Gifted & Talented

Shelton GT & Advanced Learning Plans

We are thrilled to have a large number of Advanced Learning Plans here at Shelton. Jeffco Public Schools and Shelton are dedicated to providing comprehensive programming for the identification and education of the gifted and talented student. Gifted and talented students are those students between the ages of four and twenty-one years whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. The district believes that a quality instructional program that differentiates curriculum and instruction is essential so all students can learn and grow at their level of potential.

At Shelton, we strive to give all of our students engaging and demanding tasks to help them all meet their full potential.

What is an ALP and why does my child have one?

The Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is a legal document outlining programming for identified gifted students and is used as a guide for educational planning and decision-making. An ALP shall be developed for every gifted student according to the student’s determined area(s) of giftedness, interests, and instructional and affective needs.

The student's ALP should be like a blueprint that maps out what students hope to learn and accomplish in their area of strength. By becoming autonomous with guidance from home and school the benefits are endless. When students become independent learners and self-advocates they will:

  • Take control of their learning

  • Have a deeper understanding of their learning style and become strength based learners

  • Become driver in improving their education

  • Acquire learning skills that will apply to learning situations in life

  • Will develop a greater sense of their abilities and become autonomous

Since the early 1990’s, the Colorado Department of Education has required a record of gifted and talented education programming services, options, and strategies utilized with individual students that is part of the student’s record and is considered in educational planning and decision-making concerning subsequent programming for that student. In 2006, a change in statute provided the term “Advanced Learning Plan” (ALP) for individual record keeping as in the definition. See 22-20-103 (1.2) C.R.S. (page 344) / CRS 22-20-103.

CoGAT testing

Shelton CogAT testing occurs every year from September to October for all second graders.

The CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) is one of the most commonly used cognitive tests in Jeffco to help us understand our students' thinking styles and identify gifted potential. In October, every second-grade Jeffco student takes the CogAT. Jeffco also administers the CogAT for other grade levels, as well as for gathering data for GT Center placement. The CogAT is comprised of verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal batteries which give us a comprehensive measure of cognitive abilities. The CogAT score reflects a student's ability to discover relationships and demonstrate flexible thinking at this stage of cognitive development.

The CogAT reports two scores: Percentile Rank and Stanine. Percentile Ranks range from 1 to 99 and indicate what percentage of grade-classmates or age-classmates a child out-performed on a particular sub-test. If a student scored in the 40th percentile, they scored better than 40% of grade-level and/or age-level students nationwide. Stanine scores are groupings of percentile ranks, ranging from a low of 1 to a high of 9. A higher stanine means a higher level of cognitive abilities development. The table below shows the relationship of the two scores:

CogAT takes the stanine and percentile scores and combines them into an individualized student profile, which allows us to see clear differences in how each student approaches learning and problem solving, interacts with various learning environments, and what kind of support they need to learn successfully. After students take the assessment, a report is sent home containing the test results, which includes individual student scores, stanine and profile. On the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt CogAT Profile site, you can access the interactive feature which allows you to enter your child’s profile and receive detailed information about their profile. In order to better understand the CogAT profile for your student, please visit this website: Riverside Insights

CogAT Translated Handouts

Is my child gifted? Bright Vs. Gifted, how can we tell?

Bright Vs Gifted, an Unnecessary distinction

Bright Child vs Gifted Learner: What's the Difference

Is My Child Gifted?

Generally, a high-achieving student is one who works hard to succeed; is attentive in class; learns with ease; memorizes facts; correctly answers questions; and earns good grades. In comparison, a student who might be considered gifted in a particular content area is performing at an outstanding level of accomplishment compared to grade level peers; generates complex, abstract ideas; comprehends complex ideas; infers and connects concepts; is self-directed in learning; and can answer content-related questions but also asks complex questions

Early Access for Kindergarteners


  • Apply - The Early Access Application for the 2021-22 school year is now closed. Check back here in January for the updated application process and timeline.

  • Review the Early Access Application Timeline.

  • Receive Early Access / Developmental History Form Packet from GT Office – Generated from application.

  • The Early Access Packet/Portfolio is due on March 24, 2022 to The Director of Gifted and Talented at the Jefferson County Education Center for priority scheduling for cognitive testing.

  • The Early Access Team will contact parents with completed and qualifying portfolios to schedule cognitive testing.

  • Submit the Early Access Cognitive Testing fee of $250 (waived for families who can demonstrate need -- see note below) to the GT office or upon check-in for cognitive testing.

  • Cognitive testing will be scheduled in early April.

  • Students whose cognitive testing results are in the 97th percentile or above will be scheduled for Achievement Testing.

  • Notification of acceptance and non-acceptance will be sent to parents by early May.

Pathways to Identification

Multiple pathways can lead to a determination of giftedness. The following models show in the document represent the criteria utilized to determine an area (domain) of gifted identification. While some qualitative and quantitative data are used as qualifying measures, additional data within the body of evidence are utilized to develop a student’s learning profile of strengths and interests. This profile leads to the development of the ALP and ICAP.

Specific Academic Aptitude

Area of Giftedness: Creative or Productive Thinking, Leadership, and Specific Talent Aptitudes

Area of Giftedness: General Intellectual Ability

Who can I talk to about my child?

Cheryl O'Hare: Shelton GT Liasion/Leader, CoGAT coordinator, Primary Grades

Joanie Farrow: District GT resource teacher

Helpful Links

Visit the Jeffco GT website for more information