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Gifted and Talented

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SHERIDAN Schools Gifted and Talented Education



Sheridan School district has adopted and follows the definition of gifted learners from the Colorado Department of Education’s Gifted Education division:


"Gifted and talented children” are those learners between the ages of four and 21 whose abilities, talents, and/or potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. 


Gifted students include students with disabilities (i.e., twice-exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic and cultural populations.  Gifted students are capable of high performance, extraordinary production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:


=      General or specific intellectual abilities

=      Specific academic aptitude

=      Creative or productive thinking

=      Leadership abilities

=      Visual arts, performing arts or musical abilities

=      Psychomotor abilities





Why is gifted identification important?  What are the benefits of identification and programming?


“Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation, but children have the right to develop their talent, their ability and their motivation!” ~ John F. Kennedy


The benefits of gifted education are many.  It is a myth that gifted children can “make it” on their own.  They need teachers who understand that they need a different pace, have a different style of learning and may need different conditions in order to meet their greatest potential. Along with advanced content and a quicker pace of instruction in the content areas, gifted learners also have affective, or social and emotional needs.  Asynchronous development is a challenge, along with emotional intensities that may include perfectionism, anxiety and sensory sensitivities.  When these topics are acknowledged and addressed early, gifted learners have a greater chance of graduating from high school, entering a post-secondary setting or the workforce as confident, healthy and productive citizens.  Gifted children need cognitive peers who think as they do, work at the pace, and have the same quirky needs.

For our secondary learners, including their areas of strength and giftedness on college applications and resumes are an advantage.  They may also have greater success in obtaining internships and working with mentors in a field of their interest or passion.

What options are available to gifted learners in Sheridan School District?

All identified students in Colorado should be placed on an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP), which provides goals and strategies for a student’s designated strength area.  This is meant to be a collaborative process including input from the parent, student and teacher, in order to create a meaningful, relevant plan for all stakeholders. In Sheridan School District, Advanced Learning Plans are “housed” in the Infinite Campus system along with other learning plans (not IEPs).  Classroom teachers have access to the plans and can modify the plans at any time based on goals, achievement of goals, adjustment to goals, or completion of goals. 

Advanced Learning Plans are updated each year and monitored three times (two times at a minimum) throughout the year:

1.   At the beginning (August-October) of the year, learners set academic and affective SMART goals (shared with Parents/Guardian at Fall Conference)

2.   Mid-year (January-February)- monitor progress of goals (shared with Parents/Guardian at Spring Conference), and

3.   At the end of the year (May- evaluate the SMART goals to determine if the goals were met, or not met.





Identified Gifted learners in Sheridan schools are cluster grouped with other identified gifted learners so that they have both an academic and social/emotional peer group.  “The practice of cluster grouping can provide full-time academic services to gifted students without major budget implications, and it has the potential to raise achievement for all students.” (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2008, p. 3)  At the secondary level, advanced level and honors classes as well as concurrent enrollment at Arapahoe Community College (ACC) are available.  Students are also content accelerated into off-grade-level courses when necessary.  Grade level acceleration is also a consideration in some cases, using a full Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) process and the Iowa Acceleration Scales (IAS- a tool to gather a body of evidence that can assist in the decision making) to guide the process.



Students who have both an Advanced Learning Plan and either a Special Education IEP or 504 are considered Twice Exceptional (2e).  2e students often have unique challenges.   



According to the Colorado Department of Education: Twice-exceptional students are those who are identified as gifted according to state criteria in one or more of the categories of giftedness (cognitive, academic, creative, leadership, or arts).

 Identified with a disability according to federal/state criteria – and the disability qualifies them for either an IEP or a 504 plan.


How are students in Sheridan School District IDENTIFIED as GIFTED LEARNERS?

Educators and Parents are encouraged to refer any student for consideration of the gifted and talented identification process!


Contact the GT Staff if you would like to know more:  

Coordinator- Dr. Blanche Kapushion [email protected]

GT Resource Teacher- Connolly Sherwood   [email protected]

(Neither member of this team is a full time employee – please be patient if we don’t respond immediately – we promise to get back to you as we can.)

a.   In Sheridan Schools, we are a small community who advocates for the best practices, educational setting and opportunities for all of our learners.  

b.   If a parent or educator feels a learner has exceptional skills, talents, or abilities and wish to have a learner considered for gifted and talented services, a referral is made to the GT Coordinator or GT Support Teachers.

                               i.   A referral is submitted – this can be a simple email or phone call to a teacher, administrator or gifted education staff member 

                              ii.   Cognitive testing is administered by the GT Coordinator or GT Resource teacher

                             iii.   If the learner scores at the 95th percentile or higher, other data is collected to fulfill the identification process in accordance with CDE’s portability requirements (Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS), achievement data, parent and teacher input)

                             iv.   A team of GT educators will review the profile and determine eligibility for an ALP and/or talent pool designation.

