Office of Advanced Academics

Office of Advanced Academics

Baltimore County Public Schools' Blueprint 2.0: Our Way Forward outlines a vision for creating a culture of deliberate excellence for every student. The Office of Advanced Academics contributes to this system expectation through its commitment to all students who have the capability, potential, or motivation to access responsive, rigorous, and relevant curriculum and instruction. The Office of Advanced Academics provides vision, leadership, professional development, and advocacy. Additionally, the office engages in research to improve the quality of instruction for all learners. The Office of Advanced Academics collaborates with content area offices regarding the development, implementation, and enhancement of curricular and instructional experiences that support students who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment. By nurturing potential through responsive, challenging, and respectful learning experiences, the Office of Advanced Academics supports BCPS' goal of preparing students to be globally competitive graduates.

Because BCPS values research, the Office of Advanced Academics has shifted its work to respond to current research and best practices.  More recent research in the field of gifted education prompted the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) to redefine giftedness (see NAGC Position Paper: Redefining Giftedness). Highlights of the NAGC's work include the following:

  • The development of ability or talent is a lifelong process. It can be evident in young children as exceptional performance measures of ability, actual achievement in a subject area, or a rapid rate of learning compared to other students of the same age.
  • Achievement and high levels of motivation in a subject area become the primary characteristics of giftedness as individuals mature from childhood to adolescence.
  • Beginning in early childhood, high potential students require differentiated educational experiences that consist of adjustments in the level, depth, and pacing of curriculum to match their current levels of achievement and learning rates.
  • Some gifted individuals with exceptional aptitude may not demonstrate outstanding levels of achievement due to environmental circumstances such as limited opportunities to learn as a result of poverty, discrimination, or cultural barriers; due to physical or learning disabilities; or due to motivational or emotional problems. Identification of these students will need to emphasize aptitude rather than relying only on demonstrated achievement.   

BCPS continues to evaluate the present identification processes for advanced academic instruction. A team of school-based educators, Advanced Academic Office staff, and other central office staff reviewed research and current identification data and will be making recommendations for a process that will help to inform the instructional needs of all students and ensure equitable access. Baltimore County Public Schools' Office of Advanced Academics is committed to advocating for high potential learners by developing, supporting, and implementing practices and procedures that develop 21st Century skills.

Additional materials for staff available on our intranet website.

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