Gifted and Talented Programming
What is Gifted and Talented?
If a student is identified as Gifted and Talented (GT), they may go to their neighborhood school (Frontier Elementary) or apply for the Discovery Program which is housed 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 Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in 2nd & 5th grade (unless the school has 6th grade) as a universal screen 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. Testing at these levels is solely for the purpose of possible GT identification.
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 (FVE) 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, input from classroom teacher, parent(s), and student. 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, input from classroom teacher, parent(s), and student.
Common Myths of GT Students
- Gifted students do not need help. If they are really gifted they can manage on their own.
- Gifted students are a homogenous group, all high achievers.
- Gifted students have fewer problems than others because their intelligence and abilities somehow exempt them form the hassles of daily life.
- The future of the gifted student is assured: a world of opportunities awaits.
- Gifted students are self-directed; they know where they are heading.
- The social and emotional development of the gifted student is at the same level as his or her intellectual development.
- Gifted students are nerds and social isolates.
What does GT look like at Frontier Valley Elementary?
At Frontier Valley, we create ALP plans for students that have gone through a GT identification process and qualify. The ALP is written by the GT Contact 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 Frontier Valley, 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 Blended Learning.
What will this look like at Cimarron Middle School?
Cimarron has many options for different levels of learning. Teachers will recommend based on their knowledge of the student and the choices that are offered. Parent and student input is taken as well.
What is the GT Coordinator's Role?
My role as the GT contact is to organize and administer CogAT testing, coordinate the identification process as well as facilitate writing the ALP. If a parent is interested in applying for 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. Frontier Valley Elementary has a long history of highly capable students and our teachers are well versed in differentiation for all students.
Based on feedback from families and the Colorado Department of Education, and our commitment to increased equitable identification practices, we have made improvements to our Universal Screening process. In the spring of 2020, DCSD transitioned from the “paper pencil” CogAT to the online version. The online assessment platform provides for easier administration, faster results, and access to the directions in multiple languages other than English. (NOTE: Additional language options are in process.)
As part of this process, ALL students in 5th grade, not identified for gifted programming will take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) November 9th-21st. This assessment indicates the level and pattern of cognitive development of a student in comparison to grade and age mates. These general reasoning abilities, which start developing at birth and continue through early adulthood, are influenced by experiences gained both in and out of school.
If your child is already identified for gifted programming, they will not participate in this universal screen testing. Your Gifted Education Facilitator will contact you directly with information about this process.
Gifted Identification Referral Testing
Testing for Gifted Identification outside of the universal screening grades (5th or 6th) WILL NOT be facilitated in this November testing window. Referral testing will be offered in the Mid Year testing window.
We will provide more detailed information about this opportunity soon!
If your child is in a grade other than 5th or 6th and you believe he/she needs evaluation for Gifted Identification and Services, and you have not done so already, please initiate the Gifted Identification Referral Process by completing the referral form linked HERE
NOTE: Completing this referral form WILL NOT initiate the CogAT assessment.
Upon receipt of this form the Gifted Education Facilitator will connect with you to discuss next steps in the gifted identification process.
The Discovery Program
The application window for Discovery Program for the 2020-2021 is now OPEN.
We are currently accepting applications for placement into the Discovery Program for the 2020-2021 school year, please read and complete all portions of the application found on the links below:
In District- Elementary Discovery Program Application 2020-2021
The formal application period closes on Friday, November 22nd.
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:
- Exceptional intellectual/cognitive ability
- Documented above grade level performance in multiple content areas, and
- 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.