Gifted & Talented Education

Mission and Philosophy

Gifted Students possess academic talents and abilities that differ from those of their peers to such a degree that opportunities must be provided to help them develop to their greatest potential. In keeping with the Anderson School’s goal to offer instructional programs that address differences in abilities, needs, and learning styles of all students, the Anderson School Board of Education is committed to the identification of gifted students and to providing appropriate educational experiences for those students.

Montana Definition of Giftedness

“Gifted and talented children” means children of outstanding abilities who are capable of high performance and require differentiated educational programs beyond those normally offered in public schools in order to fully achieve their potential contributions to self and society. The children so identified include those with demonstrated achievement or potential ability in a variety of worthwhile endeavors.”  (Montana Code Annotated 20-7-901)


As required by Article 20-7-903 MCA, Anderson School District has developed a plan for the provision of services to academically and intellectually gifted students in. The purposes of this plan are as follows:

  • To provide various service options and educational experiences that support individual growth at varying levels of abilities, needs and interests and that allow students to learn and move through advanced material.
  • To utilize an identification procedure using multiple criteria to appraise students’ needs for differentiated services.
  • To provide fair access to all students without regard for ethnicity, socio-economic status and or disability.
  • To provide continuing staff development programs to enable teachers to appropriately serve the needs of advanced learners.
  • To actively involve parents and other community members in an effort to enrich and extend the learning opportunities of advanced learners.
  • To increase parent/public awareness of learning characteristics and best practices in gifted education.
  • To review program goals and objectives annually.
  • To nurture academic and creative potential in identified gifted and advanced students through creative and critical thinking and problem solving.


The Anderson School District has established the following goals for the Academically/Intellectually Gifted Program:

  • To utilize a range of assessment instruments to recognize the students who are academically and/or intellectually gifted within the Anderson School District.
  • To provide various service delivery options to meet the diverse needs of the students who are recognized as academically gifted in the Anderson School District.
  • To provide, for all certified staff, classified staff and administrators, professional development that reinforces the goal and objectives of the gifted education plan.
  • To actively involve parents, school faculty/staff and community representatives in the continuous improvement of the gifted education plan through School Board meetings, school newsletters, and relevant information on the website.

K-2 Curriculum and Instructional Goals

Anderson School instructional programs focus on nurturing and enriching the academic and intellectual potential in all students through the practice of differentiated instruction.  Differentiation is an instructional philosophy and practice that includes modifying product, process, content, and learning environment based upon student interest, student readiness, and individual student profiles. Examples of classroom differentiation that will be provided by the classroom teacher may include but are not limited to:

  • Compacting
  • Independent Study
  • Tiered Assignments/Products
  • Flexible Grouping
  • Questioning Techniques
  • Choice Menus
  • Learning Contracts
  • Grouping
  • Literature Circles

While a rigorous curriculum rich in differentiation meets the needs of most students, a small percentage of students demonstrate a need for additional services.  These students may be referred to the Teacher Assistance Team for further screening.  The Teacher Assistance Team  includes the school administrator, special education teacher, school psychologist, guidance counselor, Title I teacher and a classroom teacher.  The Teacher Assistance Team will consider the following indicators, in addition to the social, emotional, and developmental needs of the student:  TOPS Observation Form for Teachers K-2, district and school-wide assessment tools, classroom assessments and work samples, informal/formal observations.

Grades 3-8 Referral Process

The initial referral process is a review of the general student population to determine which students need further assessment and possible placement in the GATE Program.  All students, regardless of ethnic group, socio-economic background, or disabilities are considered for the potential inclusion in the GATE program.  Students must meet the eligibility standards to qualify for services.  Referrals may also come from parents, administrators, peers, classroom and specialist teachers.  Classroom teachers will follow the Teacher Assistance Team process for referral.

The initial screenings process is as follows:

  • The GATE coordinator and classroom teacher will administer the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in the Spring of second grade.  Any new students entering in grades 3-6 will be administered the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT 2nd Edition) or the CogAT  in the fall of that school year.
  • Students scoring 97 (Age Percentile Rank) in any of the three sub-categories will have an assessment profile completed by the GATE coordinator and may have additional  (i.e.  Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, K-bit)
  • Following initial screenings, the GATE coordinator will compile and review the following additional assessments and surveys:
    • TOPS Observation Form for Teachers K-2
    • Teacher Observation Intervention Form
    • Peer Questionnaire (Optional)
    • Student Profile Grades 3-8
    • Parent/Guardian Inventory of Child’s Interests
    • Parent/Guardian Referral: Getting to Know Your Child
    • SPOT Checklist – Teacher and Parent/Guardian Grades 3-8 Or Scales for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students
    • District Achievement Scores
  • The GATE coordinator will bring profiles that score 15 or above on the Individual Student Achievement Assessment Profile (see attached) in May to the Teacher Assistance Team.


The Teacher Assistance Team will make one of the following recommendations for all students screened:

  • Is currently in a learning environment that is appropriate and does not require additional services at this time, or, is in need of GATE services based on collected information.

Program Service Options


The program service options described in this section provide a variety of delivery models to meet the individual needs of GATE students. These delivery options provide a continuum of services for students as they progress grades 3-8.

Program service options consist of the following components:

  • Learning Environment
  • Curriculum Modifications
  • Enrichment Options/Activities

Strategies for differentiating for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 high ability/high potential students see page 43-54

OPI – Serving Montana’s High Ability/High Potential Students

Procedure to Resolve Disagreement

Step One: School Based GATE Committee

  • A parent/guardian may make a written request for a conference with the GATE Committee to discuss concerns within 10 school days of notification of the Teacher Assistance Team recommendation.
  • The Teacher Assistance Team reviews the student’s record and the Committee’s previous service option decision. The committee may gather additional information about the student from teachers and/or parent/guardian as needed.
  • The Teacher Assistance Team grants a conference within 7 school days of receipt of the request and responds in writing to the parent/guardian within 5 days of the conference.

Step Two:

  • The parent/guardian may appeal the second decision of the Teacher Assistance Team in writing to the Superintendent within 10 school days of the notification of the second decision of the GATE committee.
  • The Superintendent reviews the grievance within 10 school days of receipt of the appeal.
  • The Superintendent responds in writing to the parent/guardian and the GATE Coordinator concerning the outcome of the review within 10 school days of the review.


Updated 5/19/22