Programs for the academically gifted and talented are available at Sonoran Sky. Students are identified based on the results of placement tests.
Gifted students receive accelerated and enriched instruction in mathematics and/or language arts, depending upon their area(s) of identification and needs.
Schoolwide Cluster Grouping for Gifted Students in Grades K-6
In the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model, gifted students are clustered into mixed-ability classrooms at each grade level. The cluster teachers have received training in understanding, planning for, and instructing gifted students. In this model, gifted students receive differentiated curriculum and instruction in all content areas on a daily basis.
Classroom compositions are carefully structured with two main goals:
- To ensure that there is a balance throughout the grade level
- 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 through enrichment, enhancement, and mild acceleration opportunities targeted to develop the following skills through learning in the content areas:
Critical and creative thinking
Gifted students receive instruction that is differentiated in content, process, product, learning environment, and assessment:
Content – Complex, abstract ideas presented in a variety of disciplines, including interdisciplinary curriculum
Process – Higher-level thinking through Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Multiple Intelligences
Products – Alternative methods of demonstrating mastery with a range of complexity
Learning environment – Student-centered, flexible grouping based on readiness, interests, and abilities
Assessments – Pre-assessment and testing out-of-grade level curriculum
Cluster teachers receive the following support from the onsite Gifted Specialist and the Gifted Program Mentor:
Professional development in gifted education
Planning and implementation of differentiated curriculum and instruction through monthly Gifted Cluster teacher meetings and during other staff development times.
Students qualify for gifted services via Gifted Cluster by obtaining a score at or above the 97th percentile in verbal, quantitative, and/or nonverbal areas.
Content Replacement with Gifted Specialists (Grades 4-6)
Students receive content replacement in lieu of the regular grade-level curriculum provided in their homeroom classes, and content enrichment in addition to instruction provided in the homeroom or gifted cluster class. The curriculum in these content areas is accelerated to an appropriately challenging level.
The Content Replacement Program
Gifted Specialists provide content replacement and content enrichment to gifted students in each elementary school for grades 4-6. Students receive enriched, enhanced, and accelerated instruction in mathematics and/or language arts, depending upon their area(s) of identification and needs.
Curriculum in these content areas is paced and accelerated to an appropriately challenging level.
In language arts, students:
Receive instruction through grammar and literature
Move beyond the regular language arts curriculum using advanced levels of analysis and critical thinking
In math, students:
Pursue topics such as probability, logic, statistics, algebra, and geometry
Participate in mathematical competitions
Develop advanced problem solving skills
Content Replacement classes may include:
Accelerated Mathematics with advanced problem-solving instruction
Michael Clay Thompson’s grammar and vocabulary instruction materials
Junior Great Books
Classic and contemporary literature: College of William and Mary ELA
Project-Based Learning (PBL)
Core knowledge integrated curriculum
Tasks developed with depth and complexity: Depth of Knowledge
Math Olympiad, Continental Math, and Noetic competitions
Students qualify for gifted services via Content Replacement by obtaining a score at or above the 97th percentile in verbal, quantitative, and/or nonverbal areas.
Comprehensive Gifted Self-Contained Kindergarten
The Comprehensive Gifted Self-Contained Kindergarten program is designed for high-achieving, highly and profoundly gifted students for whom advanced content is needed. Students work beyond grade level with intellectual peers and are taught by teachers who are Early Childhood Certified and hold a Gifted Endorsement, or are working towards a Gifted Endorsement.
Students in this specialized kindergarten also participate in the school’s special areas and are included in all grade-level activities and field trips.
- Accelerated curriculum
- Shared inquiry/Socratic questioning
- Problem-based learning
- Elements of reasoning
- Technology integration
- Emphasis on critical and creative thinking
- Core content/enrichment
Application Criteria for Self-Contained Gifted Kindergarten:
Applicants must meet one of the two following criteria.
- Gifted qualification at 97 percentile or higher in one of these areas: verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative.
- IQ of 128 or higher.
Transportation is not provided for those who are Open Enrolled.
Comprehensive Gifted Self-Contained Grades 1-6
The Comprehensive Gifted Self-Contained Program in Paradise Valley is designed for high-achieving, highly and profoundly gifted students for whom advanced content is needed. The program teaches students thoughtful, in-depth analysis in a problem-based interdisciplinary curriculum that cultivates habits of intellectualism. This balanced approach blends curriculum and individual student needs to prepare students for success at national levels.
Students in this program participate in daily special areas (art, music, and P.E.), lunch, and recess with other grade-level classes. Students also participate in grade-level activities and field trips.
The Gifted Program Mentor provides support and training for the Self-Contained Gifted Program teachers.
Application Criteria for Self-Contained Gifted Grades 1-6:
Applicants must meet one of the two following criteria, PLUS AASA results that meet or exceed grade-level standards (grades 4-6). AASA was formerly known as the AzMERIT.
- Gifted qualification at 97 percentile or higher in two areas, with a 90 percentile or higher in the third area; (verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative).
- IQ of 140 or higher.
Applicants that are current EL (English Learners):
EL applicants must meet one of the two following criteria, PLUS demonstrate accelerated learning needs that are two year beyond grade level, and have AASA results that meet or exceed grade-level standards (grades 4-6). AASA was formerly known as the AzMERIT.
- A score of 97 percentile or above on a Arizona State Board approved nonverbal ability test (preferably NNAT2), PLUS a score of 97 percentile or above in reading and mathematics on the Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Test administered one grade level ahead of the student's current grade level.
- IQ of 140 or higher.
Special consideration will be made for students with IEPs or 504s.
Transportation is not provided to students who are Open Enrolled.