Gifted and Talented Programming

* Students with an ALP- Parents will be receiving information about ALP development for the 20-21 school year in the next few weeks. ALP’s will be completed no later than September 30, 2020.

What is Gifted and Talented?

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.

  • To better understand the difference between a gifted learner, a high achiever and a critical thinker click here.
  • If you have a student who has been identified as gifted and you would like some tips on how to talk to them, click here.


Discovery Programing:

Discovery Program is designed to meet the needs of gifted elementary school students (2nd to 6th grade) who require intensity of instruction and acceleration beyond what can reasonably be expected from the regular school programming. A Discovery Program is located at Renaissance ELOB as well as other District elementary schools. Please visit the District website for identification and application information located under the "Discovery Program" tab.


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.

Social-Emotional resources for parents and students:

Twice-Exceptional Students Twice-exceptional students are those students who are identified as gifted and talented in one or more areas of exceptionality (specific academics, general intellectual ability, creativity, leadership, visual or performing arts);

AND ALSO identified with:

A disability defined by Federal/State eligibility criteria: specific emotional learning disability, significant identifiable disability, physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, autism, or ADHD. The disability qualifies the student for an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan. Please visit the Douglas County School District site for more information located in the "Special Education" site.

  • Resources:

CDE Twice Exceptional Resource Guide

Intervention Central

Douglas County Special Education Advisory Committee

2e Newsletter

Gifted and SLD Topic Brief

LD Online

Uniquely Gifted

National Center for Learning Disabilities

Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity

Hoagies 2eBlog Hop

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)
Center for Bright Kids
Ricks Center
Gifted Development Center

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Douglas County School District Nondiscrimination Notice: In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado,, 303-387-0067. Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.