Program Options

The following are services that can be documented in Advanced Learning Plans. The ALP process informs schools about services that will best meet the needs of the gifted learners.

Although Gifted & Talented programming exists in most PSD schools, not all program options are available at each school. Please click here to find out what is available at schools.

The best gifted programs offer a menu of options for gifted learners. For example, in-class differentiation should be taking place for gifted learners, but there might also be enrichment or acceleration options beyond that level of service.

It is also important to consider the structure (how students are grouped together, and  the timing and scheduling of a service).

All programs focus on one or more of the following program priorities:

  • Advanced Academic Performance and Achievement
  • Independent Learning and Research
  • Post-Secondary Readiness and Career Exploration
  • Social Emotional Support/Affective Needs


Elementary:

  • Enrichment: Enrichment extends the curriculum. This is sometimes a "pull-out" setting once or multiple times per week
     
  • Acceleration: Acceleration has many different meanings. It can exist as either replacement curriculum with the content of a higher grade-level or a mixture of the current grade level and the next grade level's content.
     
  • In-class Differentiation: This service is offered by teachers within the classroom setting. Teachers pre-assess and adjust the curriculum as needed in order to create respectful tasks for advanced learners. Some strategies might include accelerated pace, choice in content, open-ended projects, more complexity and depth, etc. It is important to consider that differentiation should not result in MORE work for a gifted learner.
     
  • After school enrichment opportunities: Some of these might include activities like Lego Robotics, Math Counts, Math Olympiad, or Odyssey of the Mind. These should not be the only services a school offers for advanced learners, however, they are a great addition to the menu of options.
     
  • Cluster Grouping: This practice allows schools to ?cluster? gifted learners in one classroom so that the teacher can effectively differentiate for a larger group of students. This is an example of a structure for providing differentiation or other gifted services.
     
  • Social and Emotional Interventions: Some middle schools offer GT Discussion Groups in which a counselor or trained teacher gathers GT students to discuss issues that affect their social/emotional well-being. Some of these issues might address peer relationships, academic and achievement expectations, perfectionism, post-secondary preparation, challenge, etc.


Middle School:

  • Advanced Coursework: Courses labeled Honors, IB, or Pre-AP are courses that are designed to meet the needs of advanced learners. While these courses are not exclusively for gifted learners, they do serve a role in the menu of options a school offers gifted students. A good question to ask is "What is the qualitative difference between this advanced course and the regular course?"
     
  • Accelerated Math: PSD utilizes an accelerated math program in which 5th graders are assessed and potentially placed in 7th grade math as 6th graders. At this point, students continue to learn math skills at a higher grade-level than their age peers. The program is vertically aligned so that students can continue to grow in advanced math throughout high school.
     
  • Extended Learning Opportunities: Some middle schools offer gifted services through the Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) time that is built into the schedule. In these situations, courses that are more complex or rigorous are offered to gifted learners either in an area of interest, or in a structure that allows gifted students to pursue an area of interest in a more in-depth manner. ELO offerings vary by school.
     
  • GT Class: Some middle schools offer a Gifted and Talented class that replaces the regular course. For example, students might take a GT Language Arts class if they are identified gifted in Language Arts.
     
  • Social and Emotional Interventions: Some middle schools offer GT Discussion Groups in which a counselor or trained teacher gathers GT students to discuss issues that affect their social/emotional well-being. Some of these issues might address peer relationships, academic and achievement expectations, perfectionism, post-secondary preparation, challenge, etc.
     
  • In-class Differentiation: This service is offered by teachers within the classroom setting. Teachers pre-assess and adjust the curriculum as needed in order to create respectful tasks for advanced learners. Some strategies might include accelerated pace, choice in content, open-ended projects, more complexity and depth, etc. It is important to consider that differentiation should not result in MORE work for a gifted learner.
     
  • After school enrichment opportunities: While these are excellent options for students to pursue an area of interest at deeper levels, these should not be the only services a school offers for advanced learners. They are a great addition to the menu of options


High School:

  • Social and Emotional Interventions: Some middle schools offer GT Discussion Groups in which a counselor or trained teacher gathers GT students to discuss issues that affect their social/emotional well-being. Some of these issues might address peer relationships, academic and achievement expectations, perfectionism, post-secondary preparation, challenge, etc.
     
  • In-class Differentiation: This service is offered by teachers within the classroom setting. Teachers pre-assess and adjust the curriculum as needed in order to create respectful tasks for advanced learners. Some strategies might include accelerated pace, choice in content, open-ended projects, more complexity and depth, etc. It is important to consider that differentiation should not result in more work for a gifted learner.
     
  • After school enrichment opportunities: While these are excellent options for students to pursue an area of interest at deeper levels, these should not be the only services a school offers for advanced learners.They are a great addition to the menu of options.
     
  • Advanced Coursework: AP and IB courses offer a higher level of rigor for gifted learners. These course, while they are not a gifted program are a great component to a school's overall GT program, which should include options for students to learn at advanced and rigorous levels.


Disputes about Gifted Programming:

All programming decisions are made at the site level. The principal at each school site has the final determination regarding gifted programming for a student. If you have a dispute, please speak to your child's teacher first. Contact the GT Site Coordinator or an administrator only after you have addressed your concerns with the classroom teacher. Communication regarding a decision will be made either in person or in writing.


Advanced Placement:  
The Advanced Placement Program is a cooperative educational endeavor between secondary schools and colleges and universities. Since its inception in 1955, the Program has provided motivated high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses in a high school setting. Students who participate in the Program not only gain college-level skills, but in many cases they also earn college credit while they are still in high school. AP courses are taught by dedicated and enthusiastic high school teachers who follow course guidelines developed and published by the College Board. 

Post Secondary Option:
Post-secondary enrollment options allow public school juniors and seniors to enroll in courses at Colorado public institutions of higher education. The intent of the program is two-fold: (1) to provide students with opportunities for additional academic challenge and rigor, and (2) to offer an alternative educational setting, which may stimulate interest and motivation in learning. Tuition is paid by the student's school district when the courses count toward high school graduation.