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2017 WCGTC Biennial World Conference

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4.7.1 Singular and plural: Balancing individually differentiated curriculum with cohort and group learning in gifted education

An all-gifted school environment with instruction individually tailored to the needs and capabilities of each student is often envisioned as the ideal. However, we also know that students benefit tremendously from learning together, whether in discussion groups or through collaborative work. How can one school — and, indeed, each teacher within that school — balance these competing paradigms so students may benefit from both? In this session, we will share practical techniques that have proven successful in an all-gifted environment, as well as specific examples of how this delicate balance can be managed on a day-to-day basis.


Jill Williford Wurman
The Grayson School
United States

Jill Williford Wurman is Director of Research at The Grayson School, Pennsylvania’s only independent school designed specifically for gifted learners. At Grayson, she acts as the in-house resource for the most current understanding on gifted education topics relevant to the school community, including academic performance, pedagogy, social-emotional development, longitudinal outcomes, and best practices in gifted education. She has spoken to the American Psychological Association’s national convention regarding summer residential programs for the gifted, and has co-presented on giftedness at MIT and at SENG’s national conference.

Melissa Bilash
The Grayson School
United States

Melissa Bilash founded The Grayson School, Pennsylvania’s only independent school designed specifically for gifted learners. She serves on NAGC’s Legislative and Special Schools Committees, and with her co-founder Jennifer Nance, co-authored NAGC’s 2016 publication, A Guide to State Policies in Gifted Education (2nd ed.). One of only 78 federally-trained Special Education Advocates, she has testified before Congress and met with Senators, Representatives, and U.S. Dept. of Education staffers regarding best practices in gifted education. Ms. Bilash has been awarded Special Congressional Recognition for her work, and in 2016 was named her state’s inaugural “Innovator Award” winner at their annual conference.


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