The Seminar Program

Gifted Education has moved onto Canvas. All active students should have a card for Gifted on their dashboard. Please contact your resource teachers if you have any issues with your Canvas access.

Gifted Education Program at Forest Park High School

Gifted Education Resource Teachers:
Mr. Dan Bredbenner [email protected]
Mrs. Lianne Vroustouris [email protected]

What do students learn in the high school gifted program?

Gifted students are given opportunities to develop advanced thinking skills in five areas: Collaboration, Communication, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking and Conceptual Thinking.

The primary method of instruction in the high school gifted program is interdisciplinary seminar discussions. These highly collaborative sessions use thought-provoking activities and high-level primary readings to spark academic discussions and foster development in thinking skills. While the topics and questions change with each seminar, they provide an interrelated and cumulative curriculum throughout the four years that is always focused on improving students skills. We aim to guide students to comprehensively and respectfully explore complex ideas in diverse group settings. Historically, students who have been most consistent in effort and attendance have been the most likely to achieve this level.

Students will report to room 1143 near the main stairs. Further information will be provided if an alternative location will be used for a particular seminar.

Seminar Attendance

Students participating in the gifted program are expected to attend seminars on a regular basis or participate asynchronously if they have chosen that option for participation. For in school seminars, If a student is unable to attend a scheduled seminar, please make prior arrangements to attend at another time, if available. To be excused from a particular seminar, a student should submit a written note from his/her parent or guardian. The parent can also email a resource teacher prior to the beginning of the seminar.

Students who have been identified as gifted by PWCS must be provided the opportunity to receive the appropriate level of services as determined. Teachers may not forbid students to attend a seminar during a particular period. They are always welcome to contact Mr. Bredbenner prior to the scheduled period if a conflict arises and a mutually satisfactory arrangement can be made 99% of the time. If school is canceled, missed seminars will not be made up due to schedule restraints - the material will be condensed into future seminars. All eligible students may access much of the materials used in seminars through their respective Canvas page.


Seminar Schedule

Seminar schedules need to be custom designed each year to minimize conflicts and maximize benefits for the students. Individual student schedules are not available until mid-late September when that work is completed. The first seminars typically begin in the 3rd week of school, but a maximum of two grade levels can be scheduled in a particular week.

Exact dates and topics of all seminars will be posted each marking period on the Canvas pages. The Gifted Resource Teachers at Forest Park understand that it can be a challenge to miss classes, so every effort is made to minimize the impact on classes while maximizing the benefit of the time spent in the resource program.

All 9th and 10th grade students enrolled in HPE I and HPE II will be scheduled to attend seminars during the physical activity portion of their HPE classes. They will typically miss class for the period as a group with other students in the same section. Any student who wants to participate in seminars but does not want to miss PE should talk to Mrs. Vroustouris and Mr. Bredbenner about having the responsibility to choose a regular class to miss.  

Students in Grades 9 and 10 who are not taking HPE I or II will attend the same seminars as HPE students, but rotate through their classes. This will mean that you must choose the best period during the two days listed. See the Canvas page for more information.

All 11th and 12th grade students will receive passes which allow them to attend ONE class period out of the options available during the scheduled days. All active students are expected to participate in each of the seminars, but it will be left to them to make a responsible decision about which period each time. They may repeat particular period(s) or choose a different period each time as they consider their particular situation.


All students will complete their Differentiated Services Plan (DSP) in seminar conferences before scheduling in February. The DSP is intended to aid students' and their parents' long range planning in pursuit of each student's personal educational goals. In addition to the DSP conferences, gifted education teachers are available to conference as needed with gifted students. Conferences can be initiated by the student or teacher. Please contact the teacher in advance to schedule a conference. Conferences can be used to address issues such as college applications, academic progress, socio-emotional issues, and other concerns.


Program Participation

All needed materials will be provided. Students identified as gifted are expected to attend seminars on a regular basis. If a student wishes to attend during a different class or withdraw from seminars on a temporary or permanent basis, he/she should have a parent contact the resource teachers to discuss options.


Make-Up Work

Prior to coming to a seminar, students are encouraged to go to the class they will be missing, check in with their teacher for attendance purposes, turn in any work that is due and get any make-up assignments needed for that class. Whether they do that or not, all missed work must be completed according to the teacher's make-up work policy just like any other absence from class.

Canvas modules will be available for asynchronous access anytime.


Peer Nominations

Students are welcome to nominate peers for the gifted program. Nominees must go through an eligibility process to be identified as gifted and participate in the program. Nominations should be made to a gifted resource teacher.


Seminars are an ungraded environment where all ideas are considered and intellectual risks can be taken without the fear of a low grade. However, at the end of each school year, students are evaluated by themselves and their teachers using the rubric posted in the Canvas page. Students tend to enter high school on the left side of this chart, but those who participate regularly throughout their high school careers tend to reach the right side by graduation.