Gifted & Talented Program Update

Tahlequah Public Schools -- August/September 2022

Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year!

We hope to use this monthly newsletter as a way to share information with parents and our community about gifted education and the TPS Gifted & Talented (GT) Education Program..

Click the 'Follow Kristy Ward' button to the right to get email updates or look for our newsletter every month on our Tahlequah Gifted & Talented Facebook page. Speaking of our Facebook page...We would love for you to visit and follow us for even more information and sometimes funnies about gifted education, being gifted, and parenting the gifted.

If you have questions or comments feel free to contact Libby Osburn at, or Kristy Ward at

Vision Statement

Tahlequah Public Schools Gifted and Talented Education Program is committed to providing creative, challenging, and engaging coursework to students who have been identified through inclusive and culturally sensitive assessments. We feel all gifted students deserve to be recognized and encouraged to develop their talents and abilities for both personal fulfillment as well as significant contributions to our ever-changing society.

To this end, our gifted students will:

  • Reflect the diverse population of our district

  • Engage in differentiated learning designed to meet students’ unique needs

  • Receive instruction from highly trained educators

  • Engage in guidance to meet students’ social and emotional needs

  • Benefit from a collaborative education that includes students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community


The mission of the Tahlequah Public Schools District Gifted and Talented Education Program is to systematically and continuously identify and monitor students as well as provide instruction and opportunities for students who display evidence of high performance capabilities. Giftedness exists within all cultural, ethnic, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds and students may demonstrate both gifts and disabilities. Continuous attempts to refine the process in the Tahlequah School District will be made so that children identified as gifted reflect the diversity of the local community in terms of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The goal is for every parent, teacher, peer, community member, and student to have opportunity to nominate students for GT services if they see the need.

Definition of Gifted and Talented

"Gifted and talented children" means those children identified at the preschool, elementary and secondary level as having demonstrated potential abilities of high performance capability and needing differentiated or accelerated education or services.

Gifted and talented children represent all cultural, ethnic, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds and may demonstrate both gifts and disabilities. Giftedness is multidimensional and students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behaviors by virtue of any of a combinations of these areas of giftedness:

  • General Intellectual Ability: Demonstrated excellence in most academic areas

    Intellectually gifted children exhibit early and rapid development of language ability, strong powers of reasoning and advanced ability in critical thinking and problem solving in multiple areas. They may manipulate information in divergent ways when challenged by complex issues. Typically these children are noted for being several years beyond their peers in their cognitive ability.

  • Specific Academic Aptitude: Exceptional ability and performance in a single academic area

    Academically able students have unusual/advanced ability or capability in a single academic area. These students often make connections within a discipline that transcends the obvious. They quickly grasp relationships among facts, and see facts as parts of a more complex whole.

  • Creative Thinking Ability: Exceptional ability to use unconventional thinking to arrive at creative and unusual ideas or solutions to problems

    Creativity may cross all areas or may manifest itself in one specific area. Highly creative students tend to develop original ideas and products and frequently are strongly independent and often resist conformity. They are flexible and original in their thinking, tending to reject one-answer solutions. Creativity is characterized by originality of thought, human behavior, and product.

  • Leadership Ability: Exceptional ability to relate to and motivate others

    Students gifted in leadership usually have the ability to convince people to act or not act in specific ways. Leaders are often self-confident and comfortable with their peers. Characteristics may include influencing peers, being sought out by others to accomplish a task, addressing a need, holding high expectations for self and others, demonstrating or delegating responsibility, and internalizing concepts of right and wrong.

  • Visual & Performing Arts Ability: Exceptional capabilities or potential in talent areas (e.g., art, drama, music, dance)

    Students can demonstrate unusual adeptness or skill in the fields of music, visual art, drama, or dance. Since this is a performance-based talent, identification centers around nominations, portfolios and expert assessment.


