Oxford School District expands Gifted Education to the Arts

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Oxford School District is making plans to expand its gifted program to recognize creatively gifted students in the 2023-2024 school year. Currently, the gifted education program offered is only available to intellectually gifted students.

The expansion will bring a gifted education program to those students who are talented in music and art in elementary grades two through five.

Marilyn Barnes, Gifted Coordinator, is leading a committee of teachers, parents, and community members to create an effective screening and identification process for these artistic disciplines.

“Our goal is to reach more students who are gifted in a variety of areas. We have students who are incredibly creative and it is exciting to be able to offer them a tailored educational experience in our district,” Barnes said.

Gifted students have distinct individual aptitudes and this is especially apparent when it comes to creativity. Contrary to popular belief, not all intellectually gifted children are inherently creative, and not all creatively gifted kids are academically adept.

Creatively gifted children are some of the most misidentified, misunderstood, and misdiagnosed populations of children. Helping students hone their creativity can improve their self-esteem, build upon their existing talents, and give them a vehicle for self-expression.

The OSD plans to add one gifted music teacher and one gifted art teacher with hopes to eventually add a gifted theatre teacher in the future. Students can nominate themselves for screening, in addition to parents, teachers, or peers.

The Mississippi Gifted Education Act of 1989, amended in 1993, mandates that each public school district within the state provide gifted education programs for intellectually gifted students in grades two through six.

Services are provided by a properly endorsed teacher for a minimum of 240 minutes per week. The gifted program for the arts in the Oxford School District will exceed Mississippi’s requirements.

For more information, visit the MDE’s Advanced Learning and Gifted Programs website.