Summer 2010

Summer Kaleidoscope
Gifted Learners: Fostering Independence


House Takes Action to Reverse National Neglect of High-Potential Students


NAGC Praises U.S. Representatives for Introducing Landmark Equity in Excellence Bill


WASHINGTON (June 28, 2010) – House leaders have introduced bipartisan legislation that would take a significant step forward in reversing the federal government's historic underinvestment in high-potential students.

Representatives Donald Payne (D-NJ-10), Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2), and Jared Polis (D- CO-2) – have introduced the ground-breaking Equity in Excellence Act that would have a profound impact on our nation's ability to identify and serve high-potential students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) applauds them for their leadership.


"For too long we have ignored our gifted students from low-income neighborhoods, but leaving them to languish is no longer an option." said Ann Robinson, president of NAGC. "With the Equity in Excellence program, we can ensure that our nation's students are reaching their full potential in the classroom."


The legislation, H.R. 5586, would establish a national program focused on helping high- ability learners from disadvantaged backgrounds attain the same achievement levels as other high-ability students. The program would help reverse the growing achievement gap between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers. Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.


"Giving all students access to a rigorous, appropriate education allows them to make the most of their abilities. What could be more fundamental to the success of our education system and our values as a nation?" Nancy Green, Executive Director of NAGC said.

"Appropriately serving high-ability learners isn't about disregarding others. It's about ensuring that all students are given the same opportunities to flourish."


For more information on the bill visit

A Letter from the President


We Must Be the TEAM for Colorado Gifted

“TEAMwork with Vision and Voice”


Myths, misunderstandings, and misinformation regarding gifted individuals and students permeate our culture and our schools.  While gifted learners are served well in some classrooms, some schools, and some districts in our state and in our nation, they still are not acknowledged or supported in others.  The reality is that we can only accomplish sustainable programs and programming, serve learners appropriately, and achieve our goals if we join together and work as a TEAM!




Don't Forget... 

CAGT Conference 2010 & Parent Institute

Developing Student Potential:  Responsive Instruction and Guidance

October 18 and 19, 2010 - Monday and Tuesday at the Marriott Denver Tech Center


We have been busy working on the schedule for this year’s fall conference.  With our theme, Developing Student Potential: Responsive Instruction & Guidance, we are excited to have many presentations with practical applications for teachers, parents and administrators.  Jann Leppein will be discussing creating differentiated learning experiences for advanced level students.  Dina Brulles will be sharing information about implementing the school wide Cluster Grouping Model and Terry Neu will be addressing the important topic of bully proofing your gifted child. With so many experts and topics that are needed in the classroom right now, this year’s conference is not one to miss!


 2010 CAGT Parent Institute!

Monday, October 18

Marriott, Denver Tech Center

4900 S. Syracuse St., Denver, CO

5PM Reception, 6PM Dinner, Speakers and Focus Groups

Listen to keynotes and discuss with experts

the topics most relevant to you:

your children!

Parents, Grandparents and advocates are welcome!

 Nicolas Green Distinguished Student Award Program

 Eighteen outstanding students have submitted the required essentials including a student composition that details the student’s achievement and a letter of recommendation from the student’s teachers or parents. Their distinguished achievement can be for excellence in academics, leadership or the arts. Every one of these children go above and beyond to an achievement so outstanding that it deserves to be recognized.  CAGT would like to recognize all of these students who applied and thank them for their efforts.  The Colorado winner will be announced in the next issue of the Kaleidoscope. Be sure to check back for the results in September. 

The following students have applied for this year’s awards:

Brianna Herner

Lily Oram

Jillian Shew

Casandra Vigil

Carlos Molina

Kali Horn

Malia Eppe

Jonathan Flat

Matthew Pao Radzihovsky

Katie Cunningham

Erin Jones

Joel Meyers

Alicia Topolnycky

Jewell Humphrey

Robert Christian de Dios

Joyce Lee

Adam Resnick

Avi Swartz

Originally funded by the Nicholas Green Foundation and NAGC, this award program is designed to recognize distinguished achievement in academics, leadership, or the arts, in children grades 3 through 6. One child per state can be named a Nicholas Green Distinguished Student and that winner receives a $500 U.S. savings bond and an NAGC Certificate of Excellence.

