Welcome to Gifted Programming at Clear Sky Elementary!
Our goal is to support our highest learners with an engaging and supportive educational experience

The Discovery Application Process for the 2018 -2019 school year is now closed. 

The application process may be initiated by a teacher or other professional, parent, or student. The application deadline for the 2018-2019 school year is November 17, 2017. For applications submitted after that date, students identified for the program are placed on a space availability basis.

The Discovery Program is a self-contained, center based, magnet program for highly gifted learners located regionally at four elementary school sites in Douglas County. The program is intended for those students who require intensity of instruction and acceleration beyond what can reasonably be expected from the regular school gifted programming.

Due to the intensive nature of the Discovery Program, a body of evidence is needed to determine the best match between student and programming.  Information considered includes documented cognitive ability, standardized achievement data, classroom performance data, student, parent, and teacher input. Three major criteria for placement are:

1) Exceptional intellectual/cognitive
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2) Documented above grade level performance in multiple content areas, and 
3) no below grade level performance in any content area. 

Multiple criteria will be considered in the placement process to provide evidence of the best match between student academic need and the rigorous environment of the program.

Please visit the DSCSD Gifted Education Webpage linked HERE for more information and application materials.  


Please reference this document for more information for the various ways we ensure our brightest students are receiving the education they deserve!

The Autonomous Learner Model (ALM)

Clear Sky Elementary offers a group session for students identified as "Gifted and Talented" by the district.  Students meet together to learn about the concepts of "giftedness," talent, intelligence and creativity.  Students will participate in group building activities and personal discovery and development.  Students will also engage in individual and group explorations and investigations into topics of interest, which may lead to individualized in-depth studies.

The Autonomous Learner Model (ALM) was initially created to provide students with alternative learning environments. The main goal of the ALM is to create independent, self-directed learners. Ideally, students will become lifelong learners through the ALM. The philosophy of the ALM is to “to do it with the gifted, and not to them.” This philosophy embodies the belief that teachers should become facilitators and students should become learners.   This group is led by the school's GT Facilitator, Jenny Rankin. 

Continental Math League
This is a program similar to Math Olympiad for those students in 2nd through 6th grade.  Students who have an interest in math meet on weekly to explore challenging math problems together.  Monthly contests (or meets) are held here at the school and kids work independently to solve as many of the six problems as they can.
CML Goals:
  • To stimulate enthusiasm and a love for Mathematics
  • To introduce important Mathematical concepts
  • To teach major strategies for problem solving
  • To develop Mathematical flexibility in solving problems
  • To strengthen Mathematical intuition
  • To foster Mathematical creativity and ingenuity
  • To provide for the satisfaction, joy, and thrill of meeting challenges 

Douglas County School District

Information taken directly from the district website explains Gifted & Talented education:

"Gifted and talented students are those students between the ages of four 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. Gifted students include 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:
  • General or Specific Intellectual Ability
  • Specific Academic Aptitude
  • Creative or Productive Thinking
  • Leadership Abilities
  • Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Musical or Psychomotor Abilities
Gifted Programming is designed to meet the academic, social/ emotional, and behavioral needs of students identified with advanced learning needs. Teachers in the classroom differentiate instruction as students demonstrate a need for more depth and complexity."

Every school has a Gifted and Talented Contact.  At CSE, the GT Facilitator is Jenny Rankin. She helps classroom teachers write, implement and monitor GT students' Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs).  Classroom teachers differentiate to meet the needs of their GT students and sometimes work with grade level teammates to compact the curriculum and accelerate learning.  

Clear Sky offers a variety of options along the programming continuum for those students identified as Gifted and Talented. Everything from differentiation within the classroom, to subject-level advancement, enrichment clubs and ALM, Clear Sky strives to meet every learner's needs for challenge and growth, including our gifted learners! Please reference this document for more information for the various ways we ensure our brightest students are receiving the education they deserve!

Please contact Jenny Rankin if you have additional questions that haven't been answered here.  You can email her at jennifer.rankin@dcsdk12.org.

Gifted students are not all the same. Some kids may fall into the highly gifted or "profoundly gifted" categories and their needs are much different than other gifted students.  To learn more about gifted learners and their unique characteristics, click here for the link.

CogAT Testing
In DCSD, CogAT testing is provided once a year at our elementary schools.  The testing window is typically in early September.  All 3rd and 6th graders take the CogAT each year at their school site.  There is no paperwork that needs to be completed in order to have your third or sixth grader tested.  Testing is provided for all 3rd and 6th graders as a way to collect important educational data on all district students. Click here for additional information: CogAT Testing Information

During the same window, referral testing is also available. Referral for CogAT testing is limited to those students who are new to Douglas County and/or have not previously taken the CogAT test. Only those who demonstrate abilities or talents that are "so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs" should be referred for testing.

To request referral testing, please contact our GT Facilitator, Jenny Rankin,  
by August 18th, 2017.  
(Numbers must be finalized and testing booklets ordered, so late requests cannot be honored.)



Douglas County School District has four Magnet Schools for the most intensive Gifted & Talented programming needs.  This format is referred to as the Discovery Program.  The four schools that provide Discovery Programs are Acres Green and Northridge Elementary in Highlands Ranch, Pine Lane Elementary in Parker, and Renaissance in Castle Rock. More information about Neighborhood Programming and the Discovery Program can be found at the following link.

Placement in the Discovery Program is based on "documented advanced cognitive ability as evidenced by the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) provided by the district, above grade level performance, advanced CSAP, parent, teacher, and student input." 

The Intent to Apply Form & Discovery Program Applications open via DCSD’s Gifted Education website on Sept 20, 2017. Applications for the Discovery Program are due on November 17, 2017.