Louisiana’s gifted and talented program offers rigorous content at an accelerated pace and added educational support to help these students reach their potential. Students who meet the state criteria for the program receive differentiated instruction.
The Louisiana Department of Education‘s definition of gifted is “those who demonstrate abilities that give evidence of high performance in academic and intellectual aptitude.” It defines talent as “possession of measurable abilities that give clear evidence of unique talent in visual or performing arts or both.”
Any student in Louisiana public schools who meets the screening criteria for gifted and talented services will receive an individualized education program, a written plan based on their needs. This plan outlines academic goals and the educational services to help realize those goals.
A Look at Gifted and Talented Students in Louisiana
With an average of fewer than 5 percent of students identified as gifted and talented per school, the Times-Picayune reports that Louisiana’s gifted and talented (GT) population is small. The National Association for Gifted Children reports that Louisiana had approximately 30,000 students identified as gifted in 2013-2014. The state spent $42 million on GT education during that period. School districts get extra money from the state for services to support GT students.
Despite these efforts, only about 30 schools have a high GT population. Neville High School in Monroe’s Ouachita Parish, for example, has a GT population of almost 23 percent. Caddo Parish near Shreveport has four schools with between 20 and 32 percent GT students.
The parishes with higher GT populations include the following:
- East Baton Rouge
Teachers interested in working with GT students can check the Times-Picayune map to see which schools in each parish have higher GT populations.
How to Become a Certified Gifted and Talented Teacher
To be certified to teach talented students, the Louisiana Department of Education requires teachers to possess a master’s degree in art, music or theatre, or have substantial evidence of artistic or creative achievement over a lengthy period.
Educators interested in becoming certified to teach gifted students are required to have the following:
- Teaching certificate based on level taught.
- Master’s degree from an accredited institution.
- Three years of successfully teaching academically gifted, three hours of practicum for academically gifted or internship working with academically gifted for college credit.
- Fifteen graduate hours of master’s program coursework from this list or as an add-on to an existing master’s degree:
- Characteristics/Study of Gifted Individuals
- Methods of Teaching the Gifted
- Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted
- Creative Thinking and Problem Solving OR
- Curriculum Development for the Gifted
- Educational Technology
A state-approved and accredited graduate program may meet these requirements. For example, University of Louisiana Monroe can fulfill Louisiana’s add-on endorsement requirements for different programs including the gifted and talented program. Its gifted education-focused M.Ed. program has a course that corresponds with each of the 15 graduate hours required as well as a gifted and talented practicum.
Educators who wish to pursue an M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction — Concentration in Special Education in Gifted Education can review the list of approved Louisiana teacher preparation programs from the Louisiana Department of Education.
Learn more about ULM’s online M.Ed. C&I Special Ed in Gifted Education program.