Gifted Identification & Services

Gifted Identification

The Huntsville City Schools District defines gifted and talented students as:

  • Children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, and/or environment.
  • These children and youth exhibit high performance capability in intellectual, creative and/or artistic areas, may possess an unusual capacity for leadership, or excel in specific academic fields. These students require services beyond the rich and varied services normally provided by the regular classroom.
  • Outstanding talents are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata and in all areas of human endeavor.

Typically, gifted students fall within the top 5-7% of the general student population. The purpose of formally identifying gifted students is to plan for and monitor services to ensure the appropriate academic growth for each child. The Huntsville City Schools District has established guidelines for identifying students eligible for gifted programming. These guidelines support the approach of looking at a variety of information on a student, both quantitative and qualitative, in building a "body of evidence." It is the preponderance of evidence that will determine if a student needs targeted or intensive programming beyond the regular classroom.

More Information
The Body of Evidence

In building the body of evidence, information is gathered in four areas: aptitude, achievement, performance and behavior. Data is collected, both quantitative and qualitative, as evidence of intensive academic need and/or exceptional ability. Listed below are each of the four characteristics and the possible data that may be used under each area as possible sources of exceptional ability (Please note: not all of the assessments under each characteristic may be gathered or used):

  • Aptitude: Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales Second Edition (RIAS2), Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition (WISC-V)other.
  • Achievement: STAR Assessments, other.
  • Performance: portfolios, student products, report cards and grades, performance tasks, other.
  • Characteristcs: Kingore Observation Inventory, Parent Survey, Renzulli/Westberg Behavioral Rating Scales, HCS Screening Checklist, anecdotal notes and narratives, other. 
The Identification Process

Gifted referrals may occur during the appropriate referral window.  Please see your school's gifted teacher for exact deadlines each school year:

  • Gifted Referral Window for Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade – opens early August through the deadline at the end of September.
  • Second Grade Gifted Referrals- all second-grade students are screened for gifted; no need for parents/guardians to refer.
  • Acceleration Referral Window- August 1 through the deadline in early April.

Initial referral of students for consideration and screening for identification may come from a teacher, parent, the student him or herself, and/or a peer. The Talent Development Program is in place to assist in identification of gifted students.

The GATE teacher in each building is responsible for facilitating the identification process.

Formal identification occurs after the careful examination of the “Body of Evidence” for each referred student. Three possible outcomes are:

  1. There is sufficient data for identification of the student. An Advanced Education Plan (AEP) will be developed and shared with the parents and classroom teacher.
  2. The evidence does not support the identification of the student.
  3. Additional information is needed as part of this student's "Body of Evidence," in order to make the best determination of need.

Communication concerning the outcome of the student referral will be mailed directly to the child's parents or guardian.

​If a child is identified as gifted, an Advanced Education Plan (AEP) will be developed based on student data, teacher observation and recommendations, student performance, strengths and needs, GATE teacher input, and requests from parents. The AEP will be addressed during Spring parent-teacher conferences.

Advanced Education Plan

Huntsville City Schools believes that the Advanced Education Plan is a direct link between the student case study profile developed during the identification process and the implementation of programming guided by achievement and affective goals matched to the student’s strengths and interests. AEPs are planning guides for making instructional decisions about materials, programming options, and assessments for gifted students based upon strengths, interests, and socio-emotional needs. They are also an effective bridging guide for transitions between grade levels and schools. The AEP can not only inform annual decisions made about a student’s educational plan, it can be a long-term planning tool.

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