DCSD Gifted Education News

February 2020

Douglas County School District Gifted Education

The Douglas County School District strives to seek out and nurture student potential. We are committed to partnering with families and our community to recognize and support high potential/advanced/gifted and talented learners who require differentiated programming to meet their educational needs and prepare them for their chosen endeavors in society.

Director's Corner

Doogie Howser, Matilda, Sheldon Cooper...gifted young people are often portrayed in media as unpopular, studious, non-athletic, and even obnoxious characters. They typically have an unbelievably high IQ, exaggerated behavior or personality traits, and may appear arrogant, or emotionally detached. While there are some common characteristics of advanced/high-potential/gifted children, it is important to realize that students with atypical learning needs (like all humans) are much more diverse than these stereotypes.

Oftentimes, I talk with parents or family members who are uncertain how to approach the topic of giftedness or discuss a need for "something different" because their child doesn't match one of these stereotypes, or they fear being seen as "that parent," or they have tried to approach the subject and feel they were never really heard.

Because you witness your child in situations, environments, and timeframes unavailable to the people in our schools, the information you share with teachers and other school staff helps us create engaging and inviting learning opportunities to help your child thrive. For this reason, we invite and encourage you to seek out ways to help us better understand the unique brilliances and challenges specific to your child.

The resources below provide some easy tips to support strong partnerships with your child's teachers and other school staff:

Natasha Langjahr Straayer

Director, Advanced Academics and Gifted Programming


Gifted Kids Are Gonna Gift

By Colleen at RaisingLifelongLearners.com

I shrug a lot, shake my head with a smile, even chuckle. My kids are a blast. They’re different and difficult and quite the handful, but at the end of the day I don’t know what I’d do without the constant excitement of their excitabilities or the quick wit (that also gets them into trouble). They do something in the back seat or an adult comes to tell me something they’ve said, and all I can do is shrug, shake my head, and laugh. Gifted kids, man.

They’re gonna gift.

There’s this belief that floats around from time to time, that gifted programming is elitist. A small group of kids being taken from the general classroom and attended to apart from the rest of their peers, it just doesn’t sit well with everyone. “They’re getting enrichment opportunities that not everyone else has access to!” is the battle cry. “Why don’t all kids get to do extra work on the solar system?” The perception is that it’s a club, something exclusive that denies entry and opportunity, something kids get into rather than something they need. But there’s the truth – gifted services are a need. An academic, intellectual, social, even emotional need.

Read the rest of this article at: https://raisinglifelonglearners.com/gifted-kids-are-gonna-gift/

Building Compassionate Learning Communities

Please join us March 27 and 28, 2020

ThunderRidge High School

1991 W. Wildcat Reserve Parkway, Highlands Ranch

This conference will foster thriving and compassionate communities of students and adults by building further capacity for Social Emotional Learning amongst teachers, parents, and community members. Learning at this conference will include training for teachers and parents around mental health and well-being, strategies for students and staff to assist with stress and anxiety, and considerations for parents in supporting their children to be successful students.

Keynote Speaker: Donna Y. Ford

for more information: https://www.dcsdk12.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=11250596

Early Access for Highly Advanced Gifted Children under Age Six

The window for Early Access to Kindergarten or First Grade is NOW OPEN through April 1, 2020.

Early Access is designed for “highly advanced gifted” 4 or 5 year old children. It allows early access to kindergarten or first-grade for students who are 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 who have exhausted the resources of preschool or home schooling.

Please visit our website here for more information and the online application. If you have further questions, please contact the GT Facilitator at your neighborhood school or Heather Groff, DCSD Gifted and Talented Team Lead, at Heather.Groff@dcsdk12.org.

Elementary Discovery Program - Information

The DCSD Elementary Discovery Program is designed to meet the needs of highly gifted elementary school students (grades 2 - 6) who require intensity of instruction and acceleration beyond what can reasonably be expected from the regular school gifted programming.

The initial application window for 2020-2021 has closed; however, if you believe your child would benefit from this intensive gifted programming option and missed this application deadline, please connect with the gifted education facilitator at your child's school or call the DCSD Gifted Education Office at 303-387-0191 for more information.

Get Involved!


Douglas County Association for Gifted and Talented is a parent advocacy organization supporting gifted children and families in Douglas County, Colorado.

Douglas County Affiliate for the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented (DCAGT)


As many of you know, DCAGT is run completely by volunteers. We realize that being a full-time board member isn’t possible for everyone, so we came up with other ways other people could contribute! Currently, we are looking for the following: Someone who can help us rework the DCAGT website. If you are interested in helping us with the website, please contact info@dcagt.org.

Read more information in the February DCGAT Newsletter linked HERE.


21st Annual Legislative Day at the Capitol

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Legislative Day allows students (grades 8 – 12 ONLY) a unique opportunity to shadow a state legislator for the day. There is also an adult component to the day, where gifted advocates have an opportunity to learn about current legislative initiatives that affect our gifted children.

Registration Information (Linked)

Legislative Day Parent Permission/Teacher Recommendation
Legislative Day Flyer

Summer Programs