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High Ability

Is my student a high ability learner?

There are many definitions of giftedness and equally as many ways to formally identify whether or not a child is gifted. Essentially, as NAGC defines in the article “What is Giftedness?”, “Children are gifted when their ability is significantly above the norm for their age.” Students can exhibit gifted abilities in various spheres – creatively, intellectually, musically, academically across the board or in a specific subject area such as math, language arts, or science. 

Signs of Giftedness in Children Include:

  • an extreme need for constant mental stimulation
  • an ability to learn and process complex information rapidly
  • a need to explore subjects in surprising depth
  • an insatiable curiosity, as demonstrated by endless questions and inquiries
  • ability to comprehend material several grade levels above their age peers
  • surprising emotional depth and sensitivity at a young age
  • enthusiastic about unique interests and topics
  • quirky or mature sense of humor
  • creative problem solving and imaginative expression
  • absorbs information quickly with few repetitions needed
  • self-aware, socially aware, and aware of global issues

How do I refer my student?

The process for referring a student for testing, identifying that student’s needs, and developing services based on those needs involves: 

  • a parent survey
    • this survey gives valuable information about the student; not just academic, but social, emotional, and developmental aspects as well.
  • a teacher survey
    • this survey looks at attendance, academic achievement, emotional, developmental and other factors.
  • testing
    • testing begins with a screener
    • students who score well on the screener continue on with the remainder of the assessments
    • these assessments are the Cognitive Abilities Test and the Iowa Test
      • if you would like further information about these assessments, please reach out to the High Ability Coordinator. 
  • teacher and parent collaboration
    • after data is gathered, teachers and parents can work together to develop a plan for the student
  • first grade students are universally screened in the fall–you do not need to refer your first grade student for high ability testing

If you are interested in having your child assessed, you may contact the school for details about when testing will be done at the site.  You may also fill out this form and you will be contacted.

When is testing?

Testing is done two times each year at the elementary schools: October/November and January/February.  Please contact your school for specific information.

If you have moved into the District after testing has been completed for the year, please fill out this survey.  Testing is done during the summer.

Who do I contact at my school for information?
Arrowhead Alisha Miller
Bloomington Jennilyn Stuart
Bloomington Hills Chelsie Merrill
Coral Canyon Kristin Humphries
Coral Cliffs Tammy Peterson
Crimson View Melody Thieme
Desert Canyons Richa Biasi
Diamond Valley Darlene Tanner
Paradise Canyon Kristin Holyoak
Enterprise Tara Messersmith
Heritage Brooklyn McLaws
Horizon Alena Ogden
Hurricane Tasha Winegar
LaVerkin Brittany Faiga
Legacy Nichol Lyman
Little Valley Heather Day
Little Valley MaCail Wright
Majestic Yvonne Fordham
Panorama Chris Barrett
Red Mountain Emma Leavitt
Riverside Michelle Green
Sandstone Diane Harrison
Santa Clara Daven Trammell
South Mesa Nikayla Ruiz
Springdale Chris Snodgress
Sunset Brylee Nixon
Three Falls Lana Eldredge
Washington Erin Fisher
Water Canyon Nicole Sjo
What events are offered for enrichment?
Storytelling festival in November, geography challenge in December, history day  in March, spelling bee in February, history day in March, science fair in May

See this flyer for information about the events that are being held this year.  Reach out to the office at your school for information about the events in which your school is participating.

What services are offered in WCSD

Washington County School District offers an array of services for our advanced students; in the classroom, grade-level, school-wide, and District based.  

This continuum of services can include pull-out, enrichment, acceleration, grouping, mentoring, service opportunities and academic competitions.  These options begin the elementary schools.  Also available in the elementary schools is the Advanced Learning Program, offered at two schools.  These schools offer high ability classes in grades 1-5.  Students must score well on the advanced assessments and be invited to attend these magnet schools.

The Advanced Learning Program offers a unique environment for the high ability learner; the pace is quick and the learning is deep and complex.  Curriculum and strategies are geared specifically to this type of learner.  Social and emotional aspects of the high ability learner are also addressed.  

The need for gifted education does not end at the end of the elementary years. Secondary gifted education should build upon a challenging curriculum introduced in the elementary years. Gifted education should include strong mentoring; sustained enrichment; and opportunities to work with peer networks. 

What about whole grade acceleration or grade-skipping?

**Maureen Marron spends a lot of time thinking about how schools can meet the needs of high-ability students. An associate research scientist at the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa, Marron sees grade skipping as just one option in an academic tool kit known as “acceleration.”

“Skipping a grade isn’t the answer for every gifted student,” Marron says. “Acceleration means matching the curriculum to a student’s abilities. For one student, that may mean grade skipping; for another, it may mean acceleration in a single subject, like math; for other students, enrichment-based activities in the classroom are all they need.” Other acceleration options for high-performing children can include starting kindergarten early, taking AP courses in high school, or fast-tracking to college.**

Washington County School District has a dedicated process for acceleration consideration that takes into account academic achievement, ability, social and emotional readiness, and other factors.  If you are interested in having your child considered for whole grade acceleration, please contact your school’s principal to begin the process.  

Woman looking at primary age kid

We serve the High Ability needs of the students in Washington County.