Supporting the Unique Needs of Gifted Learners

Several years ago, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD was one of only five school districts of more than 1,040 districts in the state of Texas to receive a Recognized status for their gifted programming department from Texas Education Association. Known as Advanced Academic Services, their mission is “designing a quality education for all students and supporting the unique needs of gifted learners.”

In hopes of enhancing student motivation to participate in more challenging opportunities, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (C-FB ISD) is dedicated to offering a wide variety of advanced programs. As explained on their website, these services include:

  • ACE (Academic Creative Education) - designed to meet the special educational needs of gifted students at their home school campuses.
  • LEAP (Leading Exceptional Academic Procedures) - a self-contained district-wide program for exceptionally gifted students.
  • Pre-Advanced Placement Program - begins in sixth grade in English, mathematics, social studies and science. Classes are intended to ensure that middle and high school students are taught the skills, concepts, and habits of mind needed for college.
  • Advanced Placement Program - a cooperative educational endeavor between secondary schools and colleges and universities. It allows high school students to undertake college-level academic learning.

To ensure successful implementation of the above programs, the district also adheres to six guiding principles, according to the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD website:

  1. Provide multiple options that are available at all levels in areas of giftedness recognized by the Texas State Plan for Gifted and Advanced Learners.
  2. Assure the commitment of the C-FB ISD learning community to reach the goal that all students benefit from a curriculum that enables them to meet their high potential.
  3. Provide options for all students to be assessed and served in challenging academic programs.
  4. Reach out to the total school community as a way to enhance services for gifted students.
  5. Create and provide professional development options to assure that all C-FB ISD professionals are aware of and committed to the program for gifted students.
  6. Use technology and other media to expand entrepreneurial potential for gifted students.

In order for students to be admitted to the Advanced Academic Services program, they must be referred by teachers, parents, administrators, counselors, students and/or other members of the community. After the referral forms have been submitted, each school’s on-site Admissions, Review, Exit (ARE) committee meet and determine student eligibility. Students who wish to participate in the ACE program must have an aptitude test score of 125 or above. In order to be eligible for the LEAP program, students must receive intelligence test scores of 140 or above. To be accepted into both programs, the student must show high classroom performance, high scores on achievement testing, submit a student portfolio, and if needed interview with the ARE committee.

By making gifted education a priority, the Advanced Academic Services program allows identified gifted students in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD the opportunity to interact and learn with classmates of similar abilities throughout their educational trajectory.


Myth:  Acceleration options, such as grade skipping or early entrance, can be socially harmful to gifted students.

Fact:  “The research evidence on the effectiveness of acceleration is very positive. For example, contrary to many people’s expectation, the evidence shows that acceleration does not damage students socially or emotionally. In fact, grade skipping has been found to aid social relations (as well as academic achievement)”, (Dr. Miraca Gross, Regional and Remote Workshops for Parents about Gifted Education). Grade accelerated students typically find they have more in common and are more closely matched in intellectual ability with older peers than with their age peers.

If you are interested in learning more about the social impacts of acceleration, please see the following articles:

Davidson Institute Updates

Applications Available for 2008-2009 School Year
A free, public school for profoundly gifted pupils on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, The Davidson Academy of Nevada is seeking qualified students to apply for the 2008-2009 school year. The Academy is specifically designed to meet the needs of profoundly gifted middle and high school students, starting at the sixth grade level and beyond. For admission details, please visit

On Monday, Nov. 19, 2007, The Davidson Academy will be hosting a tour for prospective students and their families. For details, visit

2008 THINK Summer Institute Application Available
To download an application, please visit
2008 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Applications Available
For more information on the Davidson Fellows, or to download an application, please visit

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