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Gifted/Talented Program To be more Inclusive, Flexible, and Empowering

“We’re building something new, and we’re in the midst of change,” said Dylan Connell, 9-R’s executive director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. “Providing equitable and high-quality experiences for every student is a goal of our entire district. This includes planning specialized instruction for our gifted/talented learners.”

The new G/T program was accepted by 9-R’s Gifted Advisory Committee of school parents and includes the following benefits:

  • Equitable in-school access to services: All elementary students will have regular visits from mobile G/T teachers and specialists – including elementary schools in outlying areas of La Plata County (Fort Lewis Mesa, Sunnyside, Florida Mesa and Animas Valley).
  • At least four community-supported G/T-focused events per year: G/T students will have learning opportunities outside of school that may include an arts and creativity festival, STEM-based explorations, Destination Imagination and leadership seminars.
  • Team-based focus on students: G/T students will receive accelerated curriculum and support from multiple staff members, including: a G/T program specialist, three full-time G/T elementary teachers, instructional specialists, interventionists, a STEM coordinator and cluster-group teachers. G/T students will also access social-emotional support from counselors at each school
  • Staff empowered by coaching: In the cluster model, instructional specialists will provide coaching to teachers to provide effective tiered instruction for accelerated learning. This empowers teachers and helps G/T learners feel challenged – but not separate – from their classmates. While pull-out services will still occur, we know G/T learners are gifted all of the time, not just some of the time.
  • Portrait of a Graduate experiences: G/T learners will benefit from our focus on our new Portrait of a Graduate competencies, scheduled to be released in May. Beyond content mastery, these experiences will allow students to thrive in areas such as creative problem-solving, critical thinking and global communication.
“We believe these changes will allow our elementary G/T students to have more access, more special learning opportunities, and more focused attention from multiple staff members than they have in the past,” said 9-R Superintendent Karen Cheser. “This is part of our approach in meeting the needs of all our students. They’re all different, and they all have an opportunity to thrive.”