“What could your child learn if there were no limits?”
This was the question posed to families of gifted children when we announced the opening of Mid-South Gifted Academy four years ago. As educators in a traditional system, we knew that our gifted learners typically knew a high percentage of grade level content on the first day of school. These students were eager to accelerate their learning and dive into topics of interest, yet the system they were in was not built to support those goals. The focus on grade-level standards and preparation for state testing limited how far or how fast our gifted students could advance. This lack of educational fit led to boredom at best, and anxiety and school avoidance in extreme cases. It became our mission to create another option: a full-time school for gifted learners that would provide abundant opportunities for advanced academics and accelerated learning. We were confident that by removing ceilings through a mastery-based approach to education, our students would soar.
We now have almost four years of data to analyze, and a much better idea of what is possible for gifted learners when limits are removed. The following story is just one of many examples of how a child’s educational path was changed because parents and teachers dared to ask what was possible.
In the summer of 2018, a family of a 5th grade child reached out to learn more about MSGA. This child had the typical backstory- she was extremely curious, thought school was a waste of time, and had rarely encountered an academic challenge. After meeting this child, we knew that MSGA was made for her, and we were thrilled when she accepted an invitation to enroll.
Her benchmark assessments in September of 2018 indicated that she was starting at a fourth grade, seventh month level in math (470), seventh grade, sixth month in ELA (760), and tenth grade, sixth month in reading (1060). Throughout the year, she made significant progress in all areas, and scored a grade equivalency score of 9.1 on the Iowa Assessment. We were so pleased to have this data as it provided evidence that our program was doing what it set out to do!
Over the two years that followed, we continued to track this child’s progress, and by May of 2021, she tested at an eighth grade, fifth month level in math (850), twelfth grade, fourth month in ELA (1240), and post high school in reading (1300). She was wrapping up seventh grade and her grade equivalency score was 13+ (post high school) on the Iowa Assessment! For her 8th grade year, this student is provided with high school level curriculum and instruction, and she continues to make exceptional growth. Most importantly, she loves going to school and finds joy in learning!
If you have a gifted child bored with the pace and limits of traditional school, it may be time to explore non-traditional options. If you’d like to learn more about Mid-South Gifted Academy, schedule a tour today. Join the families reimagining education for gifted learners in the Memphis area.