Gifted & Talented

gifted and talented

Welcome to a family of students, parents, teachers, and administrators whose overall goal is to ensure that students who demonstrate outstanding ability or potential are helped to make the most of their unique gifts and capabilities. We are committed to nurture their social/emotional development and enhance their curriculum experiences so these unique individuals may reach their fullest potential.

Bienvenidos a una familia de alumnos, padres, maestros y administradores cuyo objetivo general es asegurar que aquellos alumnos que demuestren una capacidad o potencial sobresaliente sean asistidos para aprovechar sus capacidades al máximo.  Estamos comprometidos en enriquecer su desarrollo social/emocional y potenciar sus experiencias curriculares para que estas personas excepcionales puedan alcanzar su máximo potencial.

Philosophy & Definition


Widefield School District 3 strives to recognize and develop the unique talents and diverse qualities of students with high academic, cognitive, creative, leadership, or specific talent ability so that each child will be challenged to achieve his or her full potential. This will be accomplished through home, school, and community partnership, broad-based and diverse educational opportunities and clearly defined criteria for identification and curriculum development and measurable standards of student performance.


"Gifted children" means those persons between ages of five 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. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special education services. 

Gifted children represent all cultural, ethnic, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds and may demonstrate both gifts and disabilities. Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential form all socioeconomic and ethnic, cultural populations. Gifted  students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:

  • Specific Academic Aptitude
    • Specific Academic Aptitude is exceptional capability or potential in an academic content area(s) (e.g., a strong knowledge base or the ability to ask insightful, pertinent questions within the discipline). All academic areas should be considered.
  • Creative Ability
    • Visual arts, performing arts, musical, dance or psychomotor abilities exceptional capabilities or potential in talent ares (e.g., art, drama, music, dance, body awareness, coordination, and physical skills).
  • Leadership Ability
    • Create or productive thinking is exceptional capability or potential in mental processes (e.g., critical thinking, creative problem solving, humor, independent/original thinking, and/or, products(s).
  • Specific Talent Aptitude 
    • Leadership is the exceptional capability or potential to influence and empower people (e.g., social perceptiveness, visionary ability, communication skills, problem solving, inter-/intra-personal skills, and a sense of responsibility).


Identification Procedures

District procedures have been established using a multiple criteria assessment approach. This means that many sources of information are reviewed over a period of time before formally identifying a student as gifted/talented in one or more areas. Decisions around identification should be based on the body of evidence using sound reasoning and data interpretation with a team approach. A Review Team is established at each of the schools. This team looks at the body of evidence to make a determination if a student qualifies. If there is not enough evidence to qualify a student, the team can decide if the student is a candidate for the talent pool.

Click here to view the identification assessment flowchart pictured below:

A flow-chart of identification assessment



Standardized test scores for all students are screened for evidence of exceptionally high levels of performance on achievement tests. A group-administered aptitude assessment, The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), is given to all second grade students in the spring and to all seventh grade students in the fall.  Results are shared with classroom teachers and parent(s)/guardian(s). Students who score in the 95th percentile or above will be recommended to the Gifted Review Team. This process along with nominations yields a list of nominees, from which GT teachers/GT liaisons will begin the “gathering body of evidence” process.


Parents, teachers, and counselors may submit names of students they view as potentially gifted or talented at any time. Our goal is for parents and teachers to have opportunities to nominate students for GT services if they see the need. When a teacher, parent, or counselor nominates a student, they are then asked to complete a referral form. This form will then initiate the “gathering body of evidence” process. The referral form becomes one piece of the body of evidence.

Collect Body of Evidence

The next stage in the identification process is to secure additional information that will aid in determining the student’s talents or giftedness and his or her programming needs. Appropriate data must be gathered and the Student Profile form completed. All information collected is confidential and will be placed on the Advanced Learning Plan.

