family hub

for gifted learners

We offer gifted learners at Odyssey high-quality, individualized opportunities for growth through:

- challenging academic differentiation designed in collaboration with teachers

- social-emotional development from support staff

- access to a variety of school and district-wide interest and skill-based groups and teams

Please note:

  • This page will be updated frequently with opportunities for parents and families, so please check back often.
  • It typically takes several years to gather a body of evidence to support identification.
  • The resources listed here are available to all students, and are not limited to those who are identified as gifted learners.
  • Gifted and talented programming at Odyssey does not involve pull-out groups or curriculum goals different from their crew. While many larger schools have a GT teacher or department, we offer the bulk of our support through classroom differentiation via our Expeditionary Learning school model and approach to student-centered learning.
  • FAQs regarding testing and assessments can be found here.

Upcoming Events:


An evening with Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

    • Join us for dinner and conversation with other Black families and Dr. Joy Lawson Davis Discussing “Priceless Parenting: Effective strategies for supporting your child's school achievement”
    • Dr. Joy Lawson Davis is a college professor, author, consultant on gifted education and advocacy. The focus of her work is in improving access and equity in gifted and advanced programs for culturally diverse learners. Dr. Davis is the author of the first book of its kind on the market to specifically address the advocacy needs of Black families raising gifted students. See the calendar link below for more information.
    • September 27, 5:30 - 7:00 pm at Vickers Boys and Girls Club

Gifted and Talented Coffee Talk: "GT 101"

  • Parents of students who are identified (or who might be identified) as "Gifted and Talented" are invited to join Dr. Cameron Hays and Dr. Vanessa Ewing as they give an overview of the research into asynchronous development in children. This is designed to be an introduction into the world of gifted education. Outside community members also welcome.
  • September 12th, 9 am at The Denver Language School Gilpin Campus Community Room

Save the Date: Super Saturday!

  • Our first DPS Super Saturday will be October 13, 2018. The theme focuses on Día de los Muertos and Halloween. More Information soon!!

Could your child be a gifted learner?

1. Take this online quiz as a starting point.

2. Learn more about giftedness through this guide and an outline of the common characteristics of high achievers, gifted learners and creative thinkers.

3. Print and complete this parent observation checklist, then return it to Shea's mailbox in the front office to begin the conversation.

How might your child be identified?

Identification for gifted learners is an ongoing process based on a body of evidence with three or more data points (95% or higher in the same subject area) from a variety of cognitive and academic assessments and behavioral surveys. Data most commonly comes from the sources.

When your child receives a qualifying score on any of the mandated assessments (NNAT and CMAS), Shea will reach out to you to discuss next steps. If you would like to proactively learn more about your child's ability levels, you may request the CogAT, ITBS or SIGS throughout the school year.

Cognitive Aptitude Tests

  • NNAT - The Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test (NNAT) is a cognitive assessment which examines a student's ability to reason. The NNAT is an online universal screener given to students in Kindergarten, 2nd grade and 6th grade throughout DPS and takes 30 minutes or less to complete. It helps identify children of all backgrounds as it is nonverbal, does not rely on a student's grasp of language, and it does not test a student's content knowledge. If your student falls in these testing grades, view the calendar below to learn about when he/she will be assessed.
  • CogAt - The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a cognitive aptitude test available by individual request for students in 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th grade. The CogAT Test measures the level and pattern of cognitive development of a student compared to age and grade. These general reasoning abilities, which start developing at birth and continue through early adulthood, are influenced by experiences gained both in and out of school. The CogAT measures three different cognitive abilities: verbal, quantitative and non-verbal. The composite score is a total score for all three.

Academic Subject-Area Knowledge Tests

  • CMAS - The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) are academic standardized assessments administered in the spring starting in 3rd grade. A score of 95% or higher in each subject area is a qualifying data point for giftedness. Learn more about the assessment here: https://www.cde.state.co.us/assessment/cmas.
  • ITBS - The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) is an academic achievement test available to individuals to learn more about their level of knowledge in a particular subject area, most often reading and/or math. A score of 95% or higher in each subject area is a qualifying data point for giftedness.