                              v.   Family notification is completed and

                             vi.   Upon GT identification, a “flag” is created in Infinite Campus and an ALP is created in Infinite Campus by the GT Coordinator or GT Resource Teacher.


2.   In Sheridan Schools, a Universal Screening process occurs at the 2nd grade at Alice Terry Elementary.

i.   In late September of each school year, ALL 2nd grade students engage in the CogAT 7 assessment during their regular school day with their homeroom teacher in the computer lab.

 ii.   Data obtained from the CogAT7 will determine who will need further assessment, family input and other data gathered for the identification process during the month of October.

 iii.   In November of each year, the GT Team will review the evidence and make a determination of GT identification and areas of strength to be included on the ALP.

 iv.   Families will be notified by the end of November the status of the identification: identified as a gifted learners with specific area of strength; talent pool; or not qualified for gifted services.

 v.   The GT Coordinator or GT Support teacher will enter the “flag” in Infinite Campus and create the initial ALP in Infinite Campus. 


WHO are the Gifted Education Support team members in Sheridan Schools?



Gifted Education Coordinator:


         Gifted Education Support Teacher: 

           Sarina Compoz       [email protected]

         Gifted Education Building Lead Teachers:

Alice Terry Elementary
Nicole Grommeck
NGrommeck[email protected]  
Fort Logan Northgate 3-5Brianna Hui[email protected] 
Fort Logan Northgate MS

Sheridan High SchoolChristen Rogers de Reyes[email protected] 
SOAR AcademyTodd Legge[email protected]


How can my highly gifted 4 year old access Kindergarten?

To meet the needs of highly advanced children who have not yet entered kindergarten or first grade, Sheridan School Public Schools may grant early entrance to school.


This process is not for typical children who miss the October 1 Kindergarten entrance date.

Early Access into kindergarten or first grade was established by House Bill 1021, effective July 2008.

  • The student must reach the age of four by October 1 for kindergarten.
  • The student must reach the age of five by October 1 for grade one.

Who will benefit from HB 1021? The HB 1021 defines that 4 or 5 year old child who is “highly advanced gifted child.” The child is academically gifted, socially and emotionally mature and in the top 2 percent or less of the gifted population.

  • Application process opens in January 2018
  • The Early Access Packet /Portfolio is due on March 2018 to the GT Coordinator 
  • Early Access Team will contact parents with completed and qualifying portfolio to schedule Cognitive Testing.
  • The Early Access Cognitive Testing cost $50 (waived for families who have qualified for the free/reduced lunch program)
  • Cognitive Testing will be scheduled. 
  • Student that test in 98 percentile or above with Cognitive Testing will be scheduled for Achievement Testing.
  • Notification of acceptance and non-acceptance will be sent to parents


Gifted kids are so much more than high grades and test scores. You probably know that already…it’s sometimes difficult to see past all the achievement and potential to the child or adolescent who may be filled with anxiety or pressured to be perfect, lonely, alienated, confused and unsure what the future might bring.” (Delisle, Galbraith, 2015) 



Dispute Resolution or Disagreement Process:

Sheridan School District is an equal opportunity educational institution and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability in admission or access to, or treatment, in its educational programs or activities.  Inquiries concerning Title VI, Title IX, Section 504 and ADA may be referred to the Executive Director of Exceptional Student Services or the Superintendent or to the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Region VIII, Federal Office Building, 1244 North Speer Blvd, Suite 310, Denver, CO  80204, 303-844-2991.  

Similarly, if one disputes the findings of any of our identification decisions, programming options or Advanced Learning Plan documents, dispute resolution would begin with the District’s Gifted Director.  Issues and concerns shall be submitted in writing and will be acknowledged within ten school days of receipt.  Resolution will occur within twenty school days after receipt of concern.   If unresolved, the issue will proceed to the Executive Director of Exceptional Student Services.  Finally, if the issue or concern is not resolved with the Executive Director of Exceptional Student Services, the Superintendent has the ultimate say in any disputes.



How can parents learn more or get involved in gifted and talented education?



In Sheridan Schools, we encourage parents to become involved in the creation of the Advanced Learning Plan goals, attend SEAC and GT Parent Information Nights.



The Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented (CAGT) is our state gifted advocacy group which offers support, education and information for gifted families and educators.  They host an annual conference in October, which includes sessions and events for parents, as well as a Legislative Day at the Capitol in February, with opportunities for parents and students.



The National Association for Gifted Children is the leading gifted advocacy group in the country, whose mission is to support those who enhance the growth and development of gifted and talented children through education, advocacy, community building, and research.  They host an annual conference in November, publish Parenting for High Potential among other periodicals, as well as research articles, position papers and books.  They lobby at the national level for gifted education funding and recognition.



Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) empowers families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.  They sponsor a support group structure for parents, publish a newsletter, provide resources on social-emotional needs of gifted students and also host an annual conference each summer. 


Student Enrichment and Extension Opportunities