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Gifted & Talented

Definition of Gifted & Talented

In Colorado, gifted and talented students are included in the legal definition of exceptional students (CRS 22-20-103; CRS 22-26-101-104, 1CCR 301-8). Aurora Public Schools recognizes the obligation to provide instructional and support services to all exceptional students K-12.

Gifted and talented students are those students between the ages of five (5) and twenty-one (21) whose learning capacity and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational and affective needs. Gifted and talented students are capable of advanced learning and performance in any combination of the following:

  • Intellectual ability

  • Specific academic aptitude

  • Creative or productive thinking

  • Leadership and human relations skills

Dr. Nelson on Gifted & Talented Education

High Potential Learners

In our classrooms we have many students who may not be identified as gifted, but who demonstrate high potential as learners, leaders, and producers. These students also need appropriate programming; including the opportunity to work with rich and demanding curriculum that can bring potential and promise to the surface. Close monitoring of these students may lead to gifted identification.

The Gifted & Talented Identification Process

The purpose of the Gifted & Talented identification process is to match students’ academic and affective needs with services that will afford them the opportunity to demonstrate academic growth. The emphasis should not be on the “gifted” label, but on student learning needs. The nomination and assessment process is as follows:

    1. Student Search: This involves the active searching for students who perform or show potential for performing at exceptional levels when compared with those of similar age, language skills, experience, or environment. Nominations are made by any knowledgeable person: school staff, parents/guardians, peers and/or self.

    2. Nomination: During the nomination phase, supporting evidence (i.e., cognitive and culture free measures, academic aptitude and performance, language acquisition skills, and teacher, parent, and student feedback, etc.) is collected by the school’s AGATE team.

    3. Recognition/Identification and Services: Each school’s AGATE team reviews the nominations and makes decisions regarding the services needed to meet each student’s academic and affective needs. An Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is designed.

    4. Review: AGATE students’ growth and achievement is closely monitored. Students will have an annual ALP review to determine the appropriateness of his/her differentiated services; however, a review may occur at any time, as needed. Student progress is recorded and shared with parents/guardians. Conferencing will be necessary for a change in service.

Testing & Scoring Presentation for Parents


    • Colorado’s State Gifted and Talented Education Guidelines, Colorado Department of Education

    • Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (C.R.S. 22-20-101 et seq.)

    • Gifted and Talented Students (C.R.S. 22-26-101 et seq.)

    • Fast Track Program (C.R.S. 22-34-101 et seq.)

    • Mary Ruth Colemann, Ph. D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    • Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act (C.R.S. 22-35-101 et seq.)

    • The Parallel Curriculum, A Service Publication of the National Association for Gifted Children, Carol Ann Tomlinson, Sandra N. Kaplan, Joseph Renzulli, Jeanne Purcell, Jann Leppien, Deborah Burns, 2002.

Gifted and Talented FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Gifted & Talented

1. What are some characteristics of a gifted child?

A gifted child may show strengths in many of the following areas: communication, motivation, humor, inquiry, insight, interests, problem solving, memory, reasoning, imagination/creativity, leadership, and language acquisition.

2. Can a child be both learning-disabled and gifted?

Yes. A “twice-exceptional” child exhibits remarkable talents or strengths in some areas and disabling weaknesses in others. Special considerations are made for these students when designing appropriate services.

3. If one of my children is identified as gifted, does that mean that his/her brothers or sisters will be too?

When one child from a family has been identified as gifted, it is recommended that all children from that family be considered for Gifted & Talented nomination.

4. How will my child’s education be different if they are identified as advanced or gifted?

Instruction may be at a more advanced level, quicker pace, more in-depth and require students to think at higher levels. Students may participate in special projects, special classes, interest-based research, as well as, have opportunities to work with other high potential/gifted students.

When appropriate educational programming for gifted students is provided, you can expect the following:

    • Students will demonstrate measurable growth, sometimes more than a year of growth, in their strength area, for every year they are in school.

    • Students will be challenged. School work will not be easy for them.

5. What kind of training do teachers of gifted students receive?

Teachers have access to in-district training as well as outside district conferences and workshops. The APS Gifted & Talented Department works directly with Gifted & Talented leaders in every school to provide classroom teachers with necessary training and support.

6. Are there schools for gifted students in Aurora Public Schools?

Yes, Aurora Quest K-8 is designed for gifted students in grades K through eight. For more information contact Aurora Quest K-8 at 303-343-3664.

7. What can I read that will help me learn more about gifted?

    • Reaching New Horizons: Gifted and Talented Education for Culturally Diverse Students - J. A. Castellano and E.I. Diaz

    • Growing Up Gifted - Barbara Clark

    • The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids

Gifted and Talented Resources