Gifted & Talented

Gifted & Talented


Who are the Gifted and Talented?

Gifted and talented students are those students between the ages of four and twenty-one whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted students include students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic and ethnic, cultural populations. Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas:

  • General or Specific Intellectual Ability

  • Specific Academic Aptitude

  • Creative or Productive Thinking

  • Leadership Abilities

  • Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Musical or Psychomotor Abilities

What does it mean to be Gifted & Talented in Douglas County?

If a student is identified as GT, he/she may go to his/her neighborhood school (Flagstone) or apply for the Discovery Program that is at another school. The Discovery Program is designed for those students who have needs so intense that they cannot be met in a regular classroom. All students in Douglas County are given the CogAT, Cognitive Abilities Test, in second & sixth grade as a universal screener for early intervention. If there is a need for a student to take the CogAT in another grade due to teacher recommendation or parent request, that is possible at grades 1, 3, 4 & 5. Testing at these levels is solely for the purpose of possible GT identification. At this time, the CogAT is given to sixth grade students in the fall and second grade students in the spring.

Second and Sixth Grade Information on CogAT Testing

We use the CogAT as a universal screening tool for all second grade and sixth grade students. Scores and reports from this universal testing will be used as one piece of data to inform instruction for all students, not only for advanced learners. Please see the linked letter below for more information about this year's testing window.

Information on Referral CogAT Testing

Teachers or parents may make a referral to test in the fall for grades 1, 3, 4, or 5 who have demonstrated the need for advanced programming, differentiated instruction, or advanced learning needs. If students grasp concepts quickly, need additional depth, complexity, and/or creative expression a referral might be necessary. Referral testing is not for all students. Referral testing will take place at the neighborhood school only during the stated CogAT window; separate Saturday testing will NOT be provided, nor will another testing window be provided. Referral students must have a signed Consent to Test/Gifted Identification form and a Parent Observation Form (linked below). There will not be another CogAT testing window later in the year.

Please fill out the form below to initiate the Gifted Identification process for your child.

DCSD Gifted Ed Referral Form & Consent to Evaluate

CogAT Assessment Excusal Form

If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Hurley, FSE's GT Facilitator at melissa.hurley@dcsdk12.org or 303-387-5225.

What is an ALP?

An ALP is an Advanced Learning Plan. All students that are identified as GT have an ALP whether they go to their neighborhood school (Flagstone) or a Discovery School. The decision to create an ALP comes from an identification process that looks at a body of evidence that includes many data points including CogAT, classroom work/assessments, other standardized measures, and input from classroom teacher, parent(s), and student.

What does GT look like at Flagstone?

At Flagstone, we create ALP plans for students that have gone through a GT identification process and qualify for GT programming. The ALP is written by the GT Facilitator in collaboration with classroom teachers, students, and parents. The ALP formalizes the differentiation that the classroom teacher does for the students in their identified area(s) as well as affective needs. At Flagstone, we value and support the depth and complexity of knowledge, not just what grade level a concept may be. All students in our building read and write at their highest independent level. Sometimes additional grouping is needed in the area of mathematics. Our MTSS team collaborates to make the best determination of what that looks like year to year. Some strategies that we use to meet needs at our building are flexible grouping in reading and math, content acceleration, grade level acceleration, independent study, curriculum, compacting, and blending learning.

What will GT look like at Mesa Middle School?

Mesa has many options for different levels of learning. Teachers will recommend based on their knowledge of each student and the choices that are offered. Parent and student input is taken as well.

What is the role of the GT Facilitator?

My role as the GT Facilitator is to coordinate CogAT testing, data collection, identification process, as well as facilitate writing the ALP. If a parent is interested in applying for their student to be admitted to the Discovery Program, I help with that process as well. I also collaborate with teachers in writing the goals, gathering support materials, analyzing data, and adjusting plans as needed.

Discovery Program

The Discovery Program is a self-contained, center based, magnet program for highly gifted learners located regionally at four elementary school sites in Douglas County. The program is intended for those students who require intensity of instruction and acceleration beyond what can reasonably be expected from the regular school gifted programming.

Due to the intensive nature of the Discovery Program, a body of evidence is needed to determine the best match between student and programming. Information considered includes documented cognitive ability, standardized achievement data, classroom performance data, student, parent, and teacher input. Three major criteria for placement are

1) Exceptional intellectual/cognitive ability

2) Documented above grade level performance in multiple content areas, and

3) no below grade level performance in any content area.

Multiple criteria will be considered in the placement process to provide evidence of the best match between student academic need and the rigorous environment of the program.

Please visit the DCSD Gifted Education Webpage linked HERE for more information and application materials.

 

General Resources

Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented (CAGT)

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)

CDE Office of Gifted Education

Douglas County Association for Gifted and Talented (DCAGT)

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Douglas County School District Nondiscrimination Notice: In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 303-387-0067. Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.