Behavioral Survey

  • SIGS - The Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) is a norm referenced rating scale designed to assist in the identification of students as gifted. The SIGS assesses seven areas: general intellectual ability, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, creativity, and leadership, and each area is assessed at home and at school.

Has your child been identified as a gifted learner?

1. We will write an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) for the 2018-2019 school year with measurable and meaningful academic and social/emotional goals designed in collaboration with his/her teachers and support staff as needed, with a clear system for progress monitoring. Goals are always linked to grade-level standards.

Save the date! We'll be writing ALPs after school on Wednesday, October 3rd.

2. I will check in monthly with you, your child and the relevant teachers to monitor progress and provide additional support as needed.

3. Note that programming goes beyond an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP). It is system wide, incorporating individualized levels of structure, affective guidance, differentiated instruction and content extensions.

Odyssey Resources


Gifted and Talented Point of Contact - Shea believes in ensuring all students have access to high-quality education, and has built a career on supporting those who need specific learning supports to thrive in the classroom and beyond. She'll work with your crew leaders, specials teachers and/or support staff to provide enrichment and more. Contact her at shea@odysseydenver.org or call/text (646) 641-4300. She'll be available at school from 10 am - 2 pm on Wednesdays starting in November.


The Book Room - Julie is passionate about offering lots of challenges and freedom to kids of all kinds through our school library. You can reach her at julie@odysseydenver.org.. Here are a few reasons for visiting the book room:

  • finding titles or topics unique to your child's interests and reading ability levels
  • math books, coding ideas and more STEM materials
  • a Rush Hour challenge - see her bulletin board for more information

The Adventure Program - Ben is committed to an adventure program that has a positive impact on students over time specifically centered around Habits and leadership. There are infinite opportunities for growth and challenge on each of our outdoor crew experiences. You can reach Ben at ben@odysseydenver.org.


Expedition - The Expeditionary Learning model holds incredible potential for students to be stewards of their own learning, become experts through research and hands-on experiences, and demonstrate their knowledge and skills to an authentic audience. You will learn more about the robust and thoughtful, student-centered approach to learning through each crew's expeditions from teachers at Back To School Night. These expeditions truly are a cornerstone of Odyssey's school structure and are rich with opportunities for differentiation, challenge and enrichment.


Specials - Chad and Becky are experts in their fields of physical education and studio / visual arts, respectively, and are excited to support students who show a particular interest and skill for these talent areas through structures such as P.E. talent shows and art exhibitions. Contact them at chad@odysseydenver.org and becky@odysseydenver.org.

District Academic Activities

Interested in starting or joining a team? Contact Minda McGurk, DPS Academic Activities Coordinator, at malinda_mcgurk@dpsk12.org or call (720) 423-2065.

Destination Imagination (DI) (grades K-8) - If your child is creative, crazy about puzzles, loves to pain and draw, can build anything out of cardboard boxes, writes amazing stories, thinks up whimsical new worlds, has a flair for drama and acting, is totally into science, or has rewired your toaster into a working time machine (or wants to), then you may have a Destination Imagination child. DI is an international educational program that gives kids an outlet for their creativity, while teaching them leadership, teamwork, positive thinking, project management and so much more. Teams of 2 to 7 kids from 3rd grade through university level solve one of six open-ended challenges in their own unique ways and present their solutions at regional tournaments in the spring. There's a noncompetitive Rising Stars challenge for Kinder - 2nd graders as well. Visit https://dpsdi.weebly.com/ for more information. Interested in previews of the challenges this year? Check them out here!


Semantics / Spelling Bee (grades 3-8) - If your student is interested in participating, you're welcome to coordinate with Bill Shaefer at 303.322.0479 to participate in competitions. Visit http://www.dpssemantics.com/ for more information.


