We endeavor to support intellectual, academic, creative, social and emotional development of our gifted students, our talented students, and our advanced learners, ensuring they receive an appropriate and engaging education, all day and every day, according to their abilities and potential.
Is my student a high ability learner?
Traits of Giftedness
No gifted individual is exactly the same, each with his own unique patterns and traits. There are many traits that gifted individuals have in common, but no gifted learner exhibits traits in every area. This list of traits may help you better understand whether or not your child is gifted.
Keen power of abstraction
Interest in problem-solving and applying concepts
Voracious and early reader
Power of critical thinking, skepticism, self-criticism
Persistent, goal-directed behavior
Independence in work and study
Diversity of interests and abilities
Creativeness and inventiveness
Keen sense of humor
Ability for fantasy
Openness to stimuli, wide interests
Independence in attitude and social behavior
Self-acceptance and unconcern for social norms
Aesthetic and moral commitment to self-selected work
Unusual emotional depth and intensity
Sensitivity or empathy to the feelings of others
High expectations of self and others, often leading to feelings of frustration
Heightened self-awareness, accompanied by feelings of being different
Easily wounded, need for emotional support
Need for consistency between abstract values and personal actions
Advanced levels of moral judgment
Idealism and sense of justice
Intensely focused on passions—resists changing activities when engrossed in own interests
Highly energetic—needs little sleep or down time
Impulsive, eager and spirited
Perseverance—strong determination in areas of importance
High levels of frustration—particularly when having difficulty meeting standards of performance (either imposed by self or others)
Volatile temper, especially related to perceptions of failure
Source: Clark, B. (2008). Growing up gifted (7th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
How do I refer my student?
You may contact your school's administration or the District's high ability coordinator to begin the referral process.
The process for referring a student for testing, identifying that students' 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, participation, emotional, developmental and other factors.
- testing begins with a screener
- students who score well on the screener continue on with the rest of the assessments
- these assessments are the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) and the Iowa
- 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
When is testing?
Testing is done two times each year at the elementary schools; in the fall and in the winter. Please contact your school for specific information.
Testing is also done off-site two times a year, including during the summer. You may contact Shauna Williams for more information about those testing dates.
If you have moved into the District after testing has been completed for the year, please fill out this survey.
Who do I contact at my school for info?
You may contact the front office for up-to-date contact information. Each elementary school has a high ability representative that can answer your questions. The front office staff will be able to get you in touch with the correct person.
The office staff at the secondary schools will put you in contact with the counselor or administrative person that can answer your questions.
You can contact Shauna Williams at the District office with any questions regarding high ability service.
What events are offered for enrichment?
Each year, District students may participate in various learning events, including:
- Storytelling Festival
- Geography Challenge
- Spelling Bee
- History Day
- Lego League
- Creative Writing Contest
- History Day
- Science and Engineering Fair
Information about these events will be posted in the parent newsletter (linked under the Newsletter tab.) Not every school participates in every event. Please contact your school to inquire about the events in which your child might participate.
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?
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.