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Parent's Corner

gifted students working together

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Gifted Education in Colorado

Like special education, gifted education is administered through administrative units according to the language of Colorado's Exceptional Children’s Education Act (ECEA) statute.  “Administrative Unit” or “AU” means a school district, board of cooperative services (BOCES), or the state Charter School Institute (CSI).


AUs submit a Comprehensive Program Plan to the Colorado Department of Education to describe implementation of the key requirements for gifted education as defined in ECEA Rules.

Parenting a Gifted Child

Answers to your frequently asked questions about gifted education

Is there a list of common terms and definitions for gifted education?


How are gifted students identified?

Students are identified through an assessment process defined by the AU and aligned to the Exceptional Children's Education Act.  A body of evidence is used to identify students in the areas of specific intellectual ability, academic aptitudes, and/or talent aptitudes.


What is Early Access?

Colorado law provides an opportunity for AUs to accelerate highly advanced gifted children under age 4 for kindergarten and/or under age 5 for first grade pursuant to CRS 22-20-204(2).  The AU must have an approved plan on file with the CDE to receive funding for an accelerated early access student.  Providing Early Access is a local decision of the AU.  Note: early access is different from early entrance into kindergarten or first grade.  

Questions regarding early access should be directed to your local school district. 


After my child is identified, what type of programming will he/she receive?

Schools, districts, and AUs have the autonomy to determine programming options for gifted students.  A child’s differentiated programming is described in the Advanced Learning Plan.


What is an Advanced Learning Plan?

An Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is a legal document [22-20-R-12.00, C.R.S.] outlining programming for identified gifted students and is used as a guide for educational planning and decision-making.  The ALP is updated annually with new academic and affective goals based on individual student data and learning needs.  Parents and students play a collaborative role in ALP development.


Is gifted education required by law?

Gifted education is modified in Colorado statute.  All public schools, including charter schools, shall identify and serve gifted students.


Can a student with disabilities also be identified as a gifted student?

If data indicates a student qualifies for gifted education and the student also has an IEP or 504, the student is considered a twice-exceptional (2e) gifted student.


Is there an accountability system for gifted education?

Gifted students are a part of Colorado’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Exceptional Children’s Education Act (ECEA) defines multiple avenues for monitoring an AU's gifted education program plan.  District Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) include the evaluation of gifted student achievement and growth data and specify a performance target for gifted student achievement and/or growth.  The UIP is considered the Annual Plan as defined in ECEA.


What organizations or associations advocate for gifted students?