A Case Study of Minority and Low-SES Gifted Students' Perceptions of the Effects of a Gifted Resource Specialist
Samples, Sherry L.
University of Kansas
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
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This research explores the experiences of 9 minority and low socioeconomic status [low-SES] gifted high school graduates from a district which provided additional support beyond a counselor for its high school gifted students. The additional support was a Gifted Resource Specialist at each school; their interactions with the graduates from a student perspective provided the data to answer the research question, "What impact, if any, has the presence of a gifted resource specialist had upon the high school experience and persistence to graduation for minority and low-SES gifted adolescents?" The data were gathered through in-depth interviews which were recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed for patterns. The patterns became the prevalent themes for discussion in the findings and analysis. Three major findings emerged: * The gifted minority and low-SES students who participated in the study graduated and gave the Gifted Resource Specialist credit for helping them do so. * The students reported choosing a more difficult diploma, given options, than they would have, had they not had access to a gifted resource specialist. * The Gifted Resource Specialist helped the students identify, apply to, secure financial resources and get accepted at more selective colleges and universities than they might have otherwise applied to. The findings of this research are supported by Theories of Cultural and Social Capital as a driving force in academic excellence; the main role of the Gifted Resource Specialist was to provide the gifted students interviewed with the necessary knowledge to apply to and fill out financial aid forms for a selective college or university. This research is of particular importance to district-level decision makers, school administrators, and counselors because the research supports the special needs of gifted minority and low socioeconomic status students and the role of a dedicated resource specialist above and beyond that of a high school counselor. High school gifted students, particularly those from minority and low-SES backgrounds, continue to benefit from additional supports.
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