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Gifted and Talented

The Gifted and Talented Program is designed for those students who are gifted (qualitative intellect) and talented (unique and specialized abilities).  Instruction for students uses district and state standards at an accelerated pace, with more complexity and depth, in a manner supporting unique needs of gifted and talented learners.  Extended, collaborative, and individualized opportunities are provided for students in pursuit of higher level 21stCentury learning targets and real world applications of study.

The program is dedicated to:

  • Providing for opportunities for open-ended learning
  • Promoting the appreciation of diversity, cultural understanding, and global perspectives
  • Providing independent study opportunities inside and outside of the classroom
  • Targeting and embracing the interest, learning styles and special talents of students
  • Offering in-depth, interdisciplinary units based on district curriculum framework
  • Valuing the opportunity for student choices in learning
  • Differentiation of instruction to meet multiple needs
  • Operating at a higher academic level with advanced complexity and depth
  • Meeting the unique social-emotional needs of students
  • Providing access to advanced technology as a tool for learning and application of standards

Program Design

Students who are most successful in the Gifted  program often exhibit the following characteristics:

  • High motivation
  • Independence in learning and academic applications
  • Emotional and social maturity
  • Enthusiasm for learning
  • Risk taking and resilient in their learning modalities
  • High potential for achievement and production
  • Creative and critical thinkers
  • Makes connections to the world around them
  • Have parental support and encouragement
  • Personally responsible

Other characteristics often exhibited by our student population (positive and negative) may include:

  • Early learning with rapid language development
  • Large contextual knowledge base
  • Keen observation skills
  • Superior reasoning, critical thinking, and  problem solving skills
  • Efficient, high capacity memory
  • Extrapolates knowledge and applies it to new situations
  • Advanced, extended, and varied interests
  • Greater metacognition and reflection skills  (thinking about thinking)
  • High alertness
  • High activity level
  • Intense reactions
  • Curiosity with a focus on inquiry (question-asking)
  • Good sense of humor
  • High level moral thinking
  • Pronounced underachievement; especially in uninteresting areas
  • Perfectionism
  • Emotional sensitivity and excitability

Teacher Characteristics

Certain characteristics and strengths are desired and/or needed to work successfully with this population.  An effective teacher of the gifted and talented often exhibits many of the following characteristics:

  • Highly intelligent
  • Possesses cultural and intellectual interests beyond standard curriculum base
  • Strives for excellence; high achievers
  • Enthusiastic and passionate about teaching
  • Has broad general knowledge of content areas
  • Mature, experiential, self-confident
  • Welcome the students point of view in classroom instruction and discussions
  • Imaginative, flexible, open to change
  • Respects individuality, personal self-image, ethics and integrity
  • Teaches students to evaluate different situations for themselves
  • Recognizes individual differences in learners and plans instruction accordingly

Other competencies should include:

  • Has knowledge of the nature and needs of the gifted student
  • Identifies the needs of gifted and talented students
  • Implements methodology appropriate for gifted students while selecting quality materials
  • Embraces the use of higher level thinking skills including critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Adept at the use of inquiry
  • Skilled in facilitating independent research
  • Effectively directs and encourages individualized learning and accountability
  • Focus on student processes as well as products
  • Able to communicate effectively with parents and the community

Parental Support

There are ways parents can help build positive relationships with all those involved in educating their gifted and talented children:

  • Recognize and respect that you may have different perspectives of your child than the school and teacher.  While you may see a particular set of characteristics and/or skills in a one-on-one setting at home, the school sees your child in a classroom of other gifted individuals.  This context may encourage students to exhibit different behaviors and/or characteristics.
  • Facilitate and support your child's academic pursuits  at home
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Realize that even very young children tune in immediately to adult conversation that refers to them
  • Parent support toward achievement:
    • Model achievement - Share with your children realistic and positive views of achievement
    • Power and control - Gifted children are likely to sporadically push limits to determine the extent of their freedom
    • Give clear, positive messages - be reasonable with praise and be consistent between parents
    • Model age-appropriate social behaviors (what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in the school and home context)

