Gifted and Talented Programming

Gifted and Talented Program

Goal: Academy Charter School (ACS) is dedicated to high-quality gifted/talented and enrichment programming that will serve as a model for other Charter schools in the district, state and county.

Gifted and Talented Definition:

As referenced on the DCSD Gifted Education website, gifted and talented students are those between the ages of four and twenty-one whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted students include students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic and ethnic, cultural populations. Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas:

  • General or Specific Intellectual Ability

  • Specific Academic Aptitude

  • Creative or Productive Thinking

  • Leadership Abilities

  • Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Musical or Psychomotor Abilities

Gifted Identification:

ACS follows Colorado state-mandated policies for identifying gifted and talented students. Identification is based on documented advanced cognitive ability, consistent above grade level performance, advanced scoring on state assessments, parent, teacher, and student input.

Once a student is identified, parents will be notified and an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP), a legal document, is written with input from the GT Faciliator, classroom teachers, parents and students. ALPs address the student’s academic strengths, identify goals for the upcoming school year and are used to tailor educational programming. Each ALP also includes an affective goal to address social/emotional needs. Classroom teachers, the GT Faciliator and the Enrichment Specialist work with students on their goals and those may be addressed through a variety of options during the school day. Teachers, students and parents reflect on progress toward goals at regular intervals.

ACS Gifted/Talented and Enrichment Programming Objectives:

Our objectives address our students, our parent community and our staff.

  1. We want to ensure that identified gifted, and high-achieving students, continue to grow and achieve through a system of support and customized services. Our Enrichment Specialist specializes in the unique characteristics and needs of gifted and talented students, and those with high abilities. Those students will be academically challenged in regular classroom settings, and when appropriate, placed in acceleration and enrichment groups so they will make continuous academic progress. Social and emotional programming is addressed on a case-by-case basis. We adhere to the Pre-K to Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards.

  2. We want to ensure the parents of our identified gifted students have a dedicated teacher advocate. The Enrichment Specialist is trained to discuss characteristics and behaviors associated with giftedness, access resources to develop individual talents and address elements of gifted programming and write/maintain ALPs according to current legislation. When needed, Gifted and Talented related information will be provided in their native language.

  3. We want to ensure our staff is trained on current best practices in meeting the needs of gifted and other high achieving students in the classroom. Our Enrichment Specialist collaborates, leads professional development, coaches and provides resources for all staff members.


Academy Charter School's Gifted Referral form Academy Charter School's Gifted Referral form (Spanish) DCSD Gifted Programming Website Douglas County Association of Gifted and Talented (DCAGT) Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented (CAGT) National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) Colorado Department of Education - Gifted Information

Meet the ACS Gifted and Talented Team:

Melinda Kennedy has 25 years of teaching experience and has worked with students as a classroom teacher, a technology specialist and a gifted and talented teacher. Melinda joined ACS in 2009. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English, a Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction and the Gifted Education Specialist endorsement. She is the GT Facilitator and the GT program lead. As an Enrichment Specialist she works primarily with upper elementary and middle school students. 


Dena Hicks has a long-standing connection with ACS as a parent and joined the staff in 2019. She has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Studies and  Master's degree in Elementary Education, K-5. As an Enrichment Specialist she works primarily with kindergarten and lower elementary students. 





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