Review Body of Evidence

A student’s body of evidence will be reviewed by the school’s Review Team which will consist of a minimum of three people which may include, GT teacher, counselor and/or administrator, classroom teacher (past or present). Students are not denied services or identified on the basis of performance on any single score or instrument. Rather, those evaluating the data are looking for sufficient evidence of exceptional talent or ability to warrant special programming or services. This review is an ongoing process, and a student is not formally identified until a sufficient body of evidence is collected. Gifted identification recognizes and delineates exceptional strengths and potential in learners so that appropriate instructional accommodations and modifications can be provided.

Identification Process

If students meet the district criteria according to the review team, parents will be notified and an Advanced Learning Plan will be developed. The review team may also decide that a student does not qualify, or that enough information is not available to make formal identification. In the latter case, the student is placed on a “Talent Pool” list and reviewed again as more information becomes available. The GT teacher or counselor will send a letter home to the parents communicating the results of the identification process.

Appeal Process

A parent, student or teacher has the right to appeal the identification decision.

GT Staff

Widefield School District 3 provides resource teachers for gifted and talented students at each elementary school and facilitators for gifted and talented students at each secondary school.

District Personnel

  • Connie Florell, GT Director -
  • Kathy Self, GT Coordinator -
  • Cora Walters, GT Coordinator -                                                                                                                                                               

Elementary Gifted Resource Teachers

  • French - Robin Malaznik -
  • Pinello - Dana Johnson -
  • Widefield Elementary - Karen Nelson -
  • Talbott - Tammy Pieczynski -
  • Venetucci - Shelly Clemens -
  • Webster - Melissa Hernandez -
  • Sunrise - Laura Martin -
  • King - Rosalind Milam -

Secondary Liaison Personnel

  • Widefield High School
    • Eric Thiele -
    • Thaddeus Hall -
    • Ben Baldwin -
    • Emily Christensen -
  • Mesa Ridge High School - Sharon Smith -
  • Janitell Jr. High School - Erin Murphy -
  • Sproul Jr. High School - Kyle Kronmiller -
  • Watson Jr. High School - Keri Lindamen -

Twice-Exceptional Students

Students Identified As Gifted With A Disability

Students who have been identified as gifted under state criteria and have been identified with a disability under federal and state criteria are termed “twice-exceptional” students if their disability qualifies them for either an IEP (individual Education Plan) or a 504 plan under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These students will have two plans, either the IEP or 504, and their Advanced Learning Plan (ALP).

Twice Exceptional students are often difficult to identify because they possess the characteristics of gifted students and the characteristics of students with disabilities. Gifted characteristic may mask disabilities, or disabilities may mask gifted potential.  Gifted students with disabilities are often at-risk because their educational and social-emotional needs often go undetected. The inconsistent academic performance can lead educators believe Twice Exceptional(2e) students are not putting forth the effort. Hidden disabilities may prevent students with advanced abilities from achieving their full potential.
The full “2e Overview” document can be found on the CDE website.

Procedimientos Generales Para La Identificación

Procedimientos generales para la identificación

Los procedimientos del distrito se establecieron utilizando un enfoque de evaluación de criterio múltiple. Esto significa que se revisan varias fuentes de información durante un periodo de tiempo antes de identificar formalmente a un alumno como dotado/talentoso en una o más áreas. Las decisiones en torno a la identificación deben basarse en las pruebas acumuladas, utilizando un razonamiento sólido y una interpretación de datos firme, y el abordaje se realiza en equipo. En cada una de las escuelas, se establece un equipo de revisión. Este equipo examina el conjunto de pruebas para determinar si un alumno califica. Si no existen suficientes pruebas, el equipo puede decidir si el alumno es un candidato para la reserva de talentos.

