Gifted and Talented Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Gifted Education Program in PSD?
The Gifted Education Program in Poudre School District is committed to identifying and serving gifted learners. All schools in the district identify gifted learners based on a body of evidence that indicates high potential, write Advanced Learning Plans for all gifted learners, and serve gifted students by differentiating instruction, providing enrichment opportunities, or providing specific services based on the needs of gifted learners.

Who should I contact first about my gifted child?
Each school has a Gifted and Talented Site Coordinator. This staff member coordinates any identification efforts and is a liaison between the district office and the school site. The GT Site Coordinator should have the most updated information about gifted identification and services available at their school. For a list of GT Site Coordinators, please visit this site.

Who do I talk to about my child's Advanced Learning Plan (ALP)?
If you have questions about your child's ALP, the first person to contact will be your child's teacher in the area in which your child is identified (a specific content area such as Math or Language Arts). The classroom teachers have access to all Advanced Learning Plans and can help guide you if you have more questions. 

How are students identified in PSD?
Gifted students are identified based on a body of evidence that includes achievement scores, intellectual ability scores, and behavior rating scales. Performance indicators are most often used for additional information in the body of evidence. Students who have three qualifying scores of 95th percentile or higher in at least two categories of the body of evidence will have an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) in the area of strength (such as a content area, creativity, visual arts, music, or leadership).

All 2nd graders take the Cognitive Abilities Test, and the CogAT along with CSAP and MAP are used in the initial body of evidence.


How are students new to PSD identified?
Students who move from another school district WITHIN the state of Colorado will maintain their gifted identification through portability.  If the student moves in from out of state, a gifted identification specialist will review all test scores provided for the child and determine whether the body of evidence is sufficient for a gifted identification or if additional testing is needed.

Who do I talk with if I feel my child could benefit from more challenge?
Contact your child's teacher to discuss your child's needs and additional services. 

Which school should my gifted student attend?
Each school has different strengths and different programs based on the curriculum and resources available at the school. Though PSD does not have a designated gifted magnet school, each school is encouraged to offer rigorous coursework for advanced learners. You can visit this website here to see what different schools offer for gifted learners. If the school has not posted current GT information on their website, please contact the GT Site Coordinator for more specific and up-to-date information.

What GT opportunities are there for English Language Learners?
English Language Learners have specific needs in terms of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Teachers receive professional development on ways to differentiate instruction for students learning English. Teachers look at growth and behaviors as well as achievement and aptitude scores when considering students for gifted services.

Are there classes I can take to learn more about giftedness?
Poudre School District offers SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) groups for parents of gifted learners at all levels on an annual basis.  Please contact Caity Sahimi (csahimi@psdschools.org) for more information about these groups.


Are there services available for affective needs of gifted students?
Some schools do offer GT Discussion Groups for gifted learners that focus on topics such as perfectionism, confidence, motivation, self-esteem, stress, self-expectations, underachievement, and social relationships. Books such as When Gifted Kids Don't have All the Answers by James R. Delisle and The Gifted Kids? Survival Guide by Judy Galbraith are great books that address the social and emotional needs of gifted learners. 

What is the distinction between GT identification and qualifications for advanced classes?
Advanced classes require evidence of high achievement and potential. Gifted identification looks at scores in the area of achievement, aptitude and behaviors in the 95th percentile. While sometimes these scores overlap, an advanced class might have different criteria than gifted identification. Because advanced classes have a faster pace and require a student to go deeper into the content, certain skills and characteristics (such as work habits, attendance, past performance, and motivation) are considered before enrollment in an advanced course. These courses can be of great benefit to a gifted learner as they allow them to work at a faster pace in an environment with other motivated students.

What role does outside testing (e.g. IQ) play in the identification process?
Poudre School District uses a body of evidence to support GT identification. If your child has had previous testing done, scores will need to be submitted to the GT Site Coordinator. The GT Site Coordinator will then determine which areas of the body of evidence (achievement, aptitude, demonstrated behaviors, or performance) are addressed through previous scores. The gifted site coordinator will work with an identification specialist to determine which areas of the body of evidence are addressed through previous scores.

How do I refer my student for review for gifted eligibility?
Contact your GT Site Coordinator for the most up-to-date information about gifted identification. The GT Site Coordinator will start reviewing current assessment data and evidence to determine if testing for GT is the next step. This process might take several weeks as evidence is gathered. Classroom teachers are also part of the process as they will observe your student's learning behaviors in the classroom.

Is there a test for giftedness?
There is no single test for giftedness. A "body of evidence" is used to determine a child's potential. In this manner, no single test is the gatekeeper for gifted identification. 

Are students in the program for all the years they attend PSD schools?
Once identified gifted, students will have an Advanced Learning Plan for the remainder of their PSD education unless you wish to opt out. Gifted identification, however, does not guarantee specific GT services. Services and programs are matched to strength areas of the student, and each site will determine which services best meet the needs of the school's gifted population. An Advanced Learning Plan will document agreements between parents, teachers, and students regarding GT services available.

What happens once a student is identified as gifted?
Once a student is identified, an Advanced Learning Plan will be written and implemented. The Advanced Learning Plan will initiate collaboration between the parents, students, and teachers regarding educational opportunities for your student.

How is the ALP communicated to parents?
ALPs are available for review at any time. Your child's school will communicate yearly with parents about updates, changes, or new goals or interventions on the ALP.

Will the ALP move to the next grade/school with my student?
ALPs travel with the student from one year to the next, regardless of a change in schools. If your child changes schools mid-year, contact the GT Site Coordinator to expedite the process of transferring documents from the previous school. 

How does an ALP correspond with being in advanced classes or honors classes?
ALPs are individualized based on strengths, needs, and interests. Advanced or honors classes are a way for schools to provide challenge to your student through a more rigorous format of instruction. An ALP does not mean that your student will automatically be in an advanced class. While these classes are meant to be more challenging, there are criteria that must be met in order to be placed in one of these classes. An advanced class can be an intervention for a gifted learner, but not all learners are prescribed the same intervention. Gifted students sometimes need support in organizational or study skills before an advanced class can be a successful option.

How will the ALP benefit my child?
Because an ALP follows each student from grade-level to grade-level and from school to school, teachers know when a student has previously been identified gifted. The ALP is documentation of strengths, interests, and goals. Because the ALP documents high potential, teachers will be aware of this potential from year to year. The ALP also provides individual consideration of strengths when determining instructional options for students.

Does an ALP mean more work for my student?
An ALP is not designed to be more work for students. It is a way for students to possibly do different work. It provides a format for which students and teachers can make educational decisions for your child based on strengths, interests, and needs.