Gifted & Talented

Have questions and want to talk to someone?

Call our main number - 720-423-2056

New to the District and Looking for GT Services?

Please complete the new to district intake form to start the process. If you have a student already enrolled in Denver Public Schools, please DO NOT submit this form. If you are looking for the magnet testing application, please scroll down on this page.

New to District Intake Form »

Could My Child Be Gifted?

Take the Gifted and Talented quiz »

Spring High School GT Nights

May 2, 2019 at DSISD: 6:00-8:00 pm Join our high school coordinators to discuss questions and issues specific to the high school environment. Past topics have included talks on Depth and Complexity, ALPs and Programming, College Connections, and more.


A Short Guide to Giftedness

Click here »

Guía de recursos para estudiantes dotados y talentosos

haga clic aquí »

Continuing the Conversation: Supporting our Bright, Talented and Black Children

Join us as we build community, share lived experiences, and discuss the best ways to advocate for our children. Families, teachers and administrators are welcome!

May 14, 2019
5:30-7:30pm at Hope Center
3400 Elizabeth Street, Denver, CO 80205


Flyers in English and Spanish

Interested in Magnet Testing?

The nomination process for the spring session is now closed. Any nominations received after April 1st will be held for the fall testing sessions. Thank you!

Nominate your child for magnet testing.

haga clic aquí para nominar a su hijo para la prueba de enfoque especial (Magnet) para Estudiantes Altamente Dotados.

Downloadable application- English

Downloadable application – Spanish

About Us

The Gifted and Talented team is focused on leading the nation in providing equitable, high impact gifted programming.

We strive to ensure that gifted and talented students are engaged, rigorously challenged and supported to reach their full emotional, intellectual, and creative potential. By equipping students to become successful, critical, compassionate, and collaborative individuals, we are preparing them to become leaders and citizens of the 21st century.

Our Services

We provide services to gifted/high potential students and their families. Gifted and Talented Services oversees gifted and highly-gifted identification in the district. Gifted identification begins at the school level with the GT teacher and ends with a district level identification team review process. In addition, we support and monitor each schools’ gifted programming in order to support best practice for gifted learners.

Gifted Programming in Denver Public Schools

What is Giftedness?

Children are gifted when their ability is significantly above the norm for their age. Giftedness may manifest in one or more domains such as; intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or in a specific academic field such as language arts, mathematics or science. It is important to note that not all gifted children look or act alike. Giftedness exists in every demographic group and personality type. It is important that adults look hard to discover potential and support gifted children as they reach for their personal best.

Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals

Because gifted children are so diverse, not all exhibit all characteristics all of the time. However, there are common characteristics that many gifted individuals share:

  • Unusual alertness, even in infancy
  • Rapid learner; puts thoughts together quickly
  • Excellent memory
  • Unusually large vocabulary and complex sentence structure for age
  • Advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas
  • Enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles
  • Often self-taught reading and writing skills as preschooler
  • Deep, intense feelings and reactions
  • Highly sensitive
  • Thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful
  • Idealism and sense of justice at early age
  • Concern with social and political issues and injustices
  • Longer attention span and intense concentration
  • Preoccupied with own thoughts—daydreamer
  • Learn basic skills quickly and with little practice
  • Asks probing questions
  • Wide range of interests (or extreme focus in one area)
  • Highly developed curiosity
  • Interest in experimenting and doing things differently
  • Puts idea or things together that are not typical
  • Keen and/or unusual sense of humor
  • Desire to organize people/things through games or complex schemas
  • Vivid imaginations (and imaginary playmates when in preschool)

Reproduced by permission from: Webb, J., Gore, J., Amend, E., DeVries, A. (2007). A parent’s guide to gifted children.                             

What is Highly/Profoundly Gifted?

Profoundly intelligent young people are those with an exceptionally high level of intellectual precocity. While neither exceptionally high nor low intelligence can be determined only in terms of an intelligence quotient, an IQ score can be a useful index for identifying the intellectual potential of an individual by looking at the individual’s “mental age” and comparing it to his/her “chronological age”.

