Early Access

For Highly Advanced Gifted Children Under Age Six

For Board Policy regarding Entrance Age Requirements, visit the MCSD Board Policies web page and reference JEB: Entrance Age Requirements

Early Access

Early Access allows highly gifted four-year-olds to enter kindergarten one year early or for highly gifted five-year-olds to skip kindergarten and begin first grade. For those few qualified, highly-gifted students who would fully benefit from beginning kindergarten or first grade early without social, emotional or development setbacks, Early Access was established by House Bill 1021 and became effective in July 2009. Only children age four by October 1st shall be considered for Early Access to Kindergarten, and only children age five by October 1st shall be considered for Early Access to First Grade.

Who will benefit from Early Access?

HB 1021 limits early access to 4 or 5 year olds who are “highly advanced gifted children.” These children are "academically gifted, socially and emotionally mature, and are in the top 3 percent of the gifted peer group, motivated to learn, ready for advanced placement, and have exhausted the resources of preschool or homeschooling."

Early Access IS NOT intended to be a way to test into kindergarten or first grade because a student missed the cut-off date. It is for highly gifted (cognitively & academically) four-year-old students who can demonstrate advanced skills taught in kindergarten and five-year-old students who can demonstrate very advanced skills taught in first grade.

Application Process

  • Apply between January 1st and April 1st. No applications accepted after April 1st.
  • Complete the Early Access Developmental History Form and submit to the Montrose County School District Gifted Education Coordinator at 930 Colorado Avenue, Montrose CO 81401 (may be emailed as an attachment to john.steele@mcsd.org)
  • Complete the Permission for Classroom Observation Form and submit to the Montrose County School District Gifted Education Coordinator at 930 Colorado Avenue, Montrose CO 81401 (may be emailed as an attachment to john.steele@mcsd.org)
  • The Early Access Packet /Portfolio with accompanying Artifact Descriptions is due on March 23, 2018 to the Montrose County School District Gifted Education Coordinator at 930 Colorado Avenue, Montrose CO 81401 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 Testing fee of $250 (waived for families who have qualified for the free/reduced lunch program) to the MCSD Gifted and Talented Education office or upon check in for cognitive testing
  • Cognitive Testing will be scheduled in 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
  • If a student qualifies, the student will receive an ALP by no later than September and will have progress monitoring every five weeks with the support of the classroom teacher, GATE Facilitator and parents.

Evaluation for Early Access

Test scores are not the only standards used for a determination for Early Access. Students also have to demonstrate appropriate maturity through psychological evaluation and informal observations. A student may score in the 97th percentile on both aptitude and achievement but may not have data that supports school readiness, and not every child who scores in the 97th percentile or above may benefit from Early Access. The student must demonstrate ability two or more years above the same age peers. To demonstrate this, a “Body of Evidence” is used to make a determination, which may include observations, the Kingore Observation Inventory, Iowa Acceleration Scale, Gifted evaluation Scale (GES-3), previous testing information, prior placements or participation in advanced programming.

Colorado Department of Education Early Access Fact Sheet

Early Access Letter

Early Access Letter MCSD 2017.pdf

CDE Criterion for Early Access Procedures

Early Access Process (CDE Early Access Guide)

Early Access Pathway Criteria (CDE Early Access Guide)

Appeal Process

If a student does not meet the criterion for Early Access, the parent/guardian may appeal the decision in writing to the Gifted and Talented Education Coordinator within 10 school days of receiving the letter of determination. The letter of appeal must request a district-level meeting to seek a resolution. At the meeting, the parent/guardian may present data showing the need for gifted identification or gifted programming options. Following the meeting, the Gifted and Talented Education Coordinator and/or designee will consult with the student’s classroom teacher(s), and the school’s administration to determine their recommendations. The decision will be mailed to the parent/guardian within five school days of the meeting.

If the parent/guardian is dissatisfied with the recommendation from the Gifted and Talented Education Coordinator, he/she may appeal in writing to the Director of Instructional Services within 10 days of receiving the letter of determination. The Director of Instructional Services will review the process and evidence and will respond in writing to the parent/guardian within 10 school days of receiving the letter of appeal.

If the parent/guardian is dissatisfied with the recommendation from the Director of Instructional Services, he/she may appeal in writing to the Superintendent within 10 school days of receiving the letter of determination. The Superintendent will review the process and evidence and will respond in writing to the parent/guardian within 10 school days or receiving the letter of appeal.

If you have further questions about Early Access or our process, please contact:

John Steele

Secondary STEM/Gifted Education Coordinator

Montrose County School District RE-1J

930 Colorado Ave.

Montrose, CO 81401

970-249-7726 ext. 4902