Organigrama (insertar)


Examen de detección

Se examinan las puntuaciones de las evaluaciones estandarizadas de todos los alumnos en busca de evidencia de niveles de desempeño excepcionalmente altos en los exámenes de logros. Todos los alumnos de segundo grado (en la primavera), y todos los alumnos de séptimo grado (en el otoño) realizan una evaluación grupal de aptitud y la evaluación de habilidades cognitivas (CogAT, por sus siglas en inglés).  Los resultados se compartirán con los maestros del aula y con los padres/tutores. Los alumnos cuya puntuación se ubique en el percentil 95 o más serán recomendados al equipo de revisión de dotados. Este proceso, junto con las nominaciones, genera una lista de candidatos, para los cuales comenzará el proceso de “recolección del conjunto de pruebas” realizado por los maestros de Dotados y Talentosos (GT, en inglés) /intermediarios de GT.


Tanto los padres, como los maestros y los consejeros, pueden presentar los nombres de los alumnos que ellos consideren como con potencial de dotado o talentoso, en cualquier momento. Nuestro objetivo es que los padres y los maestros tengan la oportunidad de nominar a los alumnos para los servicios de GT si ven la necesidad. Cuando un maestro, padre o consejero nomina a un alumno, se les pide que complete un formulario de recomendación. Este formulario iniciará el proceso de “recolección del conjunto de pruebas”. El formulario de recomendación se convierte en una parte del conjunto de pruebas.


El próximo paso en el proceso de identificación es asegurar información adicional que ayude a determinar los talentos o capacidades del alumno y sus necesidades en la programación. Se deben recolectar datos apropiados y se debe completar el formulario de perfil del alumno. Toda la información recolectada es confidencial y será colocada en el Plan de aprendizaje avanzado.


El conjunto de pruebas de un alumno será revisado por el equipo de revisión escolar, que será formado por un mínimo de tres personas y que puede incluir al maestro de GT, al consejero y/o administrador y al maestro del aula (anterior o actual). Los alumnos no son identificados, o se les niega el servicio, en base a una sola puntuación o instrumento. En cambio, las personas que evalúan los datos buscan pruebas suficientes de talento excepcional o capacidad para asegurar una programación o servicio especial. Esta revisión es un proceso continuo, y no se identifica formalmente a un alumno hasta que se recopile un conjunto de pruebas suficiente. La identificación de un alumno dotado se realiza en base al reconocimiento y definición de un potencial y capacidades excepcionales, para poder brindar las adaptaciones o modificaciones educativas que sean apropiadas.


Si un alumno cumple con los criterios del distrito según el equipo de revisión, se notificará a los padres y se desarrollará un Plan de aprendizaje avanzado. El equipo de revisión puede decidir que un alumno no califica, o que no se dispone de información suficiente como para para hacer una identificación formal. En este último caso, el alumno es colocado en una lista de “Reserva de talentos” y será revisado nuevamente a medida que se disponga de más información. El maestro de GT o el consejero enviará una carta al domicilio de los padres para comunicarles los resultados del proceso de identificación.


Los padres, los alumnos y los maestros tienen el derecho de apelar la decisión de identificación.




The Exceptional Children’s Education Act (ECEA) requires that a student who moves from one district in Colorado to another district in the state retains his/her gifted identification. This concept is referred to as “portability.”

Transfer of students from schools in Colorado

When a student moves into the district, there will be a review of the new student’s advanced learning plan (ALP) within 45 days of enrollment. Parents will be notified within 60 days of any revisions and additions to the plan. If the receiving district’s gifted review team determines the previous district identified the student using criteria not aligned to state guidelines, the rule for portability does not apply.

Transfer of students from out of state

The rule for portability does not apply to students moving into Colorado from another state. However, the receiving school should review the student’s records for evidence of giftedness, and then determine whether an additional assessment is necessary to confirm if the student meets Colorado criteria for gifted identification.

Military Children's Compact Agreement

The Compact states: The receiving state school shall initially honor placement of the student in educational programs based on current educational assessments conducted at the school in the sending state or participation/placement in like programs in the sending state. Such programs include, but are not limited to: 1) gifted and talented programs; and 2) English as a second language (ESL). This does not preclude the school in the receiving state from performing subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement of the student. When an identified student who is on an advanced learning plan transfers out of the district, his/her ALP and Student Profile will be sent with other student records to the new school.

