Gifted education enables gifted and talented students academic and rigorous content and learning experiences. The curriculum is designed to encourage students to take risks, stretch themselves, and to learn depth of content at a faster pace. Gifted education specialists (GATE teachers) at each building work with gifted and advanced children through pull-out and/or replacement classes, challenging these learners to think deeply and critically. GATE teachers also support classroom teachers with resources and insight into gifted learners so that gifted instruction need not end when gifted learners leave the gifted pull-out classroom. They also work to develop a body of evidence that may lead to participation in the talent pool or in formal identification.
The pull-out classes of elementary school are replaced with advanced classes, so that students are able to receive quality instruction in their strength areas every day. They have the opportunity to advance to different grade levels for math instruction if they score well on pretests. Advanced courses are available in language arts (reading, writing, and communicating) and mathematics. Content specialists have the knowledge and ability to push students to think deeper about subject areas. Students have opportunities to participate in band, orchestra, and choir, and school sports begin. The number of clubs increase. Middle schools typically offer Lego League, 3-D printing, student leadership, geography bee, spelling bee, Science Bowl, yearbook, and a variety of contests and competitions. Another important aspect of middle school is affective development. Middle school is a time of change, and gifted learners smetimes require assistance in executive functioning skills, organization, time management, perfectionism, anxiety, and underachievement.
At Severance Middle School, students who are doing well academically have opportunities to select an interest area from a variety of choices for their ELO, providing additional enrichment for students. They are encouraged to develop interest projects or to participate in small group investigations. Students work with their content teachers and/or the GATE Facilitator to learn about concepts they wouldn't have time to learn about in a regular classroom setting. Under the guidance of the GATE Facilitator, they are able to sign up for an independent study as one of their electives if they have a specific investigation that requires significant time to complete. Many students elect to hold book clubs or complete small investigative studies during the course of the year. The program is student-driven, so some GATE students complete multiple projects and activities, or receive extensive affective support, while others find the advanced courses are sufficient challenge for them.
Windsor Middle School offers a variety of classes for gifted and advanced learners through elective classes. One major course is I-Search, where students identify and define authentic problems, and conduct extensive research in the process of solution-finding. The program brings multiple guest speakers into the classroom, and takes students on field trips related to their units of study. Other electives possibilities are sign language, brain bowl, and science bowl. Chess club is one of several enriching opportunities offered through the GATE program. The program provides affective support through the language arts class, which investigates what it means to be a gifted learner, independence, risk-taking, and self-motivation.
The high school offers sixteen Colorado Career Clusters and a plethora of advanced options. While most students start at freshman levels, students demonstrating exceptional skill have opportunities for advancement. They have advanced classes, pre-AP classes, AP classes, duel credit classes, concurrent enrollment, independent study, and online learning options. These classes occur in both academic and talent areas (such as music and art). They have a number of auditioned instrumental and vocal groups for our musically gifted students, theater options for those gifted in performing arts, and multiple levels of art courses. Many students earn college credit while in high school, and they have the option of earning an Associate's Degree during their high school years.
In addition, they provide numerous activities and organizations which cater to the interests of students and which allow them to find and pursue passions. At this level, counselors assume the responsibility for meeting students' affective needs. They provide services to meet immediate needs and concerns of students. They provide individual and group counseling and consultation, and offer referrals and resources. They also work with students on their Individual Academic and Career Planning (ICAP), in which students identify their skills, abilities, and interests in order to develop a career plan.
Each building has a gifted education specialist assigned to the building. As of 2016, Tozer, Skyview, and Grandview have 50% positions. Range View, which has a larger school population than the other elementary schools, has a 60% position. The middle schools have 40% positions. The high school utilizes counselors to oversee gifted education.