Identification of gifted and talented students is an ongoing process extending from school entry through grade twelve with referrals being accepted from staff, peers, parents, community members and students. Nominated students are evaluated with multiple sources and tools to allow a child to reveal his/her exceptionalities or potential. In addition, all Tahlequah Public Schools 2nd & 5th grade students will be screened with a nationally recognized non-verbal abilities test (NNAT3) in hopes of early identification of any student who would need enrichment services or other support.

Opportunities are provided for students to be considered throughout their school experience. If you would like for your child to be considered for identification and possible inclusion in gifted and talented education, please contact your child’s school leadership team for information on how to proceed. We've also included a link to a referral form if you'd like to nominate your child for the GT program.

The Tahlequah Public Schools District identifies and serves students in grades PK-12 and utilizes a three-phase placing process:

1. Nomination/Referral

2. Screening/Documentation/Evidence Collection

3. Placement

Is my child gifted?

All children are special and have their own areas of strength. However, some children have unusually advanced abilities that require special adjustments at home and school to help them grow and learn. As you watch your child grow and develop, you may notice skills or characteristics that are quite different from those of other children the same age.

For example, your child may:

  • Be unusually curious and observant

  • Use adult-sounding words and reasoning

  • Think of many unusual ideas

  • Recognize complex patterns or relationships

  • Come to surprising solutions to problems

  • Show a strong memory

  • Ask unusual questions

  • Demonstrate advanced talent in a certain area (such as mathematics, science, writing, art, music, or drama)

  • Learn letters or numbers early and read before being formally taught

  • Possess a keen sense of humor

  • Show unusual independence for age

  • Be creative & imaginative beyond age mates

  • Tend to be a perfectionist

  • Sustain interest in one or more fields of knowledge over years

  • Have self-directed interests

  • Be interested in and concerned about community/world problems

  • Often be self-critical and overly sensitive

  • Continually question the status quo

  • Apply learning from one situation to another

  • Solve problems in a unique manner

  • Have different behavior style

  • Enjoy reading about a wide range of topics

  • Reason abstractly

I Am Gifted

Want to nominate your child for the TPS Gifted & Talented Program? Click here.

How does TPS serve gifted and talented students?

Students within our program are served throughout their academic career through RISE (Reaching Intellectual Success and Excellence) and/or STAR (Students Talented in the Arts Realm).

RISE students are students who have scored in the top three percent (3%) on a national standardized test of intellectual ability. STAR students are students who have been recognized in the talent area(s) of music, art, leadership, specific academic aptitude, dance, theater, and/or creativity.

In grades 3-6, RISE students are pulled out once a week for an enrichment class as well as an annual field trip. STAR students are served through specials as well as offered an enrichment opportunity within their talent area sometime this school year--TBD.

In grades 7-12, RISE students are offered advanced placement classes and opportunities to participate in Student Enrichment Experience (SEE) Seminars. STAR students are served through electives.

The Yo-Yo Mo Show: An Evening of Musical Doodling Featuring Yo-Yo Ma and Mo Willems

Yo-Yo and Mo offer a series of playful experiments that show how art and music inspire each other. Watch, listen or even join in from home with paper and doodling implements!
The Yo-Yo Mo Show: An Evening of Musical Doodling

The Kid Should See This--Smart videos for curious minds of all ages

I Notice, I Wonder. We use videos like this to encourage curiosity and wonder in our students. Watch the video. What do you notice? What do you wonder?
Monthly Contests and Competitions

If your child is interested in a competition and you need help with registration, please let us know.

NAGC Parent TIP Sheet--Making Friends

Parents often wonder how they can help their gifted child make friends. NAGC offers parent TIP sheets for advice on this and many other challenges parents of gifted students face. We will share a different TIP sheet every month. Click the link below to view.

>>>>If at any time you are facing a challenge that you need help with, please reach out to your child's teacher, counselor, administrator, or one of us.

Gifted & Talented Resources

Oklahoma Dept. of Education (OSDE)

Oklahoma Association for Gifted, Creative, and Talented (OAGCT)

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted

Gifted and Talented Staff