The Nicholas Green Foundation was established by Maggie and Reg Green to honor the memory of their seven-year-old son Nicholas who was killed in a drive-by shooting while visiting Italy in 1994.  The Nicholas Green Scholarship Fund has already awarded scholarships to high-ability high school and college students to enable them to advance their education. The Greens started the Distinguished Student Awards because they wanted to recognize young people that are working hard to make the most of their lives and develop their unique gifts and talents, and who are now about the age that Nicholas was when he died. The Nicholas Green Foundation began funding these awards in the 1998 – 1999 school year.  It is now funded by NAGC and CAGT.


      Keeping the Lights On for Gifted Learners

-- Julie Gonzales,  June, 2010

Bottom of Form

Recently, I had the pleasure and honor to welcome, on behalf of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented, the Colorado Western Academic Talent Search students along with their families as they celebrated outstanding achievement as top scorers (SAT, ACT and EXPLORE tests) among their peers.  These eager and intellectually exceptional 3rd through 9th grade youth clearly recognized the uniqueness of their early accomplishments and valued this moment in time as a stepping off point for great potential.  Mediocrity was not present in the crowded Bunker Auditorium at the Green Center on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines. 


As I prepared my thoughts for my 10 minutes at the podium, the possibilities for numerous angles on  gifted education in Colorado seemed overwhelming and difficult to pose prior to the presentation of medals and certificates of honor.  What these folks were looking forward to was not a dry speech on political issues and budget lines.  How to catch their attention?


Here is a quick summary of my comments…shared in story style…on a most personal note:

I take great pride in briefly introducing you to my father, an alum of Mines, Class of 1932.  In 1931 my dad  joined a band of his engineering fraternity brothers (members of the Mines’s chapter of Blue Key International Honor Society), as they took on the project of putting lights on the "M" on Mount Zion
.  I read my father's description of stringing the power line from the foot of the mountain up to the "M" and around its outline of 105 x 107 feet square...using jackhammers to sink the holes for the small metal posts that were placed in the cement around the letter.  The project involved stringing wire from post to post and attaching sockets at intervals.  "We threw the switch in the transformer at the foot of the mountain, and voila!  The 'M' was completely illuminated and could be seen from Denver on a clear night.” [even to this day in 2010]. 


What an extraordinary effort this took with hardened tools and plenty of sweat and determination.  The impact of that first lighting of the monument was, of course, a huge hit…and led to fundraising efforts and much civic attention to making this bright foothills memorial a permanent mark for generations to come.  I asked the audience, as they catch that glowing “M” some clear night from a distance, to remember my father and his classmates and their early efforts to seek excellence and keep the standard high.  These students and their parents already appreciate the difference academic challenge at an early age can make on their attitudes toward school and rigor and work ethic.  They can become the critical voices to carry this important message to school boards and administrators, local leaders and the public at large.  Advocacy begins in our own backyards.


The analogy has a timely place in our lives as parents, teachers and certainly advocates for gifted learners across our state and beyond.  How can each of us affect the future of so many exceptional minds in our midst and bring attention to their unique learning needs?  Must we continue to voice frustration at the lack of time, attention, professional expertise, learning opportunities, expanded academically rigorous programming, doors opening rather than doors closed to institutional and moral support for those whose gifts can serve eloquently the needs of this world?


Let’s begin with our own stories.  Let’s bring them to the surface and share what can happen when we turn our backs to nurturing great young minds.  It is not about complaining.  It is about describing objectively the impact, positive or negative, that occurs when gifted children are engaged and challenged or denied and delayed in the necessary opportunities to grow academically and develop potential exponentially.



The ABC's- Part 2


By Jerry Flack 

The limits of my language stands for the limits of my world.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

The most recent “Gifted Child Bookshelf” in the Kaleidoscope (Spring, 2010) emphasized the vital importance of developing student learning through word power. Talented children and youths who want to greatly expand the limits of the worlds should become “abecedarians,” a word that describes anyone – child or adult – who studies or works with the alphabet.

Inspiring gifted students to become abecedarians is a vital first step in developing their talents. Words! Words! Words! Superb alphabet books are packed with new words and ideas for young gifted students to learn and use; they are also among the most imaginatively illustrated picture books to be found anywhere today.