National Geographic Bee (grades 4-8) - A national contest designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography. Each registered school holds a school-level Bee to determine its one school champion, who then takes a written qualifying test that determines the top 100 students in the state who qualify for the Colorado Geographic Bee. More information can be found here: https://dpsnationalgeobee.weebly.com/.


Brain Bowl (grades 6 - 8) - A challenging and fun opportunity for students to participate in a rapid response general knowledge competition that promotes teamwork and enthusiasm for academics. Brain Bowl provides a framework for students to expand their classroom learning by using analysis, application, knowledge, and comprehension skills. Students from DPS compete in the Central Region, which includes metro Denver schools districts as well as districts to the east. Questions are asked from all academic areas. More information can be found here: http://www.optimistbrainbowl.org/.


Mathletics / Math Olympiad (grades 5 - 8) - Mathletics is a DPS competition that incorporates the Mathcounts program to provide our students an opportunity to build math skills, strategic problem-solving skills, and sharpen analytical ability. DPS holds competitions for 5th and 6th graders and another competition for 7th and 8th graders- utilizing the Mathcounts School Test. More information is available here: https://dpsmathletics.weebly.com/. Math Olympiad information is here.


National History Day (NHD) (grades 4 - 8) - NHD is directed by the state office based on CU Denver campus. NHD Junior is a poster contest for 4th and 5th graders designed to prepare students in upper elementary school for successful completion of History Day projects in middle and high school. Visit https://clas.ucdenver.edu/nhdc/ for more information.

District and Local Programming

Stay in the know - follow DPS Gifted and Talented on Facebook.

Denver Public Schools (DPS) - The Gifted and Talented team is focused on leading the nation in providing equitable, high impact gifted programming. We strive to ensure that gifted and talented students are engaged, rigorously challenged and supported to reach their full emotional, intellectual, and creative potential. By equipping students to become successful, critical, compassionate, and collaborative individuals, we are preparing them to become leaders and citizens of the 21st century. Visit https://studentequity.dpsk12.org/gifted-talented/ for more information. Here is a short list of offerings this school year:

  • Family Fun Nights
  • Super Saturdays
  • Family coffee talks
  • GT 101 for Students
  • Targeted groups on topics like perfectionism, lack of motivation, anxiety and creativity
  • Social / emotional discussion groups
  • GT specific field trips to places like the soccer stadium, Star Wars exhibit and college campuses
  • Student luncheons
  • Parent nights including topics on "GT 101", the importance of play / free time, and anxiety reduction techniques.
  • Leadership collaborations with BIONIC to welcome new students, support those in crisis and outreach to the community

Community Resources Inc. (CRI) - Community Resources Inc. is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit that has served the students, families, and staff of Denver and Denver Public Schools since 1972. The goal of our organization is to enhance the education of students utilizing hundreds of volunteers from the Denver community who share their time, knowledge and enthusiasm. Each year CRI creates and coordinates thousands of programs that reach over 90,000 student contacts. CRI organizes the Academic Mentors Project as well as family nights and special events. Learn more - and consider volunteering to be a mentor! - here: http://cri.dpsk12.org/. You can learn more from Laura Kent, Academic Mentors Program Manager, at laura_kent@dpsk12.org.

Gifted Development Center (GDC) - We are a non-profit organization supporting giftedness throughout the lifespan. We also build awareness and understanding of giftedness, through research, advocacy and development of national policy. Our philosophy is child-centered: we put your child first. We focus on understanding your child’s inner world (overexcitabilities, emotions, perceptions, relationships, personality, etc.), rather than on his or her potential for success. We see giftedness as a pervasive way of being in the world, not as being "gifted in...." Visit http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/ for more information on advocacy, counseling, books and articles, events and more.

Interested in Digging Deeper?

http://sengifted.org/ - supporting emotional needs of the gifted

http://www.nagc.org/ - national resource with articles, conference information and more

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/ - library of resources for parents, educators and students