Gifted Resources

Welcome to the Philipsburg-Osceola Area Gifted Page

Philipsburg-Osceola Area Gifted Education Program

Chapter 16 of the State Board of Education’s Regulations require school districts to provide gifted education services to students who have been identified as gifted and in need of specially designed instruction. These services must be described in a Gifted Individualized Education Program (GIEP).

The Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District offers gifted education for elementary, middle, and high school students who have been identified as eligible for gifted support. Special Education for Gifted Students is a Pennsylvania mandated program under Chapter 16 of the PA School Code. Procedural safeguards are followed as defined in Chapter 16. The Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District conducts a multi-criteria evaluation to determine eligibility for specialized instruction.

An enrichment program is housed in each school and offered on a rotating schedule. Please call the Director of Student Services, Casey Marsh, or your school guidance counselor for more information.

District Staff:

Director of Student Services – Casey Marsh 814-342-5985

Elementary – Gregory Minarchick

Middle School – Joe Gomola

Andrew Davidson

Senior High – Gregory Minarchick

Gifted Screening

Chapter 16 requires that “Each school district shall adopt and use a system to locate and identify all students within that district who are thought to be gifted and in need of specially designed instruction.” Thus, school districts are obligated to provide appropriate screening and programming to school age students (K-12) thought to be gifted. School districts may not delay or prolong the screening and evaluation process. The screening procedures should generate data from a variety of sources. These data should then be compared to predetermine multiple criteria for gifted potential/performance. 


The following timeline shall be utilized to ensure gifted screening of all students in the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District, K-12: 

            October- students in grades 5-12

            November- students in grade 3-4

            December- students in grades 1-2

            January- students in Kindergarten


**If at any time, a parent or teacher wants to refer a student to the gifted screening process outside of this timeline, the school district will comply with such a request. Additionally, parents have the right to bypass the screening process and request a Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation at any time.

How to Identify a Gifted Child

Most parents view their offspring as exceptional, and that's a good thing. If parents didn't see their children as special, few would survive adolescence. But how might a teacher know if a child is truly "gifted"?

Françoys Gagné says: "Gifted students are those whosepotentialis distinctly above average in one or more of the following domains of human ability: intellectual, creative, social and physical. Talented students are those whose skills are distinctly above average in one or more areas of human performance."

Gagne's key word is potential. He believes in the power of environmental factors, that being natively smart isn't enough; a child needs support and guidance to achieve his/her gifted potential. Supporting and encouraging gifted kids is exactly where home and school collide.

So how do you know if a child is gifted?

Teachers can probably identify gifted children through their own observation and instincts. Often we know if there's something "extra" about a child: their questions, their insights.


1. Define "gifted" - there are almost as many definitions of giftedness as there are children.For elementary and secondary education in the United States, the standard, federally approved definition is as follows:
"Students, children, or youth whogive evidence of high achievement capabilityin areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and whoneed services and activities not ordinarily provided by the schoolin order to fully develop those capabilities"- 1972 Marland Report to Congress

2. Consider that this could be hereditary, as giftedness often runs in families.This doesn't make a child gifted, necessarily, but definitely increases the possibility.

3. Look for signs.Gifted children often have special characteristics that set them apart from other children. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Excellent/above average problem solving skills
  • Long attention span
  • Unusual/vivid imagination
  • Extreme curiosity
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Perfectionism
  • Well-developed sense of humor
  • Exceptional vocabulary
  • Reads a lot, about many different things
  • Reading well above grade level

4. Ask yourself how the child is doing in school, and listen to them talk about it.If you are constantly saying things like "I just had Jimmy [who is a third grader] put into a reading group of fifth graders, since he's so much ahead of everyone else in his class", or "I spoke to the art teacher, and she thinks Cindy is extremely talented", these are good signs. If the child is showing signs of being bored in school because he or she always finishes their work long before everyone else, doesn't need the constant review work, and things of that nature, they could also be gifted.

5. Understand that many gifted children are more "gifted" in certain areas - not all-around geniuses.If the child has shown an amazing amount of skill and dedication to a certain activity such as mathematics, art, reading, music, dance, etc., you may have a gifted child. However, don't let this be the only thing you go by, as many non-gifted children can be dedicated to these things as well.

6. Recommend that the child be screened. Identification of a gifted child requires evidence of high achievement capability. If academic or intellectual giftedness is suspected, the best way to obtain this evidence is though through gifted screening by Student services personnel and academic testing by a qualified professional – the school psychologist or an outside psychologist. A test is required to get the child a gifted designation.

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