The first installment of this double-issue column tribute to the value of ABC books featured the alphabet (and counting) books of Brad Herzog, plus an exclusive interview with the award-winning author.   

This edition of “Gifted Child Bookshelf” further examines many exceptional alphabet books and cites a Hall of Fame of great ABC volumes. In keeping with the current Kaleidoscope theme of fostering independence among gifted students, this manuscript culminates with ABC-oriented activities to challenge and tantalize advanced learners of all ages. 


Use the Internet for Basics and Challenges in Science and Math

 by Dr. M.R.E. Richards


With the reduction of funding within our state’s classrooms, you are probably looking for as many free (or nearly free) supports as you can find. Below you will find some of the better options that I have discovered. Happy hunting everyone!


Parents Connect with CAGT Online!


Do you wish you could connect more with CAGT? Would you like to know:

 •   what we’re up to on a real-time basis?

•   when you could advocate for your gifted and talented kids for the most impact?

•   who else belongs to CAGT, including other  parents, teachers, advocates, and policy makers?

Would you like an easy channel or two for communicating your needs, opinions, questions, and opportunities to us?

  • Welcome
  • What is Gifted?
  • Colorado & Gifted

Every child has a right to learn something new everyday. Gifted children thrive in learning environments that present challenge and wonder throughout school lessons and activities. Welcome to Colorado's gifted community, where educators, families and community advocates partner for support, instruction, and information in the education of gifted children. This partnership motivates the implementation of school and district goals that provide appropriate educational opportunities for gifted student. The shared responsibility of implementing these goals fosters development of gifted exceptional potential over time.

As a statewide advocacy group, we are focused on improving the lives and opportunities of gifted students. This is accomplished in four main areas:

1) helping people understand the characteristics of gifted students,

2) training teachers in different strategies to create dynamic classrooms that challenge and engage gifted students,

3) providing families with information on how to advocate for the unique needs (both academic and affective) of their gifted students, and

4) supporting statewide and national laws and policies that assure gifted and talented students access to appropriate academic and social-emotional programs.

JOIN us as we strive to improve the educational opportunities for the gifted and talented children of Colorado!

Gifted is a social construct that describes a child/student with exceptional potential given culture, language, and traits of exceptionality. Getting to know the student, his/her interests and family priorities are essential to understand a student’s area of strength and gifted capabilities.

Two common definitions addressed by Colorado educators and parents are from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC). The CDE definition drives state and local policy to implement gifted education program plans.

The NAGC definition provides a holistic construct for reflection and programming.

Giftedness can best be understood by looking at a list of “common” gifted characteristics. But please keep in mind, these characteristics might present in very different ways in different people.

A dynamic expression of “gifted” is often expressed by the term “asynchronous” development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create experiences that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order to develop optimally." The Columbus Group (1991)

There are 68,663 identified gifted students in Colorado as of the 2014-2015 school year.  That equates to 7.7% of the total student enrollment.  All 58 Administrative Units report they have procedures in place to identify gifted students.  The 2014-2015 gifted education categorical line item in the state education budget was $10,010,269.  Any additional money for gifted education would be budgeted from individual school districts.

Terms that gifted families should be aware of in public schools throughout Colorado:  Exceptional Children’s Education Act, Early Access, Concurrent Enrollment, RtI (Response to Intervention), 2e (Twice-Exceptional), ALP (Advanced Learning Plan), and ICAP (Individual Career and Academic Plan).

Listed below are the state definitions for Colorado.  While the state definitions include age requirements, it is important to remember that these ages are defined only for the purpose of receiving services.

The state definition in the Colorado Exceptional Children’s Education Act CRS 22-20-202 (6)…  "Gifted child" means a person from four to twenty-one years of age whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishments are so outstanding that he or she requires special provisions to meet his or her educational needs.

The state rules for Exceptional Children’s Education Act (1CCR 301-8, Section 12) expand the definition to….  “Gifted and Talented Children” means those persons 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 and talented children are hereafter referred to as gifted students. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. Gifted students include gifted 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 of giftedness: 

1) General or Specific Intellectual Ability,

2) Specific Academic Aptitude,

3) Creative or Productive Thinking,

4) Leadership Abilities, and

5) Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Musical or Psychomotor Abilities.


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