Advanced Learning Plans


The Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is a legal document [22-20-R-12.00, C.R.S.] outlining programming for identified gifted students and is used as a guide for educational planning and decision-making. An ALP shall be developed for every gifted student according to the student’s determined area(s) of giftedness, interests, and instructional and affective needs. For high school students, the ALP may be blended with an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) if all contents of the ALP are inclusive in the ICAP, including achievement and affective goals.

Procedures and Responsibilities

A standards-aligned approach to developing an ALP incorporates standards-aligned education and best practices in gifted instruction. This approach identifies the appropriate standards, at or above grade level, to challenge a gifted student, and provides opportunities to show application and transfer of those standards.

  • A standards-aligned ALP is a process and a document that is informed by and based upon Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) and National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) affective standards.
  • The ALP is a collaborative effort between parent(s)/guardian(s), the student and school personnel. Parent and student participation in the ALP process is specified in the ECEA Regulations [12.02(2)(f)(v)].
  • Teacher(s) and other school personnel directly responsible for instruction or program delivery develop ALP goals in collaboration with gifted personnel at an end-of-year review or within the first month of the beginning of a school year.
  • ALPs are written within 45 school days of a new identification, or within the first quarter of school for returning GT students in elementary. In secondary schools, plans will be part of the student’s ICAP and should be written within the first quarter of school for returning GT students.
  • Plans are developed and reviewed yearly. Routine progress monitoring reports about student goals are documented in January and May in the Student Profile: Section II D Progress Monitoring.
  • Elementary Advanced Learning Plans are written and stored in Alpine Achievement. Secondary plans will be part of the student’s ICAP and stored in Naviance. Copies are available to school personnel electronically and paper or electronic copies can be sent home with students.

Concurrent Enrollment & Advanced Program Program

The Concurrent Enrollment program

provides high school students with the opportunity to enroll in postsecondary courses and earn credit at no cost to them for tuition. Colorado data show that students in Concurrent Enrollment programs are more likely to enroll in postsecondary education, have higher postsecondary grade point averages and retention rates, and have a decreased need for remediation.

The Advanced Placement (AP) program

is a national program offered by Widefield School District in cooperation with the College Board. The AP program provides students the opportunity to pursue college-level studies while in high school. At the conclusion of the AP course, students will take a College Board National AP Exam administered on a national test date. Depending on scores, a student may receive college-level credit for AP classes. Acceptance of AP scores for college credit is determined by each college or university. It is the student’s responsibility to research policies at individual institutions regarding AP credit.

At Mesa Ridge you can contact Regina Shea for more information -
At Widefield High you can contact Eric Thiele -


Gifted Programming

Student data is used to match students to appropriate programming. Services for all identified students seek to ensure that they continue to make growth in their strength areas, and to perform at advanced and distinguished levels.

Programming may include:

  • Acceleration (grade level and/or single subject)
  • Advanced and/or interdisciplinary classes
  • Affective (counseling) support services
  • AP and Honors classes
  • Career/Technical Education classes
  • College-level courses
  • Competitions
  • Concurrent enrollment options
  • Curriculum compacting
  • Differentiated instructional techniques
  • Elective classes
  • Enrichment opportunities
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • High School Academics
  • Mentoring
  • Project-based learning or other targeted services
  • Project Lead the Way: Biomedical Science and Engineering courses –  Junior High and High Schools
  • Additional opportunities are available to gifted students in order to increase problem solving skills, deductive reasoning, and critical thinking.


Disagreement Procedures

If there is a disagreement with a decision regarding gifted identification/programing, please follow the following procedures:

Step 1: Communicate with the school’s Gifted Education Facilitator, classroom teacher, and/or building administrator to try to resolve the issue.  If no resolution can be made, a formal appeal process may be initiated in writing by the parent/guardian addressing the specific reason for the appeal.   

