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Gifted Education

District Philosophy

The Cheyenne Mountain School District is committed to recognizing the unique talents, gifts, and abilities of its student population. We are committed to providing a learning environment which maximizes the intellectual development of each student. We believe highly capable students:

  • Have potential for outstanding performance.
  • Have specific and significant needs, academically, socially, and emotionally.
  • Require appropriate programming options and support.
  • Benefit from a partnership shared by the school, the community and the parents.


"Gifted and talented children" mean those persons between the ages of five and twenty-one whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs.  Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services.  Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic and ethnic, cultural populations.  Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:

  • General or specific intellectual ability.
  • Specific academic aptitude.
  • Creative or productive thinking.
  • Leadership abilities.
  • Visual arts, performing arts, musical or psychomotor abilities.


Our goals are designed to:

  • Meet the needs of individual students.
  • Provide students with a curriculum that is a blending of advanced content and higher order thinking skills.
  • Assist students in becoming self directed learners and capable problem solvers.
  • Provide opportunities for students to work in interest areas.
  • Encourage students to become creative producers.
  • Assist students in developing a solid awareness of their own talents, build a positive self-concept, and an appreciation of their values to self and to others.


All students identified as gifted/talented will have an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP). The ALP will include longitudinal assessment data, programming options, and learning growth plans. In meeting the individual needs of highly capable students, a continuum of services may be offered.

At the elementary level, these options may be delivered by the regular classroom teachers or other qualified members of the staff. Student needs may be accommodated in the regular classroom or as a pullout during the school day.

At the junior high level, students participate in a rigorous curriculum that may consist of honors classes, seminars, and electives in areas of technology, art, music, or foreign language.

High school students have 23 Advanced Placement course offerings from which to choose, award winning art and music programs, and a wide variety of clubs and organizations. Concurrent enrollment with local colleges is available to 11th and 12th grade students.

Gifted services may include:

Differentiated instruction...

  • Small group activities.
  • Curriculum compacting, extending, acceleration.
  • Seminars.
  • Independent Study.
  • Academic Contests.
  • Social/Emotional Support.
  • Leadership Development.
  • Mentorships.
  • Field Trips.

Gifted Education Endorsements in D-12

District 12 is proud to acknowledge that all of our Interventionists who work with gifted students in our elementary schools and at the junior high school have obtained the “Gifted Education” endorsement for their teaching licenses from the Colorado Department of Education.   This means that each of them has passed a rigorous assessment at our state level that signifies that they have the training, education, and experience to deliver quality gifted education services to our students in grades K-8.

Other Resources

Listed below are links to other sites offering Community Programming for Gifted/Talented Students:

Bemis School of Fine Arts

Colorado Springs Children Chorale

Colorado Springs Conservatory

Colorado Springs Youth Symphony

Rocky Mountain Talent Search

University of Northern Colorado Summer Program


University of Northern Colorado, Creativity Quest Colorado, www.unco.edu/gtcenter

Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented, www.coloradogifted.org




Identification Criteria

To provide appropriate programming and services for highly capable students, data from a variety of assessment tools may be used. These include:

  • Cognitive ability Tests
  • Standardized norm-referenced achievement tests.
  • State Content Standards Assessments.
  • Diagnostic curriculum assessments.
  • Teacher/parent input and recommendation.
  • Classroom performance.

Students in grades K-2 who are referred by their teachers will be reviewed through our criteria for primary grades only.  The classroom teacher will consult with the interventionist and the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) team for programming for these students.

Students in grades 3-12 are identified through the criteria below at the beginning of 3rd grade.

Assessment and Identification

The advanced learning assessment and identification process involves gathering information obtained through a variety of procedures and sources designed to reveal exceptionalities or potential.

Criteria for Gifted Identification

Students in Cheyenne Mountain School District are identified through a universal screening assessment (CogAT) and a combination of two other measures to include Achievement Tests, Observation Scales and Performance Evaluations. This identification process begins spring of 2nd grade or when they arrive in District 12. Students who have been identified as gifted in an out-of-state district must meet the D12/Colorado criteria to be identified for services in the State of Colorado. Cheyenne Mountain School District administers the universal screening assessment (CogAT) every spring to all students in grades 2 and 6. An Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) will be written for identified students.

Identified students must score 95th percentile or above on one or more batteries of the cognitive test. (CogAT)
In addition to the Cognitive Test two additional measures need to be included for consideration of GT identification.

Criterion or Norm-referenced Achievement Test
95th percentile or above, and scores of Advanced/Distinguished will be considered.
Observation Scales
95th percentile or above will be considered.
Performance Evaluations
State/National Contests top place or ranking.
Expert Judged Performance Advanced or Distinguished.
Teacher Assessed Portfolio review Advanced/Distinguished/Above grade level will be considered in GT identification.

Additional Information

To learn more about  specific programs and opportunities at a specific school, contact one of the following:

CMSD Gifted Coordinator
John Fogarty, 719-475-6100

Broadmoor Elementary
Stacey Huebner, 719-475-6130

Cheyenne Mountain Elementary
Laura Cipiti, 719-576-3080

Gold Camp Elementary
Katrina Paige, 719-327-2820

Pinon Valley Elementary
Gina Dowlin, 719-527-0300

Skyway Elementary
Tammy Chisesi, 719-475-6150

Cheyenne Mountain Junior High
Leslie Rutberg, 719-475-6120

Cheyenne Mountain High School
Carrie Burke, 719-475-6110


Interesting Books to Explore

When Gifted Kids Don't Have All The Answers by Jim Delisle and Judy Galbraith., Free Spirit Publishing, www.freespirit.com.

A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children by James Webb et al., Great Potential Press Inc., www.giftedbooks.com., P.O. Box 5057, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Parenting Gifted Children, NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children), www.nagc.org., published by  Prufrock Press, www.prufrock.com.

Smart Girls, A New Psychology for Girls, Women, and Giftedness (Revised Edition), Great Potential Press, Author: Barbara Kerr, PhD., www.giftedbooks.com.

Smart Boys, Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning, Great Potential Press.  Authors, Barbara Kerr, PhD. and Sanford J. Cohn, PhD., www.giftedbooks.com.

Mindset by Carolyn Dweck, www.mindsetonline.com.

Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin, Portfolio Publishing.

Becoming a Problem Solving Genius by Edward Zaccaro.

Primary Grade Challenge Math by Edward Zaccaro.

Challenge Math for the Elementary and Middle School Student by Edward Zaccaro.

Gifted Children: Myths and Realities by Ellen Winner.

Empowered Girls: A Girl's Guide to Positive Activism, Volunteering, and Philanthopy by Frances A Kames and Kristen R. Stephens.

Girls and Young Women Inventing: Twenty True Stories About Inventors Plus How You Can Be One Yourself by Frances A. Kames, Suzanne M. Bean and Rosemary Wallner.

Social & Emotional Teaching Strategies (Practical Strategies Series in Gifted Education) by Stephanie A. Nugent and Frances A. Kames.

Developing Math Talent by Susan Assouline PhD. and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik PhD.