Hulstrom Gifted and Talented Policies


Homework is an important part of the home-school communication.  All homework should be: relevant to what is being taught in class; it can be done independently by the student; is practice and is not new material.  There may be special projects that students are required to do at home for a specific purpose.  The projects could be short or long term.  Each teacher will have his/her own homework policy that will be communicated to the students and parents at the beginning of the school year.  These guidelines need to be adhered to:

  • Homework will be assigned Monday through Thursday (elementary) 
  • On average, homework should fall into the following ranges:     
    • Kindergarten:  15 minutes homework, 15 minutes reading
    • First grade:  15 minutes homework, 15 minutes reading
    • Second grade:  20 minutes homework, 20 minutes reading
    • Third grade:  30 minutes homework, 20 minutes reading
    • Fourth grade:  40 minutes homework, 20 minutes reading
    • Fifth grade:  50 minutes homework, 20 minutes reading


  • Teachers utilize a wide variety/range of evaluations and assessment tools, based on assignment, level of development, and expectation.
  • Each teacher has his or her own policy for grading.
  • Rubric grades may be used as appropriate at different levels.
  • Not all assignments are graded equally-  Factors such as mastery, practice, length of assignment, and purpose of assignment are all considerations.

Glossary of Terms

Acceleration:  Acceleration offers standard curricular experiences to students at a younger than usual age or lower than usual grade level.  Acceleration includes early entrance to kindergarten or to college, grade skipping, or part time grade acceleration, in which a student enters a higher grade level for part of the day to receive advanced instruction in one or more content areas.

Ability Grouping/Cluster Grouping:  Ability grouping is defined as using test data and school records to assign same-grade children to classes or instructional groups that differ markedly in characteristics affecting school learning.  Cluster grouping is a form of ability grouping in which 3 to 6 students are clustered according to their identified areas of strength in a mixed ability classroom.

Blocking Instruction:  When a school or program utilizes the same block of time each day in all grade levels, to teach a particular content area or subject area; this is defined as blocking.  This allows students to be placed in the appropriate instructional level, regardless of age. 

Differentiation:  A means of addressing the particular characteristics and promoting the continual growth of students in an environment that is respectful of individual differences through modification of pace, depth, and complexity of curriculum and instruction.

 Expectations for incoming First Graders

Language Arts:

  • Can read and write first grade sight words
  • Writes a simple complete sentence
  • Uses end punctuation, capitalization and spacing
  • Correct letter formation
  • Legible manuscript writing
  • Capitalization and spelling correct in first and last name
  • Recognizes and writes rhyming words
  • Know full name, phone number, and parents' names
  • Writes a simple story/narrative with beginning, middle and end in order
  • Colors neatly and uses scissors correctly
  • Mastery of naming all 26 letters and sounds


  • Count to 100 by 1's, 2's, 5's, and 10's
  • Knows addition and subtraction facts to 10
  • Writes numbers 1 to 100
  • Recognizes ordinal numbers
  • Recognizes and knows values of coins
  • Can count and write the amount of coins up to $1.00
  • Knows the number of days in the week, month in a year
  • Can tell time to the hour and half hour
  • Recognizes simple patterns


  • Able to log on and use mouse


  • Completes simple tasks independently
  • Sits quietly and listens to a listening activity for a minimum of 15 minutes
  • Listens and  follows directions
  • Obeys classroom and school rules
  • Demonstrates responsibility

Expectations for incoming Second Graders

Language Arts

  • Able to read at grade level or above
  • Can spell and read all second grade high frequency words
  • Knows multi-meaning words
  • Writes simple and complex sentences
  • Writes a story using beginning, middle and end
  • can alphabetize in ABC order
  • Can use dictionary and thesaurus
  • Knows what a noun is
  • Can follow 3 step directions
  • Able to read fluently orally
  • Able to organize idea around one topic
  • Is beginning to read simple chapter books


  • Reads, writes and can sequence numbers through 1,000
  • Knows addition and subtraction facts to 20
  • Knows math symbols =, <, >, +, -
  • Can tell time to 15 minute increments
  • Can count money up to $5.00
  • Recognizes fractional parts of a whole
  • Recognizes number patterns