It’s important to also note that, despite many stereotypes, profoundly intelligent young people come from all ethnic groups, races, economic levels, and geographic areas. Like other young people, the profoundly intelligent are unique individuals with varied and multifaceted traits:

  • Some of them demonstrate mastery in multiple domain areas; others excel in a single domain area.
  • Some of them have highly developed social skills; others have limited social skills.
  • Some of them are highly sensitive and suffer terribly from an unkind act or thoughtless remark; others are less affected.
  • Some of them are perfectionists; others are quite comfortable taking risks and making mistakes.
  • Some of them are extremely intense and appear to be hyperactive at times; others are not.
  • Some of them excel in their classes; others do not.
  • Some of them are both highly intelligent and learning disabled.
  • Many are highly verbal, highly mathematical, highly musical, highly athletic, highly inventive, and many excel in other areas.

Common Characteristics of Highly/Profoundly Gifted Individuals

While profoundly intelligent children are a diverse group of unique individuals, some of the characteristics they share in common are:

  • An extreme need for constant mental stimulation.
  • An ability to learn and process complex information rapidly.
  • A precocious ability to perceive essential elements and underlying structures and patterns in relationships and ideas.
  • A need to explore subjects in surprising depth, to understand the why and how as well as the what.
  • An insatiable curiosity; endless questions and inquiries about how things work.
  • A need for precision in thinking and expression. A student who answers questions with “that depends…” is your first clue of extreme intelligence.
  • An ability to focus intently on a subject of interest for long periods of time.
  • An inability to concentrate on a task that is not intellectually challenging, such as those that involve repetition or that present material in bite size pieces.
  • A propensity toward underachievement, particularly in females and adolescents who want to fit with their classmates.


The Davidson Institute

ALL schools in the district are responsible for meeting the needs of identified gifted and talented students.   Services range from co-teaching by the gifted education teacher, pull-out programs, cluster grouping for instruction, curriculum compacting, as well as a variety of enrichment opportunities.  The gifted education teacher collaborates with classroom teachers in differentiating instruction as appropriate for gifted students, and may implement curriculum materials developed by the Gifted and Talented Department to enrich and extend learning for gifted, talented, and/or advanced students. The gifted education teacher, in collaboration with the classroom teacher, parent and student develop and support the implementation of advanced learning plans which document programming for each individual child.

The Gifted and Talented magnet program provides an educational option for students in grades 1 through 8 to apply for center-based programming at one of the Magnet Program sites. This educational option is provided to address the extreme needs of magnet eligible students that may exhibit exceptional intellectual ability as well unique social and emotional needs.  Students benefit from the support provided by a peer group with similar interests and abilities.  This program is designed for the top one to two percent of students demonstrating the most extreme needs which cannot be met in a traditional classroom. This program is not specifically designed for students with abilities in the arts, leadership or creativity, although gifted students may also have these strengths.

Click here to see the feeder school list for our magnet sites.

Identification Process and Pathways

The gifted and talented identification process offers multiple opportunities and pathways for student identification in the following areas:

  • specific academic aptitude (reading, writing math, science, social studies, and world language)
  • specific talent aptitude (visual or performing arts, musical, dance or psychomotor abilities, creative or productive thinking and/or leadership abilities)
  • general or specific intellectual ability

All gifted identification must be based on a body of evidence, which must include standardized assessments. The development of a body of evidence is an ongoing process that does not require a parental request. The body of evidence must also contain a combination of the following: portfolios of work, rubrics, performance, observations, checklists and/or interviews. All information will be reviewed and evaluated by a highly qualified team to determine the educational needs of the student and the most suitable level of gifted support. Depending on level of need, your child may or may not qualify for gifted services.

This pathway is used to identify students with a demonstrated academic need in one or more of the subject areas below.  The student must have over time demonstrated advanced academic abilities beyond grade level to qualify for gifted services for specific academic aptitude.

