We are fortunate at Bill Roberts to have a relatively large population of gifted and talented students – approximately 20% of our students receive GT programming. Apart from magnet schools, Bill Roberts has one of the highest percentages of GT kids in the district.
For GT identification, students need a body of evidence including three or more scores at or above the 95th percentile on state-approved measures. Both ability and achievement scores can be part of the body of evidence.
DPS administers the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) as a universal screener in Kindergarten, 2nd and 6th graders to ensure all students are given the opportunity to receive GT programming. In addition to these screeners, other measures will be used to complete the body of evidence, these can include Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT), Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) and Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS). For equity, DPS policy does not allow private testing to be used for GT identification.
The short answer is that all teachers at Bill Roberts teach gifted learners, because our staff is masterful at differentiation.
There are two teachers who specificallyteach GT to support gifted and high-achieving learners in a variety of ways. Both support classroom teachers with co-planning, providing resources and pushing in to the classroom to offer additional differentiation. They also do direct service with students in small-group pull-outs. The groups are fluid and evolve throughout the year to respond to student need. Here is a brief overview:
Kindergarten – consult only, except in rare cases where a student does not have intellectual peers in the classroom.
1st and 2nd grades – support teachers and push-in to classrooms needing extra challenge lessons and pull-out groups.
*Often, students this young are not yet formally identified, but require additional academic challenges. The zone of proximal development varies widely in these grades as students are mastering foundational skills. A GT teacher pulls challenge groups for both literacy and math to support the 1st and 2nd grade teams and ensure that students needing an additional academic challenge receive that opportunity, regardless of formal identification.
3rd & 4th grades – math support/extension, literacy support/extension.
5th grade – GT lead teacher sees formally-identified students in small-group pull out.
6th grade – GT lead teacher sees formally-identified students in rotating Power Hour schedule.
7/8th grades – GT lead teacher consults with core teachers and teaches a Creative Thinking elective as well as a Yearbook elective.
We provide additional services for these children in many forms and have GT specialists onsite. Much of our GT programming takes place in the students’ own classrooms. Classroom teachers use a variety of strategies to create challenging learning opportunities for gifted students. Some of these GT teaching techniques include:
At Bill Roberts, we provide pull out instruction for gifted students in 1st-5th grades. During pull out instruction time, small groups of students meet with a GT specialist. The specialist provides activities that help students learn problem-solving skills by thinking creatively and abstractly. Our intent is to push students’ learning and thinking to a deeper level. Pull-out groups are “fluid,” meaning they will be flexible and change throughout the year based on teacher assessments, students’ needs and individual skills.
Our school offers enrichment programs for GT students in 6th-8th grades. Our GT teacher teaches two electives for middle school: Creative Thinking and Yearbook. In Creative Thinking, students engage in a variety of learning activities that activate creative thinking, logical thinking, teamwork and an opportunity to pursue a passion project. Creative thinking is different each trimester so students can take it multiple times; it is open to GT identified students, or students seeking an additional challenge. Yearbook is by application only and the team of students works together to build the annual Bill Roberts yearbook.
In the Denver Public Schools, “gifted and talented” means those 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 intellectual, specific academic or creative areas 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.
It is a Denver Public Schools’ policy that ALL students be screened for gifted services at the school level. Identification is based on multiple criteria from behavioral, academic, and creative domains.
In addition to the universal screener (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test) administered in Kindergarten, 2nd and 6th grades, parents of students in other grades may nominate students to take the CogAT (Cognitive abilities Test) for HGT identification to attend a magnet program. For more information, please visit the DPS GT website.