Computer Skills

  • Able to save a document
  • Able to find and open a program
  • Can log on and off a computer
  • Able to identify home row
  • Has been exposed to some basic keyboarding

Expectations for incoming Third Graders

Language Arts

  • Can read independently with fluency and voice
  • Is reading chapter books
  • Reads and understands fiction and nonfiction at or above grade level
  • Can write and identify parts of a paragraph
  • Uses correct punctuation and capitalization
  • Identifies parts of speech
  • Indents
  • Regularly uses dictionary and thesaurus
  • Recognizes prefixes, suffixes and root word
  • Uses proper written and oral grammar
  • Manuscript needs to be mastered and exposed to cursive
  • Has an attention span of at least 30 minutes


  • Has mastered multiplication facts through 10
  • Has exposure to division facts
  • Has mastered 2 digit numbers with regrouping
  • Can tell time to the minute
  • Can give change from $1.00
  • Can count money to $10.00
  • Can read and write numbers to 10,000
  • Knows fractional parts of a region
  • Has been exposed to median, mode, and range
  • Knows all basic three dimensional shapes


  • Has beginning keyboarding skills
  • Can save into own folder
  • Can get onto the internet
  • Has used computer programs such as Kid-pix

Expectations for incoming Fourth Graders

Language Arts

  • Reads and comprehends at grade level or above
  • Is an independent reader
  • Alphabetizes to the 4th letter
  • Has mastery of manuscript and cursive writing
  • Can write three paragraphs about a topic using topic sentence, supporting details, and closing sentences
  • Uses correct capitalization and punctuation in all assignments
  • Has an attention span of at least 45 minutes
  • Possesses good organizational skills
  • Can write complete sentences using a variety of sentence structures
  • Can use the dictionary easily for spelling, definitionas and pronunciation of words
  • Can use the encyclopedia to find information
  • Can write a report in different forms


  • Can read and write numbers up to 1,000,000
  • Knows automatically all addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts
  • Can add, subtract, and multiply three digit numbers using different algorithms
  • Can divide 3 digit by 1 divisor
  • Can add and subtract fractions using manipulatives
  • Reduces fractions to the lowest terms
  • Can gather mathematical information from a graph, chart or grid
  • Can use measurement to the nearest millimeter, centimeter, meter and quarter inch, half inch, feet and yards


  • Saves and retrieves documents and pictures
  • Imports pictures
  • Uses keyboarding skills
  • Knows how to use Microsoft Word
  • Knows how to use AutoShapes
  • Can use power point
  • Knows how to search the internet

Expectations of incoming Fifth Graders

Language Arts

  • Reads and comprehends at grade level or above
  • Uses reading as a tool to learn independently
  • Has research skills
  • Consistently uses legible cursive and manuscript
  • Can write three to four paragraphs with topic sentence, supporting details and closing sentences
  • Uses correct punctuation and capitalization in all assignments
  • Has an attention span of at least one hour
  • Possesses good organizational and decision making skills
  • Can write complete sentences using a variety of sentence structure using good word choice and voice
  • Can use the dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia
  • Can determine fact from fiction and opinion
  • Uses writing to communicate ideas and information for various purposes


  • Can read and write numbers to one billion
  • Automatically knows all basic facts
  • Can add subtract, multiply and divide multi digit number
  • Can multiply 3 digit numbers by 3 digit numbers
  • Can divide 4 digit numbers by 2digit numbers
  • Can make change from money, understands profit and debt
  • Can gather mathematical data from a graph, chart, grid, and recognizes benchmarks
  • Can use English and metric rulers
  • Can measure angles with a protractor, construct congruent angles with a compass
  • Knows exponential notation
  • Understands and can convert fractions to decimals and to percents
  • Understands negative numbers

Other curriculum skills

  • Independent planning for research projects
  • Can report in a variety of ways
  • Has an awareness of global current events
  • Understands the interrelationships of people and cultures
  • Can use globe, maps, atlas, and charts to locate and gather information about the world
  • Knows the 50 states and capitals
  • Uses computer in various ways regularly
  • Can troubleshoot and solve problems with the computer
  • Is proficient in keyboarding