students for Honors English or advanced math placement. As in elementary, some students will need to go to another grade level to receive their instruction. There is also regular reviews to make sure that students are placed in courses that best meet their needs.

In High School:
Students can self-select classes that will meet their goals. To enroll in advanced options like AP, CIS or PSEO courses, students must satisfy all of the pre-requisites courses and any other requirements expected by the instructor or the college.

Further Understandings

What is differentiation? Differentiation is a set of teaching strategies that help teachers respond to the learning differences in their students. Differentiation is being aware of how we teach and being knowledgeable about how our students learn so that students can reach their learning goals. In the elementary schools, one way differentiation looks is through the use of flexible grouping in reading and math. A student’s skill level is frequently assessed and then instruction is designed to best match that skill level. The middle school matches instruction to students through the use of honors English and Math courses while the high school offers many choices of Advanced Placement (AP) courses and College in the Schools (CIS) courses. This is one form of differentiation.

What opportunities are there for enrichment? Another effective way to help meet the needs of gifted, creative and talented students is through enrichment. Each school offers unique opportunities for students to extend their learning. From chess clubs to LEGO Leagues to Science Bowl and MathCounts, opportunities are plentiful. Another amazing resource for opportunities is Mahtomedi Community Education. Check out their catalog of intriguing options.

What is acceleration and how does it help gifted and talented students? There are many forms of acceleration but the basic premise is moving highly qualified students ahead of their traditional grade in either one or more school subjects, or, on much rarer occasions, a whole grade. Students need to meet criteria for acceleration.

More Information

How do I get more information? Contact Jen Israel, Coordinator of Gifted Creative and Talented Services and Programs at 651-407-2319 or jennifer.israel@isd832.net


Contact: Jen Israel