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • World Language

Students with a cognitive score of 95 percentile or above can follow this pathway for identification in one or more academic areas.  Each academic area requires three pieces of supporting evidence for formal identification.   Please note that the ability score must be from a school district.   Denver Public Schools does not accept private assessments as the sole means of identifying students for gifted services.


Students without a cognitive score of 95 percentile or above can follow the pathway below for identification in one or more academic areas.  Academic strengths must be demonstrated over time.  Each academic area requires three pieces of supporting evidence for formal identification.


This pathway is used to identify students with a demonstrated talent beyond what is typical for peers of the same age in one or more of the subject areas below. Each talent area requires three pieces of supporting evidence for formal identification.

  • Visual Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Psychomotor
  • Creativity
  • Leadership


The general intellectual pathway is used as an exception to the rules for identification outlined above.  This pathway is used for students with a cognitive score of 95 percentile or above with no other qualifying achievement or performance data.  This pathway is used only in extreme cases.  The gifted and talented identification team makes determination of eligibility for this pathway when reviewing the body of evidence for an individual child.

Why would I want my child identified for gifted services?

In order to achieve their full potential, gifted students need the support of unique programming designed to meet their needs.  This programming may include a variety of different strategies designed to address both the academic and social/ emotional needs of gifted students.

What should I do if I think my child may be gifted?

Begin by talking with the gifted teacher or building designee at your child’s DPS school. They will be able to answer your questions about the identification process. See the Identification section for additional information about the required pieces of information needed for gifted identification.

In what areas can my child be identified for gifted services?

Students may be identified in three categories: Academic Aptitude, Specific Talent Aptitude, or General Intellectual Ability.  Academic areas include:  reading, writing, math, science, social studies and world language. Talent aptitude encompasses visual and performing arts, music, dance, psychomotor, creativity and leadership.  Students may be identified in more than one area.  Please visit the identification tab to find out more.

What is ability testing and why is it a part of identification for gifted services?

Ability testing allows the student to demonstrate their potential to think and reason in a way that is not captured on grade level achievement tests. It is a critical component for the identification gifted learners because it is a student’s advanced ability that requires accommodations in the classroom.

How do I prepare my child for taking an ability test?

Cognitive tests are not tests that can or should be studied for. However, should your child participate in testing, you will receive an “Intent to Test” letter prior to the testing date. You can inform your child that the test is taking place and prepare them through adequate sleep and a healthy breakfast.

How do I understand the results of the ability testing my child participated in?

Watch the NNAT2 PowerPoint presentation here.

The purpose of this presentation is to help parents understand the NNAT2 assessment given to their children in Kindergarten and 2nd grade as part Denver Public Schools universal screening for gifted and talented identification/programming

Does an NNAT2 score or CogAT score automatically identify my child as gifted or highly gifted?

No. These scores are part of information gathered for a body of evidence. This means that one test score alone does not qualify a child. Please review the identification tab for more information.

What is the difference between a GT identification and a GT magnet eligible (HGT) identification?

GT identified students are those students performing well beyond their age mates and within the top fifth percentile in both ability and achievement areas. GT students require modifications in their academic strength area in order to realize their full potential as well as social and emotional support. These modifications are made together with the GT and classroom teachers at the child’s school of attendance.

Students who are in need of magnet level services (HGT) are students who need full time, intensive services delivered by highly qualified gifted teachers beyond what can be offered at traditional schools. These students comprise 1-3 percent of the total population. HGT students are identified as highly gifted with a cognitive score that is 98%ile or above and a body of evidence that supports the need for full time gifted and talented services.

If my child is GT identified, does he/she have to leave his/her current school to receive services?

No. There are Gifted Education teachers in every K-5, K-8 or 6-8 building and GT points of contact at DPS Charter schools who are there to support classroom teachers in making sure your child’s learning needs are addressed.   Your child will receive an Advanced Learning Plan each year to support their growth in their area of strength.

If my child is identified for the magnet (HGT) program does he/she have to leave his/her current school?

