Gifted & Talented Education

The DPS Gifted and Talented process offers multiple opportunities and pathways for student identification in the following areas:

Gifted & Talented Opportunities at Willow

At Willow, we are thrilled to have so many students whose reading and math skills are advanced beyond their current grade-level.

We have implemented various programs to enhance and further develop our opportunities for students to be challenged. These include Jr. Great Books groups to ensure challenging reading groups for students at every grade level. Challenge and Accelerated Math Groups for assessing and identifying students ready to excel beyond their current level. There is a pull-out group which occurs during our Science Project Based Learning/ Specials block to ensure students are provided with additional opportunities to engage in differentiated PBL experiences as well as other opportunities. Pull-out groups are “fluid,” meaning they will be flexible and change throughout the year based on teacher assessments, students’ needs and individual skills.

What is Giftedness?

In the Denver Public Schools, “gifted and talented” means those students whose demonstrated abilities, talents and/or potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational needs. These students perform, or show the potential of performing, at remarkably high levels in intellectual, specific academic or creative areas when compared with others of their age and experience.

Gifted and talented children are present in all student groups, regardless of gender, disability, English language proficiency, economic status, ethnic or cultural background.

It is a Denver Public Schools’ policy that ALL students be screened for gifted services at the school level. Identification is based on multiple criteria from behavioral, academic, and creative domains.

In addition to the universal screener (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test) administered in Kindergarten, 2nd and 6th grades, parents of students in other grades may nominate students to take the CogAT (Cognitive abilities Test) for HGT identification to attend a magnet program. For more information, please visit the DPS GT website.

Identification for the GT or HGT Program

Who provides GT services?

All teachers at Willow teach gifted learners, because our staff is masterful at differentiation.

There are teachers who specifically teach GT to support gifted and high-achieving learners in a variety of ways. Both support classroom teachers with co-planning and providing resources. There is also direct service with students in small-group pull-outs.  The groups are fluid and evolve throughout the year to respond to student need.

We provide additional services for these children in many forms and have a GT teacher on site, Ms. Vasco. Much of our GT programming takes place in the students’ own classrooms. Classroom teachers use a variety of strategies to create challenging learning opportunities for gifted students. Some of these GT teaching techniques include:

  • Pull-out cluster grouping with onsite GT teacher – Gifted students work together to complete a multidisciplinary unit or project.
  • Advanced content – Providing appropriate content that is above grade-level.
  • Curriculum enrichment/extensions
  • High level questioning techniques – Asking students to apply information in new and creative ways.
  • Independent studies
  • Additional Gifted and Talented Programming
How are students identified for GT?

For GT identification, students need a body of evidence including many scores at or above the 95th percentile on state-approved measures. Both ability and achievement scores can be part of the body of evidence as well as anecdotal evidence.

DPS administers the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) as a universal screener in Kindergarten, 2nd and 6th graders to ensure all students are given the opportunity to receive GT programming. In addition to these screeners, other measures will be used to complete the body of evidence, these can include Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT), Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) and Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS).  For equity, DPS policy does not allow private testing to be used for GT identification. Identification is based on multiple criteria from behavioral, academic, and creative domains.

What if I have more questions?

Please email our GT Teacher,