Colorado Springs School District 11 Gifted & Talented Department Handbook

Future Problem Solving Programming International-

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Future Problem Solving Programming International- Grades 4-12. It provides a competitive format for students to solve complex problems creatively. Under guidance of a teacher/coach, teams of four students use the FPSP six-step model to explore challenges and propose action plans to complex societal problems. Link:
MATHCOUNTS Competition Program- Grades 6-8. This program provides the extra incentive and the perfect atmosphere for students to push themselves to achieve more in mathematics. Consisting of fun and creative problems, the MATHCOUNTS competitions have written and oral rounds, as well as individual and team components. Though challenging and non-routine, the competition problems focus on the 6th through 8th grade standards of the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics.
Michael A. Bartusek, Associated Design Professionals, Inc., 3520 Austin Bluffs Parkway, #200, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, (719) 266-5212. Link:
Whiz Bang Science Summer Program at Colorado College-Grades 1-6. This is a two week, half day, science enrichment program. The staff consists of experienced classroom teachers from local schools who are experts in science education. They mentor the elementary Master of Arts in Teaching students at Colorado College in planning lessons and instructing small groups of children. The pupil-to-teacher ratio is kept low, encouraging individual exploration and small group interaction. Link: www.coloradocollege/thedepartmentoreducation/

Community Offerings for the whole Family

Bear Creek Nature Center and Fountain Creek Nature Center- Many trails for hiking and viewing wildlife, along with interesting programs are offered throughout the year, especially during the summer. Link:, or call 719-520-6387.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society-All grades. This is the only mountain zoo in North America, funded solely with donations and grants. It offers a summer work program for students’ grades 6-12. It allows students to volunteer at the zoo, gaining information from behind the scenes while working with the animals and how a zoo operates. Link:, or call 719- 475-9555.
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center-Grades K-12. Located just outside of Divide, Colorado, the center is dedicated to the rescue of and education about wolves and wolf-hybrids. It offers daily educational tours and ongoing volunteer opportunities. Link:
Denver Museum of Nature and Science-Grades 6-12. The museum offers many exhibits for a variety of interests: dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies, gems and stones, space, wildlife exhibits, health and the body, and a number of temporary exhibits which change every few months. It also offers an IMAX theater and state of the art planetarium. Link: , or call 303-322-7009.
Denver Zoo-All grades. State owned, this is an excellent zoo for visiting. It offers classes and activities, ranging from one day to all summer. Link:, or call 303- 376-4800.
Garden of the Gods-All ages. Garden of the Gods Park is a registered national landmark and a geological paradise, including 300' towering sandstone rock formations, against a backdrop of Pikes Peak. The visitor center offers guided tours through the park and a multi-media geology show: "How Did Those Red Rocks Get There?”.
Imagination Celebration and Theater Group- Grades 1-12. Celebration Place at the Citadel is a world of creativity, including singers, dancers, puppet shows, storytelling, magicians, summer camps, family art workshops, poetry slams, and art exhibitions. Link:
Pikes Peak Public Libraries- They offer an excellent reading program over the summer. Many games and activities are offered at the different locations, ranging from puppet shows and movie nights to catapult building. Check with your local library in May for details. Link: .
Rock Ledge Ranch-All Grades. A living history museum right next to the Garden of the Gods, it offers many various programs throughout the year, from hog dressing to Victorian Christmas celebrations, and classes such as blacksmithing. Link:, or call


Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center-All grades. Located in Woodland Park, it houses awe inspiring exhibits which include dinosaurs and prehistoric marine reptiles, pterosaurs, and fish of North America’s late Cretaceous period. Link:
Reading Materials

Resources The district has 90 gifted and talented books in the Tesla library for teachers and parents to check out and read. To view the titles follow the following directions:

District 11 Online Catalog - Type “Gifted” in the search box to see the materials addressing gifted education.

Glossary of Terms
The swirl of words surrounding teaching gifted and talented education can be frustrating for parents and others not in the field. Here is a list of key terms and what they mean.
2e: (or 2X) see Twice Exceptional
504: Section 504 is a portion of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 outlining the civil rights of persons with disabilities. Section 504 covers preschool, elementary and secondary school policies involving placement of children with physical and mental disabilities. 504 is separate from Special Education.
Ability Grouping The grouping of children of high ability and/or achievement levels grouped for accelerated and/or in-depth learning.
Acceleration An educational approach that moves a student from one level of instruction to a higher level of instruction; providing learning experiences that are usually given to older students.
Achievement The level of student accomplishment in a particular subject area from one point to another (normally higher) point.
ALP (Advanced Learning Plan) This is a state mandated document describing the way in which a gifted student is being served according to his or her talent areas.

