Gifted and Talented

We believe that the education of all children should be directed toward the maximum development of the individual.  It is recognized that there are children who present unusual challenges because of their exceptional needs, which are difficult to meet in the standard educational program.  Therefore, it is considered essential to have a systematic and continuous program to meet the unique needs of gifted and talented children.

Since giftedness may occur in a variety of areas, such a program should be multi-dimensional, involving five recognized areas in gifted and talented education:  Intellectual, Academic, Creative, Artistic, and Leadership.  Cognitive and affective experiences will be combined to further the development of the whole child in an attempt to foster not only the intellectual abilities and study skills, but leadership and social responsibility as well.

The 21st Century Preparatory School’s gifted and talented program recognizes and addresses the unique needs of students who may require enriched, accelerated, and other differentiated experiences.  The program promotes the development of individual gifts and talents while fostering intellectual, social, and emotional growth.

Gifted and Talented:  Students enrolled in public schools who give evidence of high performance capability in intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or specific academic areas and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided in a regular school program in order to fully develop such capabilities (s.118.35(1), Wis. Stats., 1998).

  • Intellectual: Students with high aptitude for critical thinking and problem solving, who master skills and concepts quickly, and whose cognitive development is accelerated beyond their same age peers as demonstrated by consistently superior skills, concepts, and creative expression.

  • Specific Academic:  Students who show early interest and consistently superior ability in one or more of the specific academic areas: language arts, math, science, or social studies.

  • Creative:  Students who are highly insightful, imaginative, and innovative, and who consistently develop new and novel solutions for conventional tasks.

  • Artistic:  Students who excel consistently in the development of a product or performance in any of the visual or performing arts, or in the area of technical education.

  • Leadership:  Students who emerge as leaders and who not only consistently demonstrate superior abilities to accomplish group goals by working with others, but are also accepted by others as leaders.


Step 1
Tier 1 Classroom Setting

  • Teachers differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students who are demonstrating above grade level abilities.
  • Teachers meet with grade level team to plan scaffolded instruction for students who are advanced academically.
  • Administration provides support in differentiation training and coaching.
  • Whole school extracurricular enrichment opportunities are offered to all students.

Step 2
Nomination for Services

  • Teachers and parents nominate students who have demonstrated characteristics of giftedness by completing a nomination form in the spring of each year.
  • Students may also be nominated if Tier 1 services are not meeting the student’s needs throughout the year.

Step 3
Evaluation of the Student

  • The following assessments are administered to the nominees:  Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), Test of Mathematical Abilities for Gifted Students (TOMAGS), and Curriculum-Based Tests.
  • If a student is a candidate for full grade level acceleration, and IQ test will be administered by the school psychologist and the Iowa Acceleration Scale will be used to evaluate the student.
  • STAR data is analyzed.
  • Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) is distributed to the classroom teacher and parent for completion.

Step 4
Differentiated Education Plan

  • Students will be placed in Tier 2 or Tier 3 based on the identification matrix.
  • A Differentiated Education Plan (DEP) will be written indicating the services the student will receive.

Step 5
Parent Meeting

  • The coordinator shares testing results with the parents and teacher.
  • The Differentiated Education Plan is reviewed.

Step 6
Implementation of DEP

  • The teacher implements the DEP in the classroom.
  • The coordinator provides support for the DEP as needed.
  • A DEP progress report is sent home when grades are reported.


After going through the identification process, students will be placed in one of three tiers.

Tier 1
In-Class Differentiation
Teachers are encouraged to use activities which differentiate the curriculum in such a way that the gifted and talented learner will be taken “faster, deeper, and wider” than they would be in a standard curriculum.  Activities should take into account the unique characteristics and needs of the gifted learner.  Each teacher will receive differentiation training and a resource binder of activities and materials for classroom use.

Whole School Extracurricular Enrichment Opportunities
Beyond the school day, there will be opportunities for all students to be challenged in the five areas identified in the state statute (Intellectual, Specific Academic, Creative, Artistic, or Leadership).

Tier 2
Clustering refers to the placement of the small group of identified students in the same regular homeroom.  This is the backbone of the program in that it is seen as the primary means of adapting the school program to meet the needs of the gifted child.  It allows teachers to adjust and extend the day-to-day curriculum and learning opportunities provided for the identified students in a regular classroom setting.  Identified students will have a degree of interaction with students of like abilities, as well as with age peers.  These groups range from three to eight identified students in one classroom. 

Curriculum Compacting
Curriculum compacting streamlines the grade-level curriculum for high potential students to enable time for more challenging and interesting work.  The procedure involves (1) defining the goals and outcomes of a particular unit or block of instruction; (2) determining and documenting the students who have already mastered most or all of a specified set of learning outcomes; and (3) providing replacement strategies for material already mastered through the use of instructional options that enable a more challenging, interesting, and productive use of the student’s time.

Enrichment provides students with opportunities to extend learning.  There are three primary purposes for enrichment:  fostering interest, nurturing talent/developing expertise, and increasing achievement.  Enrichment may address one, two, or all three of these purposes. One of the options will include learning a foreign language through virtual learning.

Independent Study
Independent study allows students who need an extra to research a topic of their choice.  Students meet with the gifted and talented coordinator to discuss a possible topic.  The coordinator helps the student narrow down the ideas and gathers resources for the student.  Together the student and coordinator write a learning contract that includes the materials to be used, rules to follow, ideas for demonstrating learning, and a due date for the final products.  The student, parent, classroom teacher, and coordinator sign the contract. 

Tier 3
Personalized Learning Plan (PLP)
Students will meet with the gifted and talented coordinator to analyze testing results and standards for learning.  The student will guide the development of a personalized learning plan (PLP) based on those learning goals and standards.  The PLP may serve as replacement curriculum in any subject area.

Early Entrance/Grade Level Acceleration
Acceleration is an academic intervention that moves students through an educational program at a rate faster or at a younger age than is typical.  Acceleration helps match the level, complexity, and pace of the curriculum with the readiness and motivation of the student. It is about creating a better match between a student and the level and pace of instruction. Students who are candidates for full grade level acceleration or early entrance will be identified using the Iowa Acceleration Scales. 

Subject Acceleration
Students who are identified as gifted and talented in math or reading will be accelerated to the appropriate grade level.  The acceleration might take place within the classroom facilitated by the classroom teacher with higher level work.  Students might also attend the grade level one year ahead.  For example, a student who is in fifth grade would attend a sixth grade math class.  Once students successfully complete the eighth grade algebra course, they will have the opportunity to take high school level math courses as eighth graders.

Mentorships can provide motivated gifted and talented students with an opportunity to apply inductive thinking and problem-solving skills to advanced content that is often associated with real-life situations.  Mentorships serve one or more of the following goals:  career explorations, research beyond the scope of the regular classroom, opportunity to study topics not available in the regular curriculum, development of skills, and an opportunity to work with experts in fields of interest.



If you feel your child demonstrates giftedness, please complete and submit the form below to Ms. Petruska, Elementary Academy Principal.

Parent Nomination Form