As an individual, a parent, an educator, or a community leader, one of the most exciting challenges for anyone is to become aware of personal strengths and talents— their own or in others. At the Center for Creative Learning, we work with our clients to support their efforts to recognize and nurture the best in every person. We support a contemporary, inclusive approach to recognizing and developing talents, seeking to bring out the best in all people.
In this area of our website, you will learn more about the Levels of Service (LoS) approach to Talent Development.
“Bringing Out the Best in Every Student”
The Levels of Service (LoS) approach to talent development, developed by the Center for Creative Learning in conjunction with educational leaders in several school districts and state educational agencies in the United States and Canada, seeks to to bring out the best in every student. We believe that developing talent— the potential for significant contributions or productivity (in original or creative ways) in any domain of inquiry, expression, or action, over an extended period of time— is vital for survival and success in the 21st Century.
Gifted education programs have traditionally identified and served a limited number of students, often based on specific percentages or “cutoff” scores on tests of ability or achievement. We acknowledge the importance of meeting the needs of high-ability students. However, in the LoS approach we extend that commitment by recognizing that significant potential exists among many more students than have traditionally been identified and served in both academic content areas and many talent domains.
Therefore, the LoS approach involves collaboration among educators, students, parents, and community leaders to form a partnership to ensure that every learner’s educational experience is appropriate, challenging, and differentiated. LoS programming focuses on providing opportunities for recognizing, nurturing, and celebrating students’ strengths, talents, and sustained interests. Programming for talent development includes all of the efforts made— at home, in a classroom, in a school, in a school district, and in a community— to respond to the many and varied potentials of all students.
Level I: Services for All Students
Opportunities that provide foundational skills and tools that help all students to discover and build their personal strengths and talents.
Teachers in a school noticed that most of the questions they asked their students called for basic recall. They decided to teach higher level thinking skills and deliberately modified their questioning technique by developing questions that required students to think creatively and critically.
Level II: Services for Many Students
Opportunities that invite students to engage in activities through which they can investigate their interests and verify areas in which they may demonstrate strengths and talent potentials.
A school offers students opportunities to participate on teams for the Future Problem Solving Program International (FPSPI) or the Destination ImagiNation® Program (DI). (These activities may extend beyond Level II if students are chosen to compete at state or national levels.)
Level III: Services for Some Students
Opportunities that involve alternative learning activities for students to engage in rigorous and complex learning based on their demonstrated performance and documented needs in areas of strength and sustained interest.
Students with strengths and talents in math may be placed in advanced math classes, Honors classes, or AP math courses (based on mathematical aptitude, skills, and interests). Their math opportunities may involve acceleration as well as opportunities for enrichment (e.g., special projects for individuals or small groups).
Level IV: Services for a Few Students
Advanced opportunities that respond to the unique needs of individual students who have demonstrated outstanding ability, expertise, motivation and passion to learn in a talent domain or academic area.
In one district, elementary age students were permitted to enroll in secondary level course in areas of special talent, and middle- or secondary-level students had opportunities to take post-secondary level courses in their special talent areas (e.g., science, technology, dramatics, creative writing, history, and math!) at area community colleges and universities.
The LoS approach:
- Is consistent with research on human abilities and styles.
- Helps us manage change by integrating our efforts and priorities.
- Recognizes and celebrates present positives while promoting continuous improvement in gifted education programming.
- Stimulates innovation to help us raise our vision of the future to new levels.
- Reminds us where to keep “the compass” set: what’s important for students?
- Is consistent with contemporary views of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
- Supports appropriate and challenging instruction for high-ability students in many talent areas and academic disciplines.
- Supports effective individualized and differentiated instructional practices for all students.
We offer a variety of products and service relating to the Levels of Service approach to talent development. These include:
“Dear School People”
Dear School People: What Are You Doing To Find And Develop My Child's Talents? 25 tough questions that are more important than, "Is my child in the Gifted Program?"
Click here to find a number of free resources that will explain the LoS approach, provide case studies of the LoS model in action in the school setting, and offer directions for future reading and study.
Click here for advanced online resources in PDF format to support your efforts to design, implement, or evaluate talent development programming. These resources are available at a reasonable cost for immediate download. The cost of each one includes permission to duplicate the file for up to three other individuals at no additional charge.
Click here for books you can purchase to learn more about the LoS approach to talent development.
Workshops, Training and Consulting Services
Our approach to talent development recognizes the need for appropriate, challenging, and developmental learning opportunities, at home, in school, and in the community, to bring out the best in every person. We recognize that some students require differentiated instruction and services by virtue of strengths and talents already manifest. There are also important opportunities for parents, teachers, and community leaders to recognize and nurture the “often-hidden” strengths, talents, and potentials in all people. Our “Levels of Service” approach offers a practical plan for programming at all levels.
Our programs are custom-tailored to meet your needs and interests. We will confer with you, create a complete proposal for services to meet your unique needs, and work closely with you to carry out our collaborative plan. Read more about the services we can provide.