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Gifted Program

Gifted Program

Avondale Elementary School District provides experiences to gifted students in an atmosphere where their gifts and talents are nurtured. Our aim is to recognize student interests and needs, to be inclusionary, and to provide differentiated experiences that are developmentally appropriate and effective for all learners. Gifted students are encouraged to explore, learn and create.

Qualification for gifted programs in Arizona is dependent upon state law and local school district guidelines. According to Arizona Revised Statutes §15-770 and Avondale Elementary School District Guidelines, a student must score in the 90th percentile or higher in one of the tested areas in order to qualify for gifted services. Please note that other districts may have different qualifying scores, and should your child transfer to another district, he or she may not qualify for the gifted program in that district. Most students in our district take the CogAT, or Naglieri Nonverbal Assessment.

What Does Gifted Mean?

The national definition of giftedness defines gifted students as performing at higher levels compared to others of the same age, experience and environment in one or more domains. Gifted learners require modifications to their educational experiences to learn and realize their potential. Gifted characteristics can include:

  • Advanced vocabulary
  • Excellent memory 
  • Learns quickly 
  • Asks questions 
  • Critical thinker 
  • Passionate about certain subjects 
  • Intense 
  • Sensitive/empathetic 
  • Likes older children or adults 
  • Needs to know "why?" 
  • Uses humor/understands sarcasm 
  • Enjoys challenges

Gifted Areas 

Students need to score in the 90th percentile or higher in one of the three areas to be considered gifted. Qualification in more than one area is possible.

The verbal section measures a child’s ability to remember and transform sequences of English words, to understand them and to make inferences and judgments about them. 

The quantitative section measures a child’s understanding of basic number concepts and relationships. 

The non-verbal section measures reasoning using pictures and geometric shapes. This section reduces the impact of language on the student’s score. 

Gifted Needs

The average ability is the 50th percentile. Students at the far right (Gifted) need special education services to meet their unique learning needs. Gifted students make up 3-5 percent of the student population. Differentiation for gifted learners can be addressed through changing the content, product, and/or process of their learning. Once a student qualifies as gifted in one or more areas, they do not need to retest every year. Qualified gifted students receive gifted services at all AESD schools.

Image of the Bell Curve of a typical classroom showing the average ability and gifted ability of students

Gifted Program Contacts

Sharon Michael-Lightfoot, Gifted Coordinator,

Shanta GoKool, Lattie Coor,

Matthew Mueller, Elisio E. Felix,

Marco Garnica, Avondale Middle,

Alison Robinson, Copper Trails,

Jenny Byron, Copper Trails,

Breanna Madison, Wildflower Accelerated Academy,

Marissa Koenigs, Wildflower Accelerated Academy,

Jennifer Prine, Michael Anderson,

Amber Wolfe, Centerra Mirage STEM Academy,

Anna Stone, Centerra Mirage STEM Academy,

Ymi Ngo, Desert Thunder,

Natalie Blair,  Desert Star,