Gifted & Talented Education

RISD Advanced Learning Services

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Advanced Learning Programs and Services is a part of the department of Advanced Learning Services Department. These are both a part of the Teaching and Learning Department. ALPS focuses on providing services for students who have qualified for gifted services and supporting classroom teachers who have high achieving and high ability learners.

The Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students

This document is used to provide guidance to campuses and districts on how to implement gifted services in Texas. It states that gifted services provide "self-directed learning, thinking, research, and communication" and that the students identified for these services are "advanced in relation to students of similar age, experience, and environment." Students must qualify for services based on quantitative data such as test scores as well as qualitative data such as referral information. You may access the State Plan HERE.

"Gifted" vs "Gifted Services"

Gifted is a term used in various settings and contexts so for this conversation we will avoid the term and focus on gifted services. One is not better than the other, much like the ice cream and chocolate cake you see here. Both are delicious desserts but each may fulfill a different need.

Because a school district is tasked with educating students, gifted services are provided to students who have instructional needs beyond the scope of the general education classroom. Sometimes that means having more complexity or rigor added to the core curriculum like extending a science lesson or unit. This is called Core+. Sometimes students have such a need that they receive additional services in a different setting with an Advanced Learning Teacher. These Pullout lessons last about two hours each week. Finally, some students need acceleration of up to two years in all the core areas of instruction and they may need Responsive Acceleration Pathways to ensure they are challenged appropriately.

Equitable Identification

The most current research shows that existing identification practices, even nonverbal measures designed to identify around linguistic and cultural barriers, do a poor job of finding gifted students in underrepresented populations. The best suggestions from the field are to use universal screening processes with nationally-normed tests such as CogAT to ensure psychometric soundness but to identify students for services with campus- or district-level norms to better identify a gifted population as a whole.

Serving Gifted Students/Clustering

In elementary school, where students spend most of their time in the general education classroom and GT-specific subject matter courses do not exist, the best recommendation from the research is a cluster grouping model to lessen the burden on teachers and to maximize the instructional time for all kids. For some students, combining clustering with pullout services is needed to ensure they receive the needed level of instructional support.

Educational Opportunities


GT Core+ students identified for gifted services are clustered together as part of the Total School Cluster Grouping Model. The teachers with these clusters are GT trained and supported by the campus Advanced Learning Teachers.

GT Pullout in addition to Core+, some students will receive a 2 hour pullout each week for more in-depth services

RAP Students will progress through curriculum at a faster and more personalized pace than their current grade peers completing up to 8th grade content by the end of 6th grade.

Symposium brief summary


Secondary gifted services include PreAP, AP, Dual Credit, and/or OnRamps classes in several content areas and GT-sheltered content courses in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science.

Who to Contact

Talbot Boulter

Administrative Specialist

Advanced Learning Programs and Services