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 (South Ridge Elementary) or apply for the Discovery Program. 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 3rd and 6th grades as a universal screen for 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, 2, 4, and 5. Testing at these levels is solely for the purpose of possible GT identification. At this time, the CogAT is given each September.

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 (South Ridge Elementary) 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 the student.

What Does GT Look Like at South Ridge Elementary?

At South Ridge, we create ALP plans for students that have gone through a GT identification process and qualify. The ALP is written by the GT Contact (Dawn Clarke & Amber Struthers) 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 South Ridge Elementary, 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 Multi-Tiered System of Supports (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, and Curriculum Compacting, a process by which students are pre-assessed to determine what parts of the curriculum they have already mastered.

What Will This Look Like at Mesa Middle School?

Mesa Middle School has many options for different levels of learning. Teachers and the GT Contact will make recommendations based on their knowledge of the student and the choices that are offered. Parent and student input is taken into consideration as well.

What is My Role?

Our role as the GT contacts are to collaborate with our assessment coordinator with CogAT testing, coordinate the identification process as well as facilitate writing the ALP. If a parent is interested in applying for the Discovery Program, we help with that process as well. We also collaborate with teachers in writing the goals, gathering support materials, analyzing data and adjusting plans as needed. South Ridge Elementary has a long history of highly capable students, and our teachers are well versed in differentiation for all students. When needed, we work with students on specific projects or affective goals that need individualization.


Referral for Gifted Identification
Referral for Gifted Identification (Espanol)
Formulario de recomendación para la identificación de estudiantes dotados en el DCSD - Consentimiento para la evaluación, Encuesta de padres/tutores y Encuesta de estudiantes
Spanish Referral Letter 
Spanish Consent to Test Form
Douglas County School District Programming for Gifted Learners
Douglas County Association for Gifted and Talented (DCAGT)
Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented (CAGT)
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)
Colorado Department of Education, Office of Gifted Education (CDE-GT)

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