Spotlight on the Gifted Experience


Meeting the unique needs of gifted learners, both academically and social-emotionally, is the passion that drives each of our amazing gifted resource educators in building relationships with gifted students and their families. Thank you for taking the time to read this information regarding the Office of Gifted Programs highlights about gifted education in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. We appreciate your ongoing support!

Let's Hear It for Our New Staff Member!

The Office of Gifted Programs Leadership Team wishes to extend a warm welcome to our newest gifted resource teacher:

Kristie Kinsey (Point O’ View ES)

Gifted Community Advisory Committee News

The Office of Gifted Programs is excited about the work and learning that is happening during the 2021-2022 Gifted Community Advisory Committee meetings. The VBCPS Community Advisory Committee for Gifted Education (CAC) provides essential insights and information to the School Board regarding the academic, social, and emotional needs of all identified gifted students in the school division. The CAC is comprised of community members, often parents of gifted VBCPS students, Gifted Resource Teachers from each school level, gifted student representatives, and other stakeholders. Annually, the CAC works to develop goals and priorities aligned with the mission and vision of the school division and submit recommendations in writing to the Superintendent and the School Board highlighting relevant issues intended to improve the educational services for gifted students and encourage a collaborative relationship between school division staff and the community. All are welcome to attend the monthly meetings. More information about dates and agenda items can be found on Community Advisory Committee for Gifted Education (CAC) page.

Professional Learning for Gifted Resource Teachers – Spring 2022

Welcome Dr. Tamra Stambaugh, Whitworth University, Spokane, WashingtonDr. Tamra Stambaugh from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington met virtually with gifted resource teachers (GRT) in March 2022 to share work on the affective Jacob’s Ladder books. GRTs walked through some examples that could be used in the classroom. Dr. Stambaugh challenged them to modify her work to meet the needs of their schools. Everyone left the meeting very excited about how to bring this work to their school and students.

Elementary School Gifted Program Spotlight

In a continuous effort to create infrastructures of opportunity for students, during the 2020-21 school year the Office of Gifted Programs implemented a Performance Based Task (PBT) to be administered to all first graders who were applying for gifted identification. For the 2021-22 school year, the desire to be responsive to student needs continued and the Office of Gifted Programs worked in collaboration English as a Second Language (ESL) Programs to have the PBT translated into Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. Dr. Cunningham, second grade teacher, and Dr. Pender, gifted resource teacher at Holland Elementary School piloted the PBT in Dr. Cunningham’s class which has a high percentage of English Language Learners. Virginia Beach has a diverse population of learners. This collaboration gave opportunity and access to more students by providing multiple pathways for gifted identification.

Holland Elementary School – Dr. Jean Cunningham, Second Grade Teacher and Dr. Kristin Pender, Gifted Resource Teacher

Middle School Gifted Program Spotlight

Argument-Driven Inquiry, or ADI, is a way of teaching students to become not only proficient in science, math, and engineering but also helps develop their disciplinary-based literacy skills at the same time. The goal is to make math and science education meaningful, rigorous, and equitable. Gifted students often ask questions like “Why am I learning this?” or “When will I ever use this in real life” and ADI gives students the opportunity to have authentic scientific experiences.

Science classes in middle schools across the division have been incorporating ADI into their learning and it is exciting to see the engagement and thinking in action! At Landstown Middle School recently, science classes in 6th and 8th grade worked on different ADI problems.

How can you make an action figure jump higher? Sixth grade scientists working hard to create an ADI Claim, Evidence, and Justification to satisfy that question.

How is the nature of the Geologic Activity near a Plate Boundary related to Plate Interaction? 8th grade Earth Science students experience intellectual struggle as they decide to how test, analyze and solve this ADI question.

Landstown Middle School – Diane Tarkenton, Gifted Resource Teacher

High School Gifted Programs Spotlight

Summer Residential Governor’s Schools provide high school juniors and seniors with intensive educational experiences in visual and performing arts; humanities; mathematics, science, and technology; or through mentorships in marine science, medicine and health sciences, or engineering.

Each Summer Residential Governor’s School focuses on one special area of interest. Students live on a college or university campus for up to four weeks each summer. During this time, students are involved in classroom and laboratory work, field studies, research, individual and group projects and performances, and seminars with noted scholars, visiting artists, and other professionals. In the three mentorships, students are selected to work side-by-side with research scientists, physicians, and a variety of other professionals. A director and a student-life staff provide supervision of students 24 hours a day, throughout the program.

This year VBCPS had 126 applicants for the academic and visual and performing arts programs. After intensive review at the school and division levels, sixty student applications were sent to the state level for the visual and performing arts and forty-nine were sent for academic programs. The Office of Gifted Programs would like to give special recognition to Dr. Missy Sullivan at First Colonial High School and Kara Kimball at Princess Anne High School for submitting the highest number of applications in the school division.

The Class of 2022 E.E. Brickell Scholarship Program, sponsored by the Virginia Beach Rotary Club, kicked off another exciting program on February 10, 2022. Brickell Scholars participated in a “Virtual Scholar Meet and Greet Seminar” comprised of various icebreaker activities and learned more about the scholarship program. Virginia Beach Rotary Club Brickell Scholarship Chairman and former VBCPS School Board Chairman, Mr. Daniel Edwards, shared information with the scholars about the program’s rich history and impact on students. On March 3, 24, and April 21, Brickell Scholars participated in three virtual scholar seminars with various experts in the community and VBCPS faculty. Twenty-three students will compete for the prestigious $6000 Brickell Scholarship to be awarded during the annual Virginia Beach Rotary Club Scholarship recognition on May 19, 2022. Brickell Scholars are selected from each VBCPS high school during the spring of their junior year. Criteria for selection include exceptional scholastic achievement and outstanding community service leadership. This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Deepak Talreja, of Eastern Virginia Medical School, who was the first Brickell Scholarship winner from the VBCPS Class of 1990.

Logo: Office of Gifted Programs

Office of Gifted Programs Leadership Team

Dr. Nicole DeVries, Director
Dr. Dornswalo Wilkins-McCorey, Coordinator
Angela Boubouheropoulos, Coordinator
Meghann Scott, Instructional Specialist
Davida Lawrence-Griffin, Executive Office Associate