The state of Colorado offers the potential for early admission to kindergarten or first grade for “highly advanced gifted child[ren].” This term can mean different things to different people, however. The Colorado Department of Education defines a highly advanced gifted child as,
…a gifted child whose body of evidence demonstrates a profile of exceptional ability or potential compared to same-age gifted children. To meet the needs of highly advanced development, early access to educational services may be considered as a special provision. For purposes of early access into kindergarten or first grade, the highly advanced gifted child exhibits exceptional ability and potential for accomplishment in cognitive process and academic areas.
Colorado House Bill 1021 further clarifies the group of gifted children who may benefit from early entrance as,
this child is academically gifted, socially and emotionally mature, in the top 2% or less of the gifted peer group, motivated to learn, ready for advanced placement, and has exhausted the resources of preschool or home schooling
The state suggests that school districts assess applicants with both an individual achievement test and an IQ test, not a screening tool like the CogAT, which is often used for gifted and talented identification later in elementary school.
However, the state itself sets no cut point that a child must meet on any of these tests to qualify for early admission. Colorado defines gifted as performance in the top 5% of the general population. This works out to more than 5% of the general population of the state’s school age population being defined as gifted since a child need not be in the top 5% of composite ability or achievement, but rather in the top 5% in any one area (reading, math, science, creativity, leadership, etcetera).
Looking at the average percentage of children identified as gifted throughout the public school districts in Colorado, which varies widely not only from district to district, but also from school to school within a district, around 8% of all students in Colorado are formally identified as gifted. Now looking for the top 2% of this grouping, it is reasonable to assume, even in schools or districts that identify 16% of more of their students as gifted, that the group the state legislature was attempting to serve with early admission is comprised primarily of profoundly gifted children (children who are at or above the top .1% of composite ability).
The Thompson School District (TSD) is holding an information session this upcoming Wednesday for parents of four year olds who are interested in applying for early admission to kindergarten next fall. Applications for the 2012-13 school year will also be available on TSD’s website in March of 2012. The informational meeting will be held at the TSD Administration Building.
What: Early Entrance Informational Meeting
Date: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Room 128, first floor of the TSD Administration Building, 800 South Taft Ave., Loveland, Colorado
Parking: Park on the east side of the building and enter through the door to the left of the covered picnic area in front of the board room. Look for signage.
Parents of profoundly gifted children should be prepared for the fact that a single grade skip may not be sufficient to meet the different learning needs of a child who is likely to be very atypical even among other gifted children. Continued involvement in your child’s education, placement in advanced classes, subject acceleration, and other interventions may also be necessary as the child progresses through school.