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OVERVIEW OF GIFTED PROGRAMS

  • Deer Valley Unified School District provides many programs for gifted and talented learners to reach their fullest potential.  Deer Valley utilizes choice programs and focus schools to meet and harness learner needs along a continuum of services spanning Pre-K thru grade 12.

    • Schoolwide Gifted Cluster Model
    • Gifted Pre-K Academy
    • Bright Beginnings 
    • SPARK Enrichment
    • SAGE Content Replacement (ELA/ Math)
    • Gifted Cohort
    • Walk-Up Math
    • Renaissance Highly Gifted Academies
    • Advanced Academics
    • Gifted Cluster Honors
    • Advanced Placement
    • International Baccalaureate – Middle Years Programme
    • Career and Technical Education
    • Dual Enrollment

K-8 GIFTED PROGRAMS

  • Schoolwide Gifted Cluster Model

    Deer Valley Unified School District follows the Schoolwide Gifted Cluster Model to support accurate student placement in grades K-4. Students are automatically placed in a Gifted Cluster Classroom when they score at the 97th percentile or higher on a state-approved gifted assessment.  In this model, gifted students are grouped into a mixed-ability classroom at each grade level. The Gifted Cluster Teacher either possesses or is actively working to obtain his or her Gifted Endorsement.  As an expert in gifted pedagogy, the Gifted Cluster Teacher is trained in understanding, planning for, and instructing gifted students.  Gifted students benefit from being grouped with their intellectual peers within a differentiated and enriching classroom. They participate in critical thinking, inquiry, and problem-solving. Students are empowered to become organized, self-directed, lifelong learners. Gifted Specialists at each campus assist Gifted Cluster Teachers with facilitating, planning and implementing differentiated curriculum. In this model, gifted students receive differentiated curriculum and instruction daily and in all content areas.

    Classroom compositions are carefully structured with two main goals: to ensure that there is a balance throughout the grade level, and to reduce the learning range found in any given classroom. This system provides opportunities for teachers to more readily respond to the needs of all their students

     

    Gifted Pre-K Academy

    DVUSD's Gifted Pre-K Academy is available at Las Brisas Elementary. Students are eligible to apply for this program when they score at the 88th percentile or higher on a state-approved gifted assessment.  This hands-on program is designed to build upon students' natural sense of wonder and play.  Prekindergarten learners engage in student-centered inquiries. Students must complete cognitive abilities testing in order to be placed in this program.  Students who are placed into the Gifted Pre-K Academy are automatically eligible to continue their learning trajectory throughout the Bright Beginnings program.

     

    Bright Beginnings

    Bright Beginnings Kindergarten is a full-day, self-contained program for gifted and advanced learners. Students are eligible to apply for this program when they score at the 90th percentile or higher on a state-approved gifted assessment.  This program is taught by a fully endorsed gifted teacher.  Bright Beginnings is an enrichment-based program.  Bright Beginnings is offered at Canyon Springs (Kindergarten), Highland Lakes (Kindergarten), and Las Brisas (K-2). Students must complete cognitive abilities testing in order to be placed in this program.  

     

    Spark Enrichment

    Supporting Potential and Achievement in Remarkable Kids (SPARK) is the name of DVUSD's content enrichment program. This program is primarily for gifted students, but also applies to high achieving and high potential students. Students who score at the 94th percentile or higher on a state-approved gifted assessment are eligible to participate in SPARK Enrichment.  SPARK is available at each school in grades K-6.

    SPARK is an ongoing enrichment learning program that addresses the unique needs of gifted, high achieving, and high potential students at our participating schools. Students attend multiple days during the week, depending on the schedule of the school, and typically during RTI/MTSS periods. This program provides students with engaging experiences in mathematics, language and communication, writing, social studies, science, technology, and/or the arts through enrichment opportunities. The learning experiences in SPARK require students to think critically, collaborate with others, communicate their ideas, and show creativity. SPARK offers an environment of like minds for the duration of full RTI periods for enrichment to supplement content area classes. Our schools offer different versions of the SPARK Program. Some of these variations include project-based learning, STEM activities, group reports, etc. Students must complete cognitive abilities testing in order to be placed in this program.  

