According to a recent study, “An Alternate Path: The Experience of High-Potential Individuals Who Left School”, in the October 2017 edition of Gifted Child Quarterly, about 5% of high school dropouts are gifted. For these students, dropping out “is the culmination of a process that begins long before they enter high school.”

100% of gifted individuals in this study, ages 20 to 60, cited a lack of support from the school system as a root cause of their not completing high school. The lack of academic challenge combined with teachers who did not understand their needs and an educational system that was less and less accommodating to their needs as they aged caused these once eager young learners to become disillusioned with school long before high school.

Starting with their elementary education, all of these individuals felt that no one in the school “either went out of their way for them or was able to provide them with meaningful learning opportunities.” They noted the lack of opportunities to acquire a desired deeper understanding of the curriculum. One recalled being pulled out of class and “stuck in front of a computer” for his “advanced learning” opportunity. Another recalled her teacher threatening her, saying if she did not stop daydreaming in class the teacher would pull her out of the gifted program, as if the opportunity for advanced learning was a privilege rather than a need. Yet another one recalls the frustration of having an IQ of 143 and failing everything, He questions, why didn’t anyone do something to help him.

Unlike many high school dropouts, the gifted dropouts in the study found alternate paths to adult achievement, some going into the field of gifted education. Even after finding success, these gifted learners were emotionally upset when reflecting on their years in traditional school and the feeling that they had no choice except to leave school.

The traditional school experience left these gifted children disillusioned and desperate to escape the educational system for other pathways to success. The Vanguard Model was created specifically for these learners! It offers educators who understand gifted learners and have a passion for serving their needs. No child who attends Vanguard Gifted Academy will feel they were not supported in their advanced learning and social emotional needs.

Elizabeth Blaetz
Head of School
Vanguard Gifted Academy