Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Heather Schugar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karen Dickinson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Pauline Schmidt, Ph.D.


This study provided gifted middle school student participants the opportunity to discuss the complexities of gifted culture in academia as they have experienced it. This study also sought to pinpoint the emotions or feelings that students and their parents experienced as they transition to high school concerning their perceived sense of confidence and readiness as it pertained to executive function. Gen Z students deemed "gifted" are at a higher risk for depression and suicide due to the rising levels of stress and anxiety they experience (Andrews, 2014). Klimkeit et al. (2011) discovered that teenagers with depression and/or anxiety disorders exhibited impairments in working memory and processing speed, which are crucial executive skills. Experts advocate the use of mindfulness activities to develop and refine executive functioning skills in gifted students to enhance their mental and emotional well-being (Sisk, 2021). Because gifted students are educated in elementary and intermediate schools in a systematic and assisted manner, the need to hone executive functioning skills in these settings is reduced. The issue arises when students enroll in advanced courses in high school, which require them to exhibit complex executive functions. Many previous studies have neglected to include the perspectives and experiences of adolescents immersed in gifted culture regularly, and this case study chose to do the opposite by amplifying these voices. Using focus groups, surveys, webinars as interventions, and student reflection, the findings of this study suggest that gifted students benefit from explicit instruction about executive function, the practicality and application of these skills, and a non-judgmental space to practice honing these skills and reflecting on these strategies.