The Cherry Creek Schools Office of Gifted Education and Advanced Learning has been recognized for best practices and awarded a $71,527 grant which will support gifted and advanced students and the teachers who work with them.
The Cherry Creek School District serves more than 4,000 identified gifted learners in all grades, at every school and in every population in the district, including English language learners and special education students. Cherry Creek is one of the only districts in the state to have a Gifted and Talented teacher at every elementary and middle school, and it also utilizes a comprehensive ‘body of evidence’ approach to identifying gifted learners.
The Colorado Department of Education awarded a grant through the new Universal Screening and Qualified Personnel Grant program. The program was created through legislation, HB 14-1102, which was passed by the Colorado General Assembly in May 2014. The program provides funding for two key aspects of gifted programming:
• Universal Screening – the practice of utilizing a group or individual assessment or observation tool with all students in order to identify exceptional ability and/or potential.
• Qualified Personnel – the practice of having a qualified coordinator who has both an endorsement and a master’s degree in gifted education overseeing a district’s gifted programming.
CDE recognized Cherry Creek Schools for implementing the best practices of universal screening and qualified personnel long before they were required by law.
Since grant funds will now cover those best practices, existing funds can be used to provide additional support for gifted and advanced students and the educators who work with them. For example, additional materials will be purchased for the Junior Great Books program, which introduces young students to great literature. Additional age-appropriate novels for advanced readers (both hard copy and e-books) will be added to school libraries across the district to meet the needs of students who are reading above grade level. Finally, more professional development opportunities will be available to the teachers who work with the district’s gifted and advanced learners.
Visit the Office of Gifted Education and Advanced Learning website for more information about gifted and advanced programming in Cherry Creek Schools.