Ad. Learning Programs & Services

Gifted Services Update November 2020


We have enjoyed connecting with you in such intentional ways last year even during at-home learning. Advanced Learning Services is looking forward to continuing that connection and building upon it as we navigate the world of virtual and in-person learning during the 2020-2021 year. Please know that we are dedicated to meeting our students' needs and supporting them regardless of the learning model chosen by your family. Yes, #RISDWeveGotThis!

Connect With Us

We love to hear from you! Here is one way you can connect with us at any time. You can ask us a question or leave us a comment at

Duke TIP Suspends Program

Duke TIP has offered programming and above-level testing opportunities for high-achieving students for as long as I can remember. However, they are suspending their programming at least for the time being. Please read their letter to the community HERE and look HERE for frequently-asked questions and answers..


Scholastic is sponsoring a STEM competition for grades 6-9. Students will form teams of 2-4 to create a STEM solution that explores a community issue. Teams should register by 1/6/2021. The winning teams may receive savings bonds up to $10,000. There is no fee or purchase to participate. Visit for more information.

NPR Sponsors Podcast Contest

If you are looking for an engaging extension to learning, this is it! NPR is inviting students around the country to create a podcast, then — with the help of a teacher — compete for a chance to win our grand prize and have your work appear on NPR. Visit HERE for more information. Note that submissions begin in January and end in March and it's for grades 5 through 12.

NAGC's "Supporting Your Gifted Child During Covid19"

The National Association for Gifted Children is dedicated to supporting professionals and families in the gifted community. Among their Parent TIP Sheets are resources to help families navigate their child's responses to Covid19. Here are two with one already in Spanish. We hope these resources provide some support for you.

Supporting Your Gifted Child During Covid19 - English

Supporting Your Gifted Child During Covid19 - Spanish

Managing Grief and Anxiety During Covid19

Advanced Learning Services Advisory Board Update

The Advanced Learning Services department held its first Advisory Board meeting on October 6. The vision for the work of the board is to utilize a collaborative format to increase engagement with community, staff, and students resulting in continuous improvement for Advanced Learning Services. The group will break into subcommittees and work on the following topics this year:

AVID- Expand AVID to meet the needs of ALL students by implementing AVID at all elementary campuses.

  • Work will be begin after Winter Break.

Gifted and Talented-Update

Advanced Learning – Update

  • The PreAP sub-committee has met four times and plans to have a recommendation for the Board of Trustees as early as this month.

There will be opportunities to engage in this work even if you are not serving on the committee. If any of these topics interest you and you would like to be considered for an action team, please email the indicated person above.


Elementary GT Referrals and Testing Update

This year is unique in all aspects and that includes our referral and testing procedures. We know that we have families who are making instructional model decisions based on various reasons and needs. Because we are in an ever-changing health and safety situation, we will be sharing testing processes in phases with updates as new information is available. This intentionality will allow us to communicate with you with the fewest changes possible.

  • In-person Kindergarten students will test at their campuses in the month of December.
  • The first round of 6th-grade testing for both in-person and virtual learners, who chose to test now, is occurring now.

From the desk of ... Jasmine Patel

Using Big Ideas to find Common Ground

It seems like the more it is said, the more it is true: Expect the unexpected in 2020.

Times are say the least. Everyone has been affected....the impact is real: on family life, travel, school, extra-curricular activities, holidays, work environments, leisure time activities, etc. Never mind the state of the care, personal risks, social dynamics, politics, the economy….and the risks and peril they all seem to entail!!

My youngest celebrated her Sweet 16 recently. While she is “my baby,” we have had some very deep and emotional conversations about the state of affairs around us. I am both in awe of her awareness and dismayed by the burdens she carries at such a young age.

As we know, gifted learners are highly sensitive and can experience current events with much more intensity than their peers. Feelings of frustration, helplessness, or lack of control can spiral dramatically for them. Using Big Idea thinking can be a tool to empower them and provide stability and focus. And ultimately, restore a sense of hope that life will be better….soon.

When my daughter and I get into those weightier topics, it seems to help to pull back to the bigger picture. What are we REALLY exploring here? What are the conflicting ideas? What is the common topic? What would resolution look like?

It’s an interesting idea: Think of a time you had to find common ground with someone you disagreed with. How did YOU get there?

When we focus on what drives us apart, we often focus on the details that fuel the disagreement. Finding common ground with those who hold opposing viewpoints or opinions requires nothing more than finding the Big Idea that is shared between parties. It is the most logical way to cross the middle ground...and find the humanity that binds us all to common goals and outcomes.

Exec. Director of Advanced Learning Services

Elizabeth Swaner, M. Ed.

Advanced Learning Specialist

Dr. Joseph Russell, Ph.D.

Advanced Learning Specialist

Jasmine Patel, M. Ed.