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Curriculum for Gifted and Talented

Curriculum for Gifted and Talented

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - March 8th, 2017

What is the Curriculum for Gifted and Talented Programs

We recently hosted a live event in New York City and I opened up the room for questions. The parents asked some great questions both about gifted and talented programs and whether it’s really worth it to go into a gifted and talented program.  They asked questions about testing and how to prepare their child, and they asked questions about just improving their kids’ skills. But four questions, in particular, stuck out to me to share with you, because many wonder about the curriculum for gifted and talented testing.

Here was one parent’s question:

“How is a curriculum different in a GNT (gifted and talented) school than in a regular public school?”

Usually, the difference is in the GNT classroom.  They may cover the same topics, but they will go much deeper, perhaps, and get into things that are much more complex in the curriculum versus what happens in the general ed classroom–or potentially, depending on the program, maybe it’s a broader curriculum, maybe it covers more ground.

Usually, there are differences, and what you have to do is just go to the school that your child is in and talk to them about how their curriculum differs from the general ed curriculum in your school district.

Another question we got is this:

“How does a gifted and talented program compare to a private school?”

I would say that they’re very, very different. With a private school, the class size is going to be smaller. That’s almost for sure.

Kids generally test into private schools, so generally, you have bright kids in a private school.  But yes, I would still say that the level of education in a gifted and talented program, in a good one, it’s probably equal to or better than most private schools–just because, again, the dynamics of having all of these bright kids together in one classroom.

This takes us to the next question which was this one:

 “Is there a different training for a GNT teacher than for a teacher in a general ed classroom?”

The answer to that is yes. Gifted and talented teachers are trained to work with kids who are above average in terms of their intellectual capacity and abilities, and they want to be with gifted kids. I think you get a very committed teacher in a gifted and talented classroom, and I think you can compare the gifted and talented programs in your city to the private schools. One of the big benefits, I think, of a gifted and talented program is it’s in a public school, and it’s free.

Private schools are usually very, very expensive. It’s always worth giving them a try, if you can get your child into one of the best programs in your school district. If it doesn’t work out, you can always move to a private school. The biggest difference, I think, is going to be the class size. Of course private schools, they might have better facilities than a public school; but it’s interesting, at least in New York City, the gifted and talented programs often get lots of grants.

They certainly get a lot of interesting support that maybe a private school wouldn’t get. Maybe they have a special music program that’s connected to the symphony orchestra of the city. I mean, they get some pretty interesting access through some of the grants that they get.

Another parent asked if with gifted and talented programs, “Is a lot of the extras in those programs parent-funded? Will there be extreme fundraising pressure?” The answer to that is probably there will be.

If you have any questions, in NYC or otherwise, regarding the gifted and talented programs in your area, we have experts on hand to help you.  Simply email us at  Our staff will help walk you through the process and answer your tough questions.

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