Rural gifted students are faced with challenges that may not exist in urban areas. According to Flyod, McGinnis, and Grantham (2011), challenges include: “(1) limited resources; (2) limited accessibility to resources; (3) scarcity of funding; (4) isolated geographic location; (5) distance from universities, libraries, and other cultural activities; (6) difficulty in obtaining trained personnel; (7) few choices of advanced courses; and (8) different cultural values” (p. 28). The lack of resources and prepared teachers are a huge issue for rural gifted students. A small population of gifted students within a school can also cause issues with resources and funding. A few gifted students within a school might be forgotten about or ignored. I have a friend who teaches in a different school system than I do, and they have not had gifted classes this entire school year. The previous teacher left after last year, and the system never filled the position. Funding seems to be the main issue. There are not many gifted students in the school, so there needs have been easily forgotten. I understand the issues discussed in the text about rural gifted education because I live in area surrounded by rural schools. One school where I work is fairly far away from the city. I know of students who have never been into the city. They may only live thirty minutes from the city, but they have never visited it. This causes problems for gifted students because they are not able to experience cultural activities that students living in the city can experience. Gifted educators must work hard to ensure that these issues are not evident in their schools. They must fight hard to ensure that the needs of all students are being met.
Although gifted students living in rural areas are faced with many challenges, rural gifted students have a lot of advantages that other students may not have. The advantages include “(1) maximizing strengths within the rural community, (2) promoting parent involvement, (3) utilizing technological innovations, and (4) incorporating systemic staff development” (p. 37). Teachers can maximize these benefits to help students succeed. Rural communities are typically small which means small class sizes for gifted students. People within the community are supportive, and the community-feel within the environment is a positive asset for gifted students who may struggle in school. Technology resources are great for students in rural schools because it gives them access to new things which may not be familiar to them. Gifted educators must work to reach the needs of rural gifted students. Training for general education teachers on the needs of gifted students might not exist in rural schools, so gifted educators must work with other educators and administrators on the ways to best reach gifted students’ needs. Gifted educators should offer staff development opportunities for their colleagues. A system-wide staff development on gifted education with a guest speaker who has research experience in gifted education would help all educators to better understand their gifted students. Although gifted students in rural schools have some challenges working against them, the rural community in which they live can rally together to support these students.
Floyd, E., McGinnis, J., & Grantham, T. (2011). Gifted education in rural environmetns. In J. A. Castellano, & A. D. Frazier (Eds), Special populations in gifted education: Understanding our most able students from diverse backgrounds (pp. 27-46). Waco, TX.: Prufrock Press.