Growing Our Gifted Program

Take a deeper look at Launch’s gifted elementary programming, and learn what’s new for year two!
By Savannah Waszczuk

Launch Virtual Learning’s gifted programming was an instant hit with elementary learners statewide last year. “Some of the students who join us are from small districts that don’t have gifted programming offered in the seated classroom,” says Elicia Ligon, a Launch curriculum writer & gifted education teacher. “These types of students especially enjoyed having others to talk with about things like Rubik’s Cubes and Harry Potter.” 

 But, that was so last year! As we move into year 2 of offering gifted elementary programming, we’re preparing new themes for our gifted online learners to explore. “These kids are big thinkers, and they’re excited,” Elicia says. “It’s fun for us to find ways to keep them engaged.” 


Elicia teams up with Dee Kerr, who is also a Launch curriculum writer and gifted education teacher, to write elementary gifted content. “We write gifted units for Phelps Center for Gifted Education at Springfield Public Schools,” Dee says. “As we go through this process, we also find ways for our curriculum to be formatted to work for our Launch courses.”

 The team began writing virtual gifted content soon after March 2020 as a result of COVID-19 causing students to finish out their years in the virtual environment. “At first it was a bit of a challenge, because a lot of the gifted classes we write for Phelps are very hands on,” Dee says. “But we’ve learned a lot since that time, and it’s been really neat to see our ideas come to life in a different way.” 


“While our curriculum is focused on core subjects, a lot of the gifted content revolves around taking the student’s interests and exploring topics further,” Dee says. “We find ways to keep peer interaction high.” The team at Phelps Center works to build affective thinking skills—such as communication, problem solving, networking and curiosity—into its lessons, all while using the University of Kansas's College and Career Competency Wheel as a guide.

What’s New in 2022? 

Flexible live times!: Per partner request, we have added more flexible live times to our gifted course offerings. 
Gifted 1-3: Superheroes (Quarter 1); By the Dozens (Quarter 2)
Gifted 4-5: Alternative Energy (Quarter 1); Mystery-ology (Quarter 2)