District Mission & Talent Development Goals
The district mission for Mankato Area Public Schools provides the foundation for Talent Development Programming: “Assuring learning excellence and readiness for a changing world.” As part of accomplishing this mission, we believe that all students have gifts and talents, and that education should help students develop and discover these gifts and talents. Talent Development goals include:
- meeting students where they are at in order to bring out students’ potential
- nurturing students’ passions and strengths to engage students in learning
- challenging students in order to provide them with a purposeful and motivating education
These goals provide the foundation of Talent Development work throughout the district.
Talent Development Services & State and Federal Definitions of Gifted and Talented Education
The Minnesota and Federal Definitions of Giftedness and Talented education guide the beliefs and ongoing work within the Talent Development Program. Outstanding talents and potential are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor. Children and youth with outstanding talents perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment. The role of the Talent Development Program is to support the education of children and youth who demonstrate these high levels of achievement or potential ability in general intellectual areas, specific academic subjects, creativity, leadership, and visual and performing arts.
Talent Development Services & Differentiation, Research-Based Best Practices, and Support for Students, Educators and Families
Since children and youth with outstanding talent and potential have significantly different educational and/or affective needs from their chronological peers, these students are those whose potential requires uniquely differentiated and challenging educational opportunities. These opportunities help students develop personal capabilities, including mindset around challenge as a part of personal growth. Students also learn to solve problems, develop leadership, think creatively, and pursue areas of personal passion.
In addition to state and federal definitions, research in the field of gifted and talented education informs how we work with Talent Development students to challenge and develop their abilities. We know from research that giftedness is complex and can be inherited, developed, and cultivated. As a result, we identify students for services using multiple measures, and we serve students’ individual academic needs through challenging curriculum and differentiation.
To support students in the classroom, Talent Development provides professional development for educators who work with Talent Development students. The Talent Development Program also works with students, families, educators, and community to provide educational opportunities for students.
These beliefs were developed with input from the Talent Development Advisory Committee, which is made up of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and other instructional leaders.