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The Cluster Grouping Handbook: A Schoolwide Model
How to Challenge Gifted Students and Improve Achievement for All
Susan Winebrenner, M.S., and Dina Brulles, Ph.D. 
The Cluster Grouping Handbook: A Schoolwide Model
In today’s standards-driven era, how can teachers motivate and challenge gifted students and ensure that all students reach their potential? This book provides a compelling answer: the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model (SCGM). The authors explain how the model differs from grouping practices of the past, and they present a roadmap for implementing, sustaining, and evaluating schoolwide cluster grouping. Practitioners will find a wealth of teacher-tested classroom strategies along with detailed information on identifying gifted students for clusters, gaining support from parents, and providing ongoing professional development. Special attention is directed toward empowering gifted English language learners.

Digital content features customizable reproducible forms from the book plus a PowerPoint presentation designed for teacher in-service training.

An essential resource for administrators, gifted education program directors, and classroom teachers. 


View the authors' free webinar: The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model: Challenging Gifted Students and Improving Achievement for All.



  Downloads from The Cluster Grouping Handbook

Benefits of the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model
Gifted Education Programming: How to Know if Change is Necessary in Your School


Watch this video to see how author Dina Brulles and other educators at Paradise Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, Arizona, are using the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model and learn how it can benefit students in your school.

View where you can purchase the eBook

Reproducible handoutsCD-ROM with PowerPoint presentation

See Icon Key    

224 pages, softcover, black and white, 8½" x 11", For teachers and administrators, grades K–8, ISBN 978-1-57542-279-4


"With this one book alone, you could revamp a whole school system, one school at a time. With this concept of cluster grouping, a school district could save all the costs of a self-contained or pull-out gifted program. And if you take this flat out declaration seriously, The Cluster Grouping Handbook will do all the thinking, all the planning, all the charting, and all the predicting you will ever the ultimate meticulous detail. This is not an exaggeration. Every finite element for planning has been the book! It has wonderful ideas." —Gifted Education Communicator

“This book has been a valuable resource in setting up our GATE Clusters to meet the needs of all students. Cluster grouping has proven to be very successful in building the programs required to challenge and enrich our classrooms.”—Tony Peterson, principal, Russell Ranch School, FCUSD (Folsom Cordova, CA)

“Using SCGM throughout the entire Tulpehocken elementary learning community is increasing success for all students.”—Lisa Kiss, director of Special Education, Tulpehacken, Pennsylvania

“I used The Cluster Grouping Handbook as a gifted-cluster teacher with great success. When I oversaw the implementation of the schoolwide cluster model at my school, it became my ‘go-to guide’ because it provides concrete, immediately usable tools for managing differentiation in the classroom. I continue to use it in my current position as the gifted coordinator for my district; it is truly one of my staples in professional development for cluster teachers.”—Kim Lanese, M.Ed., gifted coordinator at Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, Arizona
In the Real World

The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model: Real Results for a Real School

I was hired at Lakeside Farms for the 2005–6 school year. At the time, our API score was 775, which ranked us #5 out of 6 district elementary sites. Susan Winebrenner delivered professional development to my staff the following year, and followed up with discussions with some of my teachers on my site. We read The Cluster Grouping Handbook (coauthored by Susan and Dina Brulles), which describes the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model (SCGM) Susan had presented to the staff, and began employing her "purposeful grouping strategies." We also greatly added to our GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program offerings by following Susan's advice regarding extension activities and compacting curriculum.

As I sit here now, our 2009–10 API score is 858. We have set all-time district highs in API scores the past three years in a row, and I strongly credit our implementation of Susan's practices. The SCGM has provided our staff the pedagogical tools to increase student achievement.—Scott Goergens, Principal, Lakeside Farms Elementary School, Lakeside, California

The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model: How it Works for One Family

"My son is someone who does not fit readily into the K-12 system as is likely the case with all 2e kids. He is a creative, free thinker with moments of breath taking brilliance, but in the confines of a normal classroom he can easily wither into mediocrity or worse. Fortunately, he ended up in a school district that uses The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model. As a result, he is currently finishing up first grade with a flourish. While there are many benefits to my son in the gifted cluster classroom, the biggest benefit to him this year is his teacher. When she chose to be the gifted cluster first grade teacher, she took on this assignment with impressive vigor by participating in the necessary training to learn about educating gifted children. When my son's school year began, she was only vaguely familiar with the concept of the 2e student; however, her experience as a gifted cluster teacher and the corresponding experience in teaching unique children allowed her to quickly learn how to bring out the gifts of my son while simultaneously minimizing his challenges. But for his placement in the gifted cluster classroom, I do not believe that my son would have had such a successful year." —Gretchen K., mom

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Item No: 22794W

Price: $39.99


Related materials:
Expert Approaches to Support Gifted Learners
A collaboration with the California Association for the Gifted and edited by Margaret Wayne Gosfield 
Making Differentiation a Habit
Diane Heacox, Ed.D. 
Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom
Susan Winebrenner, M.S., and Dina Brulles, Ph.D. 
The Principal’s Survival Guide
Susan Stone Kessler, Ed.D.April M. Snodgrass, M.Ed., and Andrew T. Davis, Ed.D. 
The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids eBook
Jim Delisle, Ph.D., and Barbara A. Lewis 

What People Are Saying

"The benefits to gifted students are incontrovertible...a must-have that should be a part of any school's, district's, or university's professional library." —Jaime A. Castellano, Ed.D., Education Program Specialist, Office of Language Acquisition Services, Arizona Department of Education

"Cluster a strategy that works for every learner, and this handbook gives us an amazingly detailed step-by-step process to follow to make it a success from the very start." —Sanford J. Cohn, Ph.D., Coauthor (with Barbara Kerr) of Smart Boys

"Represents an evolutionary step in the field of gifted education."
Jack A. Naglieri, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Director, School Psychology Program, George Mason University , Fairfax, Virginia