Where are gifted students of color?

Case studies outline strategies to increase diversity in gifted programs

By Katie D. Lewis, Angela M. Novak and Christine L. Weber
August 2018
Vol. 39 No. 4
Educators are learners: Most of them know that there is always more to know. The question, then, is not whether educators should engage in professional learning, but in what areas they should focus to best serve students. In the difficult process of choosing and designing professional learning, the needs of some students tend to get overlooked. Due to a lack of federal legislation and requirements, gifted students are often forgotten by the educational system at large, and, in turn, district professional development catalogs omit an ongoing understanding of this population. The needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students such as Native American, black, Hispanic, bilingual, and English language learners (Ford, 2014) are often overlooked as well. Together, these trends create a big hole in professional

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Katie D. Lewis, Angela M. Novak, and Christine L. Weber

Katie D. Lewis ( is an assistant professor in the Department of Education at York College of Pennsylvania.

Angela M. Novak ( is an assistant professor in the College of Education at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

Christine L. Weber ( is an associate professor in the Department of Childhood Education, Literacy and TESOL at the University of North Florida.


Burkman, A. (2012). Preparing novice teachers for success in elementary classrooms through professional development. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 78(3), 23-33.

Colorado Department of Education. (2010). Equity toolkit for administrators. Denver, CO

Ford, D.Y. (2014). Segregation and the underrepresentation of Blacks and Hispanics in gifted education: Social inequality and deficit paradigms. Roeper Review, 36(3), 143-154.

Ford, D.Y., Moore, J.L., & Milner, R. (2004). Beyond cultureblindness: A model of culture with implications for gifted education. Roeper Review, 27(2), 97-103.

Irby, B. & Lara-Alecio, R. (1996). Attributes of Hispanic gifted bilingual students as perceived by bilingual educators in Texas. SABE Journal, 11,120-140.

Johnsen, S.K. (2012, January). Standards in gifted education and their effects on professional competence. Gifted Child Today, 35(1), 49-57.

Lewis, K., Novak, A., & Coronado, J. (2015). Teachers’ perceptions of characteristics of gifted Hispanic bilingual students: Perspectives from the border. Texas Forum of Teacher Education, 5, 71-91.

Nelson, S.W. & Guerra, P.L. (2014). Educator beliefs and cultural knowledge: Implications for school improvement efforts. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(1), 67-95.

No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110 (Title IX, Part A, Definition 22) (2002); 20 USC 7801(22)(2004).

Weber, C.L., Behrens, W.A., & Boswell, C. (2016). Differentiating instruction for gifted learners: A case studies approach. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Weber, C.L., Boswell, C., & Behrens, W.A. (2014). Exploring critical issues in gifted education: A case studies approach. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

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