Gifted Coach

Ashlawn’s Gifted Coach


Ms. Donna Bertch (Right)

After teaching in Fairfax County for 15 years, and overseas for a few more as the mom in a foreign service family, I’m so pleased to be here for a third year in Arlington at Ashlawn working with teachers, students, and our administration to support our gifted learners.  I am originally from California and attended Occidental College in Los Angeles.  After serving in the Peace Corps in Liberia, I earned my Master’s Degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins and my teaching credential with a Virginia State Endorsement for Gifted Education through George Mason.  I live in Falls Church with my husband in a very friendly neighborhood, and enjoy visits from my three adult children whenever they are in town! Walking, hiking, cooking, reading (usually for my book club of 20 years!) and travel are my idea of fun!  My favorite children’s book is Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.

Gifted Services

Arlington Public Schools is dedicated to maximizing the strengths and potential of all students so they may become self-confident, well-rounded, responsible and productive citizens. Believing that each and every individual has merit, Arlington Public Schools recognizes that certain learners within the school population have unique abilities, interests, needs, and potential for accomplishment. Gifted students need opportunities to think abstractly, work at various rates and levels of complexity, and pursue tasks independently. In addition, students eligible for gifted services need opportunities to learn with others of like abilities, as well as opportunities to develop socio-emotional. Gifted services are implemented through school-based and countywide activities, which comply with School Board and State objectives.  School-based services are delivered in the following ways:

  • According to a collaborative resource model in which the classroom teacher works with the resource teacher for the gifted to develop and present appropriately differentiated learning experiences for gifted students within the general education classroom
  • In the general education classroom setting with identified students cluster-grouped (minimum of 5 – 8) and through a variety of flexible groupings based on ongoing data
  • With teachers who are specifically trained in instructional needs of and curriculum written for gifted students
  • Through curricula which are differentiated or extended from concepts in the general education curriculum, and when appropriate, through opportunities for acceleration and extension

To learn more about the gifted program in Arlington Public Schools please explore the Gifted Services district site page.