Your child only needs to leave his/her school if you feel that his/her needs are not able to be addressed in your current school. You will want to talk with your child to determine if s/he is challenged, learning something new every day, has a group of peers with whom s/he can relate and is generally happy at school. If the answers to these questions are “yes,” there may be no need to make a change. However, if the answer to one or more of these questions is “no,” then you may want to consider “choicing in” to one of the magnet sites. At a magnet site, the teachers have training and experience in working with highly gifted students. The teachers make accommodations in their curriculum for advanced learners and have other students with similar learning needs. Highly gifted students make up only 1-3 percent of the total population so finding like peers and others needing the same level of academic challenge in a traditional school is highly unlikely, which is why DPS offers magnet schools.

Does DPS use private IQ assessments for formal DPS gifted identification?

No. In order to assure equity of opportunity, the district uses only IQ assessments that have been administered by a school or school district. If you have data from a private assessment you are welcome to submit it as part of a body of evidence, however it cannot be used in place of district-administered qualifying data.

What if my child was identified for gifted services in another district or state?

Please submit all documents including any achievement and ability test results from your prior district/state to your school’s GT Teacher or designated point of contact. The Central Identification Team will review all documentation to assure alignment with the state of Colorado’s identification criteria.

If you are in the process of moving to Denver, please reach out to the Gifted and Talented Department for guidance regarding potential placement options for your student.

What if I want to appeal the identification team’s decision?

It is the goal of  DPS  to provide all of our students with appropriate academic services. When there is a disagreement on matters pertaining to the identification, evaluation and eligibility for gifted services the District Resolution Dispute Process may be initiated.

Written appeals based on one of the following criteria will be considered:

  • A condition or circumstance believed to have caused a misinterpretation of the testing results and or district data included in the body of evidence (for example, an incorrect birth date or grade level used in calculation of the student’s score).
  • An extraordinary circumstance occurred during the testing period that may negatively affect the validity of the test results such as a death in the family or extreme physical ailment.
  • The suspicion of an error in the administration of the assessment.  For example: The designated proctor did not follow assessment prescribed protocols.  Testing day or time of assessment within the school day are not considered to be errors in administration.
  • A misapplication or miscalculation of the scores by the selection committee.
  • Outside testing will not be considered as a reason for appeal.

Written appeals must include your name, address, phone number, email, the student’s name, date of birth, school of attendance, and a reason for the appeal based on the above criteria.  Appeals must be completed and received in the district office within ten (10) business days following the notification of identification decision. Please send appeals to:  Attention: Appeal Review Team Gifted and Talented Department/  1860 Lincoln Street 8th Floor NE /  Denver, CO 80203

All appeals will go before the Appeal Review Team, and you will be notified of the decision by email. The team may contact you for additional information if necessary.

The decision of the Appeal Review Team is final.

Where can I find out more about giftedness and supporting my child?

There are many wonderful resources for families to learn more about giftedness and supporting your child. These links are provided as a source of general information on giftedness.  Please note this is not an exhaustive list and many additional resources are available.

  • SENG is a website to promote understanding and support for the social emotional needs of gifted children.
  • The NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) website is a site for general information about giftedness.
  • CAGT is the website for our Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented.
  • Hoagies’ Gifted Education has a wealth of information and resources for parents.

Please click the link below for a detailed description of academic terms related to gifted education: Glossary of Gifted Terms

Universal Screening Assessment

Gifted and talented children are students whose demonstrated abilities, talents and/or potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational needs. These students perform, or show the potential of performing, at remarkably high levels in general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude or specific talent aptitude when compared with others of their age and experience. Gifted and talented children are present in all student groups, regardless of gender, disability, English language proficiency, economic status, ethnic or cultural background.

Want to Learn More?

Gifted and talented children in DPS are students whose demonstrated abilities, talents and/or potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational needs. These students perform, or show the potential of performing, at remarkably high levels in general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude or specific talent aptitude when compared with others of their age and experience. Gifted and talented children are present in all student groups, regardless of gender, disability, English language proficiency, economic status, ethnic or cultural background.

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