Gifted Education Frequently Asked Questions

Who can refer a student for testing?
Parents, teachers, administrators, students, or community members may refer any student for evaluation for eligibility for gifted services.

When can a student be referred for evaluation for eligibility for gifted services?
Students from kindergarten through twelfth grade may be referred and evaluated for eligibility for gifted services. Students can be referred for gifted eligibility evaluation at any point during his/her school career.

How often can students be referred for gifted eligibility evaluation?
Students can be referred for evaluation for eligibility for gifted services once during each school year.

What is involved in the gifted evaluation process?
Students referred for evaluation for eligibility for gifted services are administered a standardized, nationally normed ability test and a standardized, nationally normed achievement test. Additionally, parents and classroom teachers complete a student rating scale and provide anecdotal data. Student grades are also part of the student eligibility profile. Other data may be considered by the school Identification/Placement Committee.

Does my child have to be evaluated for gifted services each year? 
Once a student is determined eligible for gifted services, services continue through grade 12.  

How will I know the results of the gifted evaluation process?
Parents/guardians will receive a letter from school administration with the decision of the school’s Identification/Placement Committee. Results of the gifted eligibility process, including test scores, are placed in the student’s cumulative record, which is available for parent review.

If my child is eligible in another school division, will s/he be eligible for gifted services once enrolled in Frederick County Public Schools?
FCPS has a transfer procedure for students who were identified eligible for gifted education services in another school division to determine eligibility for FCPS gifted services.

Is there a limit to the number of students that can be found eligible for gifted services?
No. There is not a minimum or maximum number of students that can be served.  

What services are offered to students eligible for gifted services?
View our Programs and Services.

Does my child have to change his/her classroom teacher/schedule if found eligible for gifted services?
Once identified, usually a student’s general education teacher/schedule is not changed. Elementary students will receive service in a pull-out model. Secondary students will have the option of taking gifted elective courses.

What type of program is offered in FCPS?
The Virginia Department of Education mandates that gifted students be served in either General Intellectual Aptitude or Specific Academic Aptitude.  Frederick County Public Schools’ gifted program is a General Intellectual Aptitude program, meaning both verbal and nonverbal strengths are evaluated when evaluating students for eligibility for gifted services.

What is Discovery? When is it offered?
Discovery is an elementary program that serves students eligible for gifted services in kindergarten through grade 5. Students in kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 are served for 50 minutes each month usually with a push-in model. Students in grades 3 - 5 are served for 75 minutes a week using a pull-out model. Discovery class has a focused, yearly concept such as balance, perspective, change, and value.

What is GEMS? When is it offered?
The Gifted Exploratory for Middle School (GEMS) course is a 6th grade elective offered during the first exploratory session of the year. GEMS is a class for gifted students to learn about gifted characteristics and strategies to cope with the academic and social situations that come up in middle school. Students incorporate the lessons into a final project. 

What is PRISMS? When is it offered?
PRISMS is a semester research elective available to middle school students eligible for gifted services. Problem Solving, Research, and Independent Study for Middle School (PRISMS) class is available to 7th and 8th grade students. PRISMS not a required class and can be taken multiple times. Students choose a topic of personal interest and learn higher-level research strategies resulting in a research paper and project reflecting their knowledge with a public presentation of their findings.

What is GIS?  When is it offered?
Gifted Independent Study is a semester elective offered to juniors and seniors eligible for gifted services. GIS requires an application/interview/acceptance process. GIS is offered at all three high schools with a total of 45 students per semester accepted to participate. Participants have the opportunity to choose a mentor in a field of career interest and complete an independent study project that arises from the learning at the mentor site. Seminars throughout the semester allow the participants to interact with their gifted peers. GIS has a focus concept each semester around which seminars are planned. The cumulative event of the semester is a showcase where students engage in public speaking to introduce themselves, their mentors, and their project topics and display their projects in a venue which allows attendees to interact with the GIS participants about their learning experiences.

How is instruction differentiated for students?
Individual classroom teachers are responsible for differentiating instruction in the classroom.