Gifted Education Programming

Academics - Gifted Education Program

Feel free to contact Northeast Elementary’s Gifted and Talented Facilitator, Mrs. Sunni Gibbons at with any questions you may have.
Important Information: Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)


Universal Screening
Based on feedback from families and the Colorado Department of Education, and our commitment to increased equitable identification practices, we have made improvements to our Universal Screening Process.  In the Spring of 2020, DCSD transitioned from the "paper pencil" CogAT to the online version.  The online assessment platform provides for easier administration, faster results, and access to the directions in multiple languages other than English.  (NOTE: Language options are in process.)

As part of this process, ALL students in 5th GRADE not identified for gifted programming will take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) beginning the week of 11/9 and ending on 11/20.  This assessment indicates the level and pattern of cognitive development of a student in comparison to grade and age mates.  These general reasoning abilities, which start developing at birth and continue through early adulthood, are influenced by experiences gained in and out of school. 

If your child is already identified for gifted programming, they will not participate in this universal screen testing.  Your Gifted Education Facilitator will contact you directly with information about this process.  

Gifted Identification Referral Testing
Testing for Gifted Identification outside of the universal screening grades (5th or 6th) WILL NOT be facilitated in this November testing window.  Referral testing will be offered in the Mid Year testing window.  We will provide more detailed information about this opportunity soon!

If your child is in a grade other than 5th or 6th and you believe he/she needs evaluation for Gifted Identification and Services, and you have not done so already, please initiate the Gifted Identification Referral Process by completing the referral form linked HERE.

NOTE: Completing this referral form WILL NOT initiate the CogAT assessment.   

Upon receipt of this form the Gifted Education Facilitator will connect with you to discuss next steps in the gifted identification process.  

Gifted Education Program
What is Gifted Education?  If a student is identified as Gifted, they may go to their neighborhood school (Northeast) or apply for the Discovery Program that is located at another school.  The Discovery Program is designed for students whose needs require intensity of instruction and acceleration beyond what can reasonably be expected from the regular school program.  All students in Douglas County are given the CogAT, Cognitive Abilities Test, in 2nd and 5th grade as a universal screen for early intervention.  If there is a need for a student to take the CogAT in another grade due to teacher recommendation or parent request, that is possible at grades 1, 3, & 4.  Testing at these levels is solely for the purpose of possible Gifted identification.

What is an ALP?
An ALP is an Advanced Learning Plan.  All students that are identified as Gifted have an ALP whether they go to their neighborhood school (Northeast) 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, such as the CogAT, classroom work/assessments, other standardized measures, input from classroom teacher, parent(s), and student.

What does Gifted programming look like at Northeast?
At Northeast, we create ALP plans for students that have gone through a gifted identification process and qualify.  The ALP is written with the Gifted Education Coordinator (Sunni Gibbons) 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. 

Northeast, we value and support the depth and complexity of knowledge, not just what grade level a concept may be.  Gifted students are put into Cluster Groups with other gifted students for peer connections. Each grade level has a classroom/classrooms in which students are clustered. All students in our building read and write at their highest independent level.  Sometimes additional grouping is needed in the area of mathematics. Some strategies that we use to meet needs at our building are: Flexible Grouping in reading and math, Content Acceleration, Independent Study, Curriculum Compacting, and Blended Learning.  Gifted students also meet with the Gifted Education Facilitator to develop goals and skills to work on in the classroom.

What will this look like at Sagewood Middle School?
Sagewood has many options for different levels of learning. Teachers will recommend based on their knowledge of the student and the choices that are offered. Parent and student input is taken as well.

What is the role of the Gifted Education Coordinator?
The role of the Gifted Education Coordinator is to coordinate the identification process as well as support in writing the ALP. If a parent is interested in applying for the Discovery Program, the coordinator can help with that process as well.  The coordinator also collaborates with teachers in writing the goals, gathering support materials, analyzing data and adjusting plans as needed.