Gifted Education at Soaring Hawk Elementary

Supporting Gifted Learners To Reach Their Full Potential

The Douglas County School District uses a Response to Intervention (RtI) framework to guide instructional decisions in order to meet the needs of all learners, including those with advanced learning needs. The continuum of programming for Gifted and Talented learners includes Neighborhood Schools Programming at the elementary and secondary levels and the Discovery Program Magnet in grades 2 through 6. For students whose needs are so extensive that they cannot be met in the traditional classroom setting, the Discovery Program Magnet for gifted learners may be an appropriate placement.

Neighborhood Programming-GT

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) guiding principles indicate, "rather than any single gifted program, a continuum of programming services must exist for gifted learners." Each elementary school is served by a gifted education contact. The contact will collaborate/consult with classroom teachers to appropriately extend the content for identified gifted students. The contact may also provide direct instruction to cluster groups of gifted students in and out of the classroom setting, as determined by student academic need.

Each school site provides for high-ability learners in the classroom through the implementation of some or all of the following strategies:

  • Differentiated instruction
  • Curriculum compacting
  • Content acceleration
  • Grade level acceleration
  • Mentorships
  • Tiered assignments
  • Flexible grouping
  • Independent study
  • Project-based learning
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Identification

The NAGC recommends that all students have the opportunity to participate in the screening process for identification to ensure equitable access to programming. In accordance with state and national guidelines, the Gifted Education department has developed a process to gather data in order to match appropriate services to identified student need.

  • Components of identification:
  • Student Aptitude
  • Student Achievement
  • Student Performance (or conversely, high ability/underachieving students)
  • Student Interest
  • Observable Behaviors (classroom)
  • Observable Behaviors (home and community)
Gifted and Talented Who We Serve
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

Gifted Programming is designed to meet the academic, social/ emotional, and behavioral needs of students identified with advanced learning needs. Teachers in the classroom differentiate instruction as students demonstrate a need for more depth and complexity.

Resource:  Douglas County School District's Website 

Want more information about the district's Discovery Program? 
Douglas County School District has four Magnet Schools for Gifted & Talented programming.  This format is typically referred to as the Discovery Program.  The four schools that provide Discovery Programs are Acres Green and Northridge Elementary in Highlands Ranch, Pine Lane Elementary in Parker, and Renaissance in Castle Rock. More information about Neighborhood Programming and the Discovery Program can be found at the following link.

Placement in the Discovery Program is based on "documented advanced cognitive ability as evidenced by the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) provided by the district, above grade level performance, advanced CSAP, parent, teacher, and student input."  The deadline for 2015-2016 school year is December 1, 2014.

Neighborhood schools have a person designated as the GT Contact, who helps classroom teachers write, implement and monitor GT students' Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs).  Classroom teachers differentiate to meet the needs of their GT students and sometimes work with grade level teammates to compact the curriculum and accelerate learning.  Some schools may offer enrichment programs, which are held during or before/after the school day, depending on the program.

Want to read the most recent DCSD GT Newsletter?  
It has great information and is a wealth of resources!

Quick Links
CogAT Testing
In DCSD, CogAT testing is provided once a year at our elementary schools.  The testing window is typically in early September.  For the 2014-2105 SY, CogAT testing occurred September 9th-11th for 3rd graders. All 3rd graders take the CogAT each year at their school site.  There is no paperwork that needs to be completed in order to have your third grader tested.  Testing is provided for all 3rd graders as a way to collect important educational data on all district students.  

New for the fall of 2015--all 6th graders will be taking the CogAT.  More information to follow!!

During the same window, referral testing is also available.  For the 2014-2015 SY, referral testing will take place the week of September 8th.  Referral for CogAT testing is limited to those students who are new to Douglas County and/or have not previously taken the CogAT test.  Any 4th, 5th or 6th grade student who does not yet have CogAT data may be referred for testing.  Students in 1st and 2nd grade will receive CogAT testing in 3rd Grade.  Only those who demonstrate abilities or talents that are "so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs" should be referred for testing.
The CogAT testing referral 
window is now CLOSED.
All requests were due to Leanne Forbes, 
GT Facilitator, by August 22nd.  
(Numbers must be finalized and testing booklets ordered, so late requests cannot be honored.)
Click here for more information!
The Consent to Test Form is located here.