Gifted Education

Gifted and talented children and youth are those students with outstanding abilities, identified at preschool, elementary, and secondary levels. The potential of gifted students requires differentiated and challenging educational programs or services beyond those provided in the general school program. Students capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement or potential ability in one or more of these areas: general intellectual, specific academic subjects, creativity, leadership, and visual/performing arts.

Professional Learning Opportunities

Gifted and Talented workshops are practical, timely training opportunities that bridge theory into practice to help educators, administrators, psychologists and others effectively identify and support gifted and highly able learners. Watch for specific topic information and links to registration coming soon.  

Student Opportunities

  • Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (JCK) is dedicated to ensuring high-performing; low-income students have the support necessary to develop their skills. To learn more about scholarships, counseling and other support services for students grade seven to graduate school, visit JCK to learn more.
  • Minnesota Scholars of Distinction program nurtures and recognizes distinguished achievement by highly motivated, self-directed students. Students may apply for Scholars of Distinction Awards in Leadership, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and Theater Arts. All applicants must complete the Intent to Apply Form. For more information, visit the Scholars of Distinction webpage.
  • Out of Level Tests are assessments developed for older students administered to younger students. These tests provide specific information about student strengths and may provide access to enrichment/advanced programs through talent centers. Several testing sites are available in Minnesota through the Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search program. Learn about opportunities for out-of-level testing in Minnesota through CTD.

Gifted Learner Resources

Assessment of Young Gifted Learners for Early Entrance to Kindergarten or First Grade
Gifted Education Support for Distance Learning
Social and Emotional Support for Gifted Learners during COVID-19

 Resources for Educators, Schools and Families

  • Acceleration is an option for students who are academically advanced compared to peers in their age group. The Acceleration Institute website informs parents, educators, researchers and policymakers of the research and practices concerning academic acceleration. Visit the Acceleration Institute website. Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject is a resource available to guide policymakers, school administrators, and educators to create or modify acceleration policies at the local level. View Developing Academic Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject.
  • Advocacy Tools help families advocate for their gifted child and are available through the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). View advocacy tools on the NAGC website.
  • English learners (ELs) are often under-represented in gifted and talented programs. The National Center for Research on Gifted Education (NCRGE) developed 15 tips for identifying gifted EL students. Visit the NCRGE website.
  • Enrichment Opportunities allow students to explore their interests and learn new skills. Enrichment occur within and outside of school. The Reach for the Stars catalogue includes opportunities for students that meet criteria set by the Minnesota Academic League Council. View the catalogue.
  • Evidence based practices in gifted education have been synthesized by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Psychology in Schools and Education. Read the Top 20 Principles from Psychology for Pre-K-12 Education.
  • Identifying Underserved Population for Gifted Programs FAQ is a new resource providing research-based recommendations to help you identify these learners: Identifying Underserved Student Populations for Gifted Programs: Some Methods and Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Professional Development on Demand courses are now available from the Minnesota Department of Education. The courses developed in the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) at include science, math and gifted education training modules.
  • Project North Star is a three-year grant Jacob K. Javits awarded MDE from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant elevates culturally responsive identification and services and provides for underserved gifted rural populations by preparing educators, administrators and families to understand the unique needs of gifted and talented learners. Professional learning modules for educators and administrators are available at no cost. To access the modules, register as a student on the Canvas Learning Management (LMS) website. Gifted education courses include:
    1. Supporting Gifted and Talented Students: This course offers four professional learning modules focusing on the pedagogical underpinnings of gifted education and practical instructional strategies that support gifted and talented learners from rural locations and diverse populations including: Who are the Gifted Underserved in Rural Areas and What Do They Need?; Instructional Strategies That Support Gifted and Talented Learners; Addressing the Academic and Affective Needs of High Ability Learners in Rural School Settings; and Instructional Strategies, Part 2. Use the following join code: FF76T7
    2. Introduction to Gifted and Talented for Administrators: This professional development offers two professional learning modules focusing on intentional school leadership with gifted and talented learners from rural locations and diverse populations. Use the following join code: 4N77XY
    3. Schoolwide Professional Learning Modules are intended to provide a resource for schools in search of high-quality, ongoing professional learning. While not specific to gifted education, these modules are research-based and aligned with best practices. They reinforce the importance of cultural competence for educators and administrators so that they have knowledge of the attitudes, background and beliefs of cultures other than their own through the use of culturally responsive instructional practices, leadership skills and resources. The modules were developed for cohort use but may be adapted for large group or individual study. The modules consists of:
  • TIP Sheets Timely Information for Parents (TIP) sheets are available from the National Association for Gifted Children in four areas: Assessments for Identification, Asynchronous Development, Classroom Advocacy, and Early Childhood. View the TIP sheets.
  • Twice-Exceptional Children are gifted children with special education needs. The Minnesota Council for Gifted and Talented makes available a list of articles and organizations providing assistance to children and families. Learn more about available resources.
  • Young Gifted Learners ages 3-8 are typically underserved. Very few gifted programs exist for children this age, and few teachers have the training necessary to support this group. The challenge is finding how to best serve and identify this population. Learn more about the issues facing young gifted learners.

Legislative Resources

Gifted and Talented: Minnesota Statutes, section 120.15 Gifted and Talented
Gifted and Talented: Legislative Summary
Gifted and Talented Revenue: Minnesota Statutes, section 126(c).10, subdivision 2b.
Gifted and Talented, World's Best Workforce, Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.11, subdivision 2(2).
Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs, Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.13.
Required Academic Standards,  Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.21.
  •  - 9/17/20
  • Utilizing the Expertise of Gifted Education Coordinators and Specialists - 9/4/20