Step 2: The appellant will meet with the Gifted Review Team to review data relative to the decision. Appellants or members of the committee may introduce new information, clarify inaccuracies, review decisions, and determine a future course of action.  If no resolution can be made, the appellant will meet with the District Gifted & Talented Director/Coordinator.

Step 3: A written appeal that includes any additional information may be submitted to the District’s Gifted and Talented Director/Coordinator to review the decision.  If necessary, the GT Director/Coordinator will collaborate with appropriate district administration to review the appeal. The appellant will be notified in writing of the administrative decision.

Step 4: If the appellant feels that there is additional information that may change the decision n, they may request the Board of Education to review the decision by writing to the Superintendent.  The Superintendent, Executive Cabinet, and/or Board of Education will review the appeal, consult with necessary parties, and make a final determination.


Parent Referral Form

District Enrichment Opportunities

  • The following list is not all inclusive and varies by school:
    • Battle of the Books
    • Chess Club/District Chess Competition
    • Coding Club/Competition
    • Robotics Club/Competition
    • Cyber Security Club
    • Spelling Bee
    • Speech Competition
    • Knowledge Bowl
    • Geography Bee
    • E.S.A. – A club for students interested in Math, Engineering, Science, and Achievement
    • PLTW – Project Lead The Way
    • Writing Club
    • Project Based Learning
    • Honor Choir
    • Honor Band and Honor Orchestra
    • Jazz Band
    • Solo Ensemble
    • DECA - Distributive Education Chapters of America
    • Renaissance
    • National Honor Society/National Junior Honor Society
    • Dual Enrollment
    • Drama
    • Math Club
    • Science Club
    • French Club
    • German Club
    • Spanish Club

Area Enrichment Programs

Colorado College Gifted and Talented Summer Program Colorado College offers a three-week program for gifted elementary students each summer. A variety of courses are offered which are designed to challenge the children’s intellectual and creative abilities.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park  Many kid programs for outdoor exploration including No Child Left Indoors Day.

Academy Children’s Theater  Acting classes ages 4-19

Fountain Creek Nature Center  Many kid programs for outdoor exploration.

Pikes Peak Library  Many activities for children ages birth through teens. Family events are hosted as well. There are various activities located at each branch of the library.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

Space Foundation The Space Foundation’s Education Team supports teachers and PreK-20 students using standards-based curriculum that integrates science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) into all content areas.

Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale  The Chorale aspires to contribute to the cultural richness of the Pikes Peak Region while providing an artistically rewarding choral experience for talented singers.

UCCS Summer Camps

Kids University

UCCS Center for STEM Education Summer Programs Center for STEM Education at University of Colorado Colorado Springs summer programs, which will focus on emerging science, technology, engineering and math skills.


The following resources may be helpful to facilitate understanding of the unique gifts and talents of the GT child.

Colorado Department of Education (CDE)

This link within the larger Colorado Department of Education is provided to assist with questions that both educators and parents may have around working with gifted and talented students.

12 Traits of Gifted

Video Top 10 Myths of Gifted

Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented (CAGT) CAGT

is a non-profit organization of parents, educators, and others interested in promoting suitable education, including creative stimulation, for gifted and talented children, while also seeking public recognition and aid for the special needs of these children.

The Center for Bright Kids

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

NAGC is a non-profit organization of parents, teachers, educators, other professionals and community leaders who unite to address the unique needs of children and youth with demonstrated gifts and talents as well as those children who may be able to develop their talent potential with appropriate educational experiences.

Hoagie’s Kids and Teens  

Links to contests and awards, hot topics, internet investigations, lists of movies with gifted kids as the leading characters, and much, much more!

Parenting for High Potential (NAGC Publication)

Pre-K Smarties  

Information in raising gifted infants and preschoolers.

SENG (Social Emotional Needs of Gifted)  

SENG is dedicated to fostering the social emotional needs of gifted adults and children. At this site, current articles and conference information are available that serve to support social and emotional issues that affect the gifted population.

Understood for learning & attention issues