What is Early Access?
Early Access is an opportunity for highly gifted students to start kindergarten or 1st grade before state age requirements. Students have to go through a rigorous process to determine if they are highly gifted (top 3% for their age in reading, writing, math, and on a cognitive test). It is to support students who are academically so advanced they need to start school early. Many parents see this as an opportunity to start school without the additional year of preschool but misunderstand the highly gifted qualifications necessary to meet the state requirements of the program.
Determinations for Early Access are made by a team of gifted and talented teachers, classroom teachers, and psychologists in collaboration with parents to make sure each child's individual needs are met. A child may satisfy the requirements to be identified as gifted, but may not be highly gifted and meet the criteria for Early Access as determined by the Colorado Department of Education.
The following articles can help you gain a better understanding of what giftedness may look like in young children:
Applications for the 2023-2024 School Year
Neighborhood school applicants April 7, 2023
General Overview of Process
Apply: Complete and turn in the early access application with parent and teacher behavioral observation surveys.
Assessments: Student is given a reading, math, and cognitive assessment. Writing and other work samples are also collected.
Review Team: The body of evidence composed of achievement, behavioral, and ability assessments are reviewed by a Gifted and Talented team composed of teachers, psychologists, and district Gifted and Talented personnel to determine the best placement for the student.
Determination Letters: Letters are sent to the student's home residence with results from the completed assessments and determination if early access will or will not be granted.
Click the link above for a handbook that provides background information on Early Access and a step-by-step process for applying, testing, and determining acceptance.
Children must be four years old by October 1 of the following school year to apply for Early Access to kindergarten, and children must be five years old by that date to apply for first grade.
House Bill 08-1021 created the opportunity for Aurora Public Schools to accelerate highly advanced gifted children under age 4 for kindergarten and/or under age 5 for first grade pursuant to CRS 22-20-204(2). The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) is Colorado’s primary law with requirements for the implementation of specific elements and procedures for gifted education programs.
Aurora Public Schools (APS) will only test students whose families live in the APS boundaries. If you are interested in Early Access for an APS school and live in a surrounding district (Denver, Cherry Creek, etc.), please apply for Early Access in your home district.
Questions or Comments? Please Contact:
Gifted and Talented ToSA
Aurora Public Schools
303-340-0859 ext. 29283