     

    SAGE Content Replacement (ELA/ Math)

    SAGE is a content replacement program in language arts and math for identified gifted students in grades 3-6. Students may be eligible for this program when they score at the 94th percentile or higher on a state-approved gifted assessment.  All identified students meet daily in the SAGE classroom, in lieu of general education classrooms to receive their instruction in English language arts and/or math from an endorsed gifted teacher. Curriculum, materials, and content are accelerated and enriched at the appropriate challenge level for students (up to one year above grade level). The pace of instruction is quick with discussions probing for breadth and depth as well as precision and clarity. Students are encouraged to problem solve, think critically and persevere to reach their potential for achievement. SAGE offers an environment of like minds for the duration of a full class period in either English language arts and/or math. The SAGE learning environment provides opportunities to see and make connections from prior learning, across curricular areas, to present learning. Students must complete cognitive abilities testing in order to be placed in this program.  

     

    Gifted Cohort

    The Gifted Cohort is a full-day gifted service model. Gifted Cohort Models are offered at select schools with high gifted populations and enrollment.  Students are eligible for placement when they score at the 94th percentile on a state-approved gifted assessment.  All teachers at the campus have or are actively working on earning their Arizona Gifted Endorsement. Gifted identified students are placed into one class, at their grade level, with other gifted identified students. The classes are taught  by a teacher (or teachers) who have or are working on earning their Gifted Endorsement. This cohort may stay with their homeroom teacher all day or move from teacher to teacher as a group depending on the configuration at each school and grade level. Gifted students are in a classroom with teachers who are trained to adapt the curriculum and environment for gifted learners. DVUSD's Gifted Cohort is available at Legend Springs, Stetson Hills, Sunset Ridge, and Terramar. Students must complete cognitive abilities testing in order to be placed in this program.  

     

    Walk-Up to Math

    In Deer Valley’s Walk-Up to Math model, students "walk-up" (as a group or cluster) to the next grade level's gifted cluster math class. The school's Gifted Specialist works with the Gifted Cluster Teacher to help instruct students in the classroom and pull out small groups of students as needed. 

    Students in grades 3-5 are automatically placed into a Walk-Up to Math classroom when they score at the 97th percentile (or higher) on the Quantitative Battery of a state-approved gifted assessment.  Students in grades 6-8 are placed into a Walk-Up to Math classroom when they score at the 97th percentile (or higher) on the Quantitiative Battery of a state-approved gifted assessment and achieve a passing score on the Middle School Math Placement Assessment.  Students who score between the 94th - 96th percentile on the Quantitative Battery of a state-approved gifted assessment may be considered for placement into a Walk-Up to Math classroom.  In these situations, a portfolio of student data is required to support placement - including a passing score on the Middle School Math Placement Assessment.

    In schools where in-person instruction is not available, students may participate in an online learning course.  ASPIRE – Deer Valley’s Online Learning Program also provides middle level and high school courses to elementary and middle school students. Students must complete cognitive abilities testing in order to be placed in this program.  

     

    Renaissance Highly Gifted Academies

    The Renaissance Highly Gifted Academy provides an all-day differentiated learning experience addressing the individual needs of highly gifted students in grades 1-8.  Deer Valley's Renaissance Academies are located at Canyon Springs (1-8), Highland Lakes (1-8), Las Brisas (3-6), and Hillcrest Middle School (7-8). 

    In Renaissance, students acquire a solid foundation in the content areas of mathematics, language/ communication arts, social studies, science, and technology literacy and work at advanced levels within these content areas at an accelerated pace. Learning opportunities include engagement in higher order and critical thinking skills; personal development and responsibility; and community and peer involvement. In this learning community of supportive and collaborative peers, students are expected to take responsibility and ownership for their academic achievement and personal growth framed by their strengths and interests. Qualified students are those who have met the published placement qualifications, and who have applied and been accepted to attend the Renaissance Academy.

    For more information about the qualifications to apply, please visit our Renaissance Website.  


MIDDLE SCHOOL (7&8) GIFTED PROGRAMS

  • Middle School Advanced Courses

    At the middle school level, advanced-level courses are designed to provide a more rigorous curriculum and higher expectations for student performance. Advanced courses follow the Parallel Curriculum Model. They provide an enriching, rigorous curriculum that engages high ability and high achieving students. Students must have the potential to accelerate through content standards and commit to more in-depth study. Curriculum in advanced courses is more sophisticated and complex. Instruction incorporates creative and productive thinking, problem solving, critical thinking skills, research, personal development and communication. Advanced courses prepare students for high-school level honors, advanced placement, and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Students qualify for placement in an advanced level course by meeting the district requirements for placement in the gifted program or meeting school standards for honors placement.