Affective Learning Learning through emotional responses.
Alternative Assignments Assignments that modify the content, incorporating an in-depth focus.
Aptitude Capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for a specific talent. Readiness or quickness in learning.
Baseline A starting point from which activities are carried out, measured and compared.
Cluster Grouping Similar ability students in a grade are grouped together to allow social and academic interaction between peers. These groups are flexible, allowing students to join or leave during the school year, depending on student needs.
Contract Learning A student and teacher jointly develop a contract to meet specific learning outcome(s); this often involves modifying regular class-work.
Creative Ability Students who possess this ability have active imaginations and develop original approaches to tasks. They find new ideas, new implications, and novel uses of otherwise ordinary items. Versatility of intellectual response, independent thought, and freedom of expression are common characteristics of highly creative students. Behaviors include flexibility, fluency, originality and elaboration of thought.
Cross Grade Grouping A student studies specific content at a higher grade level (e.g., a 3rd grade student takes math instruction with a 4th grade class).

Curriculum Compacting As a result of demonstrated mastery on a pre-assessment, a student can choose another unit of study or can go more in-depth in content.

Divergent Thinking The ability to come up with a large number of possible and original associations or solutions to problems.
Enrichment Curriculum modifications that allow deeper or broader study than is ordinarily available in the standard classroom offerings.
Fast Pace Substantial increase in tempo of content presentation and acquisition.
Grade Acceleration Typically associated with grade skipping. For example, a first grade student moves to second grade for his/her full day of instruction.
GRT ( Gifted Resource Teacher) A staff member in each school who is responsible for identifying and providing services to gifted students and/or making sure proper services are available to these students.
Higher Level Thinking Questions Questions used in discussions or activities based on processing that requires analysis, synthesis, evaluation, or other critical thinking skills. Bloom‘s Taxonomy is a popular model that is often used.
Honors Courses Courses existing in secondary and collegiate locations, providing a higher level of rigor and/or independent study opportunities.
Independent Study This is normally a personalized learning contract where the student is largely responsible for his/her own learning, allowing a student to individually investigate an area of high interest or advance his/her knowledge. Typically the outcome is a product.
IEP (Individual Education Plan) Kids with delayed skills or other disabilities might be eligible for special services that provide individualized education programs in public schools, free of charge to families.
Interest Grouping Students are grouped by similar interests.
Internship A program that provides practical experience for students in an occupation or profession.
Leadership Ability A student with this ability is successful in interpersonal relationships and can lead a group of various personalities toward achieving group goals.
Learning Style Grouping Students are grouped by similar learning styles (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic).
Mental Age The mental ability of a child stated as the chronological age for which the mental ability is considered normal.
Mentorship A one-to-one relationship between a student and an outside-of school expert for learning purposes.
Motivation That which drives the student to accomplish certain goals – these can be internally (personal and intrinsic) or externally (parent/teacher) driven.

Potential The possibility of future success in a specific talent area (closely related to aptitude).
Pull-out Students are ―pulled from the classroom for extension or enrichment activities.
Research A diligent protracted investigation; to study using scientific principles, including the collection of data and the evaluation of findings. Research can be conducted to find solutions to problems and to formulate plans.
RTI (Response To Intervention) This is an individual, comprehensive, student-centered needs-based problem solving process. Educators employ research-based interventions to ensure student achievement. (See page 8 for specific RTI strategies for gifted students.)
Screening Process for Identification An inclusive search for specific students using a variety of assessment tools and data to help identify and meet the needs of an advanced student throughout his/her educational career.
Taxonomy The branch of a subject which consists in or relates to classification of thinking and understanding.
Telescoping Curriculum Shortening the amount of time a student is given to progress through a year‘s curriculum at a specific grade level.
Tiered Products Products at varied levels of difficulty.
Twice Exceptional (also referred to as ―2E) These students are gifted AND also have a 504 or IEP.
Underachiever A student whose academic achievement is at a level below that which is expected, based on the student‘s aptitude or ability.
Under-developed Capacities Capacities that have atrophied because of poor early environment, retarded language development, cultural disadvantages, or emotional problems.

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