SCHOOLWIDE GIFTED CLUSTER MODEL
Deer Valley Unified School District follows the Schoolwide Gifted Cluster Model in grades K-4 to support accurate student placement. In the 2023-24 school year, grade levels 5-6 who do not offer content replacement services are required to follow the Gifted Cluster Model. Many schools, including middle and high schools, continue Gifted Cluster Placements at all grade levels. In these schools, the Gifted Cluster Model is an additional service provided, as a best practice for our gifted learners.
In the Schoolwide Gifted Cluster Model, gifted students are grouped into a mixed-ability classroom at each grade level. The Gifted Cluster Teacher either possesses or is actively working to obtain his or her Gifted Endorsement. As an expert in gifted pedagogy, the Gifted Cluster Teacher is trained in understanding, planning for, and instructing gifted students. Gifted students benefit from being grouped with their intellectual peers within a differentiated and enriching classroom. They participate in critical thinking, inquiry, and problem solving. Students are empowered to become organized, self-directed, lifelong learners. Gifted Specialists at each campus assist Gifted Cluster Teachers with facilitating, planning and implementing differentiated curriculum. In this model, gifted students receive differentiated curriculum and instruction daily and in all content areas.
Classroom compositions are carefully structured with two main goals: to ensure that there is a balance throughout the grade level, and to reduce the learning range found in any given classroom. This system provides opportunities for teachers to more readily respond to the needs of all their students.
Schoolwide Gifted Cluster Model Benefits:
- Serving the learning needs of gifted students in a full-time program that delivers consistent curriculum and differentiation opportunities
- Grouping gifted students together in otherwise heterogeneous classes with a teacher who has special training in how to meet their unique learning needs
- Facilitating the emergence of new academic leaders in classes that do not contain a gifted-cluster group
- Improving support to classroom teachers by way of gifted specialists who have fewer teachers’ schedules to work with
- Improving student performance by communicating higher expectations for all students, by reducing the range of achievement in all classes, and by providing staff development in gifted education for teachers
- Increasing overall achievement at the grade levels that use cluster grouping
- Raising expectations for all students by opening access to classroom opportunities historically reserved for identified gifted students only