Gifted and Talented Early Access
What is “Early Access”?
The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA), defines “Early Access” as “early entrance to kindergarten at age 4 or first grade at age 5 for highly advanced gifted children who are placed in a grade level above other same aged peers” based on the following conditions:
- The student is formally identified as “highly gifted”; and
- The student meets requirements for accelerated placement as determined by a cumulative body of evidence (e.g., achievement, ability, social-emotional factors, school learning skills, developmental characteristics, and family and school support).
The State of Colorado has determined that only students who are identified as “highly gifted” may apply for early entrance into kindergarten and/or first grade. “Highly gifted” is defined as students who demonstrate highly gifted abilities at the 97th percentile or higher on achievement and cognitive assessments. [Rule Section 12.02(2)(I) and 12.08]
“Early Access” in Mapleton
Mapleton uses the following guidance and procedures for its Early Access program.
The student must:
- qualify as “highly gifted” (at or above the 97th percentile) based on a comprehensive body of evidence, synthesized into a student profile of strengths;
- be socially and emotionally mature;
- be motivated to learn;
- be ready for advanced placement; and
- have exhausted the existing resources of preschool or home schooling.
The student must meet the following age requirements by October 1st:
- 4 years of age for Kindergarten, or
- 5 years of age for 1st
The application window runs from January 1st through March 31st each year. Referrals received after March 31st are evaluated at the discretion of the district.
Final classroom placement must be completed by September 1st.
The following articles can help educators and families gain a better understanding of what giftedness may look like in young children:
- Characteristics of Intellectually Advanced Young People (Davidson Institute)
- Preschool Behaviors in Gifted Children (MCGT)
Step 1: Application
The student is referred for Early Access by the parent/family or classroom teacher by submitting the following items to the Gifted Education Program, Mapleton Public Schools, 7350 N. Broadway, Denver, CO 80221:
- Early Access Entrance Application,
- Early Access Parent Survey,
- $50 Screening Fee (which may be waived upon receipt of a Free/Reduced Lunch Program application), and
- Student Screening Portfolio which may include:
- Letter of recommendation from preschool/kindergarten teacher
- Supporting anecdotal information such as a one-to-one interview
- Test data/observational data (e.g., TS GOLD student reports, Ages & Stages Questionnaire, math data, DIBELS data, private testing results, etc.)
- Student work samples (e.g., writing samples, projects, etc.)
Step 2: Initial Review
The application and portfolio materials are evaluated by a district team within 20 school days of receipt to determine if there is enough evidence to move forward with further evaluation and data collection. The district team is composed of staff from the Gifted Education Program, Early Childhood Program, and Teaching & Learning Services. This decision is communicated with the parent/family by telephone and letter.
Step 3: Data Collection
If a decision is made to continue with the evaluation process, within 30 school days an appointment is made for testing of the student, which may include individual IQ testing with a district-licensed school psychologist, a CogAT test, and/or the student’s family may provide private testing results. Data is collected from a variety of sources, which may include classroom performance, district assessments, embedded curriculum assessments, interviews, family and/or educator referrals, student surveys, and/or behavior scales.
Step 4: Data Evaluation
A determination team (comprised of personnel from the Gifted Education Program, Early Childhood Program, and school administration) reviews and analyzes the collected data. The analysis focuses on the student’s strengths and comprehensive readiness for early access. Collaboratively, the determination team decides if the child is intellectually and emotionally ready to benefit from early access to kindergarten or first grade. This decision is communicated with the parent/family by telephone and letter.
Step 5: Final Determination
A letter describing the final decision for early access is signed by the determination team, parent/family, receiving school director, and student’s classroom teacher. A copy of this letter is placed in the student’s digital school records.
Step 6: Advanced Learning Plan
If the student is accepted for early access, an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is collaboratively developed by the classroom teacher, gifted resource teacher, and parent/family by September 30th of the year of early access enrollment.
Step 7: Progress Monitoring
If the student is accepted for early access, regular monitoring of the ALP will occur between the family and teachers at each parent/teacher conference scheduled throughout the school year.
In the event of a dispute regarding the final determination, the parent/family can request dispute resolution via the district’s board policy on complaints [KE Public Concerns and Complaints, KE-E Formal Complaint Form].