Everything You Need To Know About DPS Gifted and Talented

The Denver Public School District (DPS), and its 199 different institutions, serves over 90,000 students each academic year. From that versatile pool of students spring the approximately 13 percent of students who qualify as “gifted”.

DPS has designed a variety of courses and institutions to meet the needs of these unique individuals; these solutions include advanced kindergarten courses,” gifted and talented (GT)” magnet sites, and gifted high schools.

We will look at some of the key questions involving the DPS gifted and talented programs, including:

  • How does DPS Determine Gifted and Talented (GT) Status?
  • What is the Application Process for DPS’ Gifted and Talented Programs?
  • What’s Important to Know About Each Specific GT Level?
  • What’s Different About the Highly Gifted Program (HGT) Programs?
  • ## How DPS Determines Gifted And Talented Status

    Determining a child’s eligibility for a DPS gifted and talented program is a multi-layered process which differs depending on a given student’s grade level. All given assessments aim to test nominated students in the following three categories:

  • Academic Aptitude: This category identifies students who demonstrate academic excellence in the following areas: reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and world language. To qualify for formal identification, your child must either provide three distinct pieces of evidence of their academic success or present standardized test scores above the 95th percentile for qualification.
  • Specific Talent Aptitude: This pathway identifies students with a demonstrated talent in the visual or performing arts, music, dance, creativity, or leadership. Just as with the above, identifying a child in this category requires three distinct pieces of evidence to provide proof for the existence of their talent.
  • General Intellectual Ability: Students who do not qualify under the prior two items, but demonstrate exceptional cognitive abilities, can be accepted into a GT program under this catch-all category.
  • Specifics assessments utilized in the identification process include the CogAT, the NNAT, and the student’s current level of academic achievement.

    All students must either nominate themselves or be nominated by their school’s designated representative.

    ## What is the DPS Gifted and Talented Application Process?

    See below for information that applies to the highly gifted and talented (“magnet”) programs.

    Denver Public Schools screens all students for giftedness during key academic years. Identification will be based on a body of evidence that includes standardized, cognitive, and creativity tests, student portfolios, parent and teacher inventories, and in-person interviews.

    While identification can take place at any time, DPS has set forth two specific screening points during the academic school year:

  • SPRING: During the spring, all 2nd and 4th graders will be given the NNAT to assess their nonverbal reasoning abilities.
  • WINTER: All students in the 3rd and 5th grade will be given the Torrence Tests of Creative Thinking sometime in the winter. This test assesses your child on his or her ability to showcase creative and divergent thinking.
  • Families should contact their local GT coordinator if they wish to see if their child can be identified as gifted.

    ## What Kinds of Gifted And Talented Programs Are Available?

    The Denver Public School District offers four distinct levels of GT programming; the last, the magnet program, will be discussed in the next section.

    To gain access to the other three programs, a student must score above the 95th percentile on an accepted standardized test.

    Doing so qualifies them for one of the below three programs:

    ### Advanced Kindergarten:

    Advanced kindergarten classrooms were designed for academically-advantaged students who’ve showed signs of exceptional levels of curiosity, interests, or verbal and mathematical abilities.

    Students are provided a full-day curriculum that enriches and accelerates the typical kindergarten standards.

    There are seven advanced kindergarten sites in Denver:

  • Center for Early Education
  • Escalante Biggs
  • Edison Elementary
  • Gust Elementary
  • Palmer Elementary
  • Stedman Elementary
  • William Roberts School
  • ### Elementary and Middle School Gifted And Talented:

    Students in elementary and middle school identified as gifted, will be placed into this specific programming tract.

    All districts are independently responsible for planning education for and enrichment of their highly-talented students.
    To qualify, your child needs to achieve scores and grades in the 95th percentile.

    ### High School Gifted And Talented: For gifted students in the 9th grade and higher, DPS offers a unique system of support and tutelage. They partner with surrounding districts, and sometimes local colleges, to provide the enrichment these older students might need.

    Your child must score in the 95th percentile and above on the designated test to qualify.

    ## What are Highly Gifted And Talented (HGT) Programs?

    For students with the most extreme academic needs, DPS created a variety of “highly-gifted” (magnet) programs. These institutions have been designed to provide a challenging environment and an opportunity to interact regularly with like-minded peers.

    These programs are available to students who demonstrate extraordinary potential and exceptional levels of achievement. These students typically score above the 98th percentile on standardized tests and comprise roughly one to three percent of the student population.

    The admissions process for these magnet schools differs slightly from the one utilized in the lower rungs of GT programming.

    Most importantly, admission does not happen year-round.

    HGT testing is tied to specific testing deadlines in the fall and closed after those deadlines have passed. Although teachers and staff can encourage nomination, parents must ultimately fill out the required forms.

    There are three levels of HGT programs available:

    Elementary students identified as eligible for a HGT program will likely end up attending one of the following sites: Archuleta, Carson, Gust, Edison, Corey, Polaris, Southmoor, and Teller.

    Just one middle school, Morey Middle, serves the needs of highly-gifted students in the 6th to 8th grade.

    A school district with a diverse population requires a versatile program to support the needs of its gifted and talented students. DPS, by implementing a two-tiered gifted and talented program aims to provide just that. While there’s some question as to how well it serves minorities, the reviews seem to support the program’s overall effectiveness.

    ## What’s Next?

    Whether you aim for your child to enter the GT or the HGT program, you can start by reviewing Origins Tutoring’s expert guide to the NNAT.

    Get started practicing now by downloading a free NNAT practice test.