    All schools offer advanced English language arts for 7th and 8th grades. Advanced science and social studies courses are available at select middle schools (Highland Lakes, Deer Valley  Middle School, Desert Sky Middle School, and Hillcrest Middle School). Gifted and advanced students take a placement exam that allows them to participate in accelerated math. Placement options include Honors Algebra  1-2, Honors Algebra 3-4 and Honors Geometry.

     

    International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IB MYP)

    The   Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a five-year International Baccalaureate Programme, split between two Deer Valley Schools (Norterra Canyon School and Barry Goldwater High School). The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme is a highly acclaimed and internationally recognized educational framework which encourages students to become globally aware problem solvers who are critical and creative thinkers. 

    Norterra Canyon is an International Baccalaureate World School.  IB World Schools share a common philosophy -- a commitment to improve the teaching and learning of a diverse and inclusive community of students by delivering challenging, high quality programs of international education that share a powerful vision. 


HIGH SCHOOL (9-12) GIFTED PROGRAMS

  • Honors, Advanced Placement, Career and Technical Education, and Dual Enrollment courses are available at ALL DVUSD high schools. These programs provide a more rigorous curriculum and higher expectations any student wanting a more rigorous curriculum is welcome to participate in.  These courses allow gifted learners to explore their unique interests and ambitions.

    In addition, several Deer Valley high schools offer unique gifted programs that are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of gifted learners. These programs are modified and adapted each year based on student and community needs.

     

    Gifted Cohort - Sandra Day O' Connor High School

    The Gifted Academy consists of highly qualified, gifted endorsed teachers.  Sandra Day O’ Connor High School’s Gifted Academy begins in grade 9.  Freshman students are placed in Honors Gifted Biology and Honors Gifted ELA 1-2 or Honors Gifted ELA 3-4.  These courses consist only of gifted students and utilize gifted strategies such as project and problem-based learning to enhance critical thinking.  Students are able to choose their remaining courses, allowing students to pursue areas of interest. 

     

    Gifted Academy - Moutain Ridge High School 

    The Gifted Academy consists of highly qualified, gifted endorsed teachers.  The Gifted Academy at Mountain Ridge High School offers students academically rich coursework, partnered with affective supports.  Students choose which classes they would like to take, which include a wide variety of Gifted Honors course offerings and Advanced Placement.  In addition, several elective courses are offered for gifted learners, including their NEW Change the World Senior Capstone.

     

    International Baccalaureate MYP Honors/ Gifted Cohort - Barry Goldwater High School

    The   Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a five-year International Baccalaureate Programme, split between two Deer Valley Schools (Norterra Canyon School and Barry Goldwater High School). The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme is a highly acclaimed and internationally recognized educational framework which encourages students to become globally aware problem solvers who are critical and creative thinkers. 

    The IB Honors and Gifted Cohort is a school within a school model.  Students in grades 9 and 10 are grouped together in Honors ELA, History, and Science courses.  The school Gifted Specialist and IB MYP Coordinator meet one-on-one with students to ensure unique academic needs are met.  Several additional electives are offered to support student  interests, including: Honors Gifted Seminar and Theory of Knowledge courses. 

     

    Skyhawk Gifted Program - Deer Valley High School

    Deer Valley High School’s Skyhawk Gifted Program combines a robust Gifted Cluster Model with designated courses for gifted learners.  Deer Valley’s Gifted Counselor works with students to provide an individualized pathway based on students’ needs and interests. Students are grouped together in Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and elective courses (*as appropriate).  These courses may include Deer Valley High School’s new AP Capstone Diploma and AP Seminar and Research Certificate. 

    Additional information regarding Deer Valley’s Gifted Services and program offerings may be located directly on our website at: www.dvusd.org/gifted


DVUSD GIFTED OFFERINGS

  • K-6/ K-8 DVUSD Gifted Offerings 2023-24

  • 7-12 DVUSD Gifted Offerings 2023-24