Purpose for Gifted Identification
The Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA) defines "gifted" children as:

Those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs.

In order to meet those exceptional needs, Durango District 9-R tests all second and sixth graders with a cognitive ability assessment. Universal testing at two grade levels followed by regular reviews of student data help us meet our vision for equitable identification in Durango Schools. 

Parents, educators, community stakeholders, and students can refer students at any time for gifted identification. All referrals are accepted, and gifted facilitators collect data on referred students to determine if they meet criteria under Colorado Department of Education (CDE) regulations for gifted students. To meet criteria, students must score at the 95th percentile or higher on one or more of their gifted assessments as they collect a robust body of evidence.

Universal Screening
Durango School District tests all second and sixth grade students using the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) to ensure equitable identification opportunities for all students, regardless of exceptionality, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, or home language. Students who move to the district after a screening year participate as a “makeup” student in the next year’s universal screening to ensure a true universal screening of all Durango District students.

Qualifying for Gifted Services
Students’ performance on one or more of their gifted assessments at the 95th percentile or higher--based on CDE regulations--qualifies them for gifted services in the state of Colorado and in Durango Schools. Students’ performance on these assessments at the 80th percentile up the 94th percentile--based on CDE guidance--qualifies them for talent pool services in a multi-tiered system of support in the state of Colorado and in Durango Schools. Students in the talent pool continue to receive advanced opportunities, during which gifted educators continue to collect a body of evidence for these students.

Body of Evidence
Qualified teams review all referred students’ body of evidence and all talent pool students’ body of evidence on a regular basis as part of a multi-tiered system of support. Students are not denied services or identification on the basis of performance on any single score or instrument. This ongoing review informs students’ supports whether or not they are formally identified. Students in the talent pool have multiple avenues to provide a robust body of evidence through performance, behaviors, and diverse talent demonstrations of giftedness over time under CDE regulations and guidance to help reduce bias.

Formal Identification
Students who meet the CDE definition of gifted are identified by identification teams that always include a gifted specialist endorsed in gifted education. Gifted teachers provide students and families with information on giftedness as they prepare for their initial Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) meeting. Families and students are encouraged to actively participate in every stage of the ALP process.

For more information on Gifted Identification in Durango District 9-R, please contact your building Gifted Facilitator or the District Gifted Coordinator.