Full time gifted school programs

Please note that MCGT does not endorse any of these programs. Parents are encouraged to talk directly with the administrator of the program to determine the fit between your child’s needs and the specific program. Many of these programs provide tours and allow students and parents to sit in on classes. In addition, MCGT members are reminded to make use of the MCGT members-only Facebook group as a source of information from other MCGT members who have personal knowledge of these programs.


1. Capitol Hill Magnet School (St. Paul) – Full-time program for academically gifted and talented students in grades 1-8. Housed in its own building. Admission to grades 1-6 based on gifted/talented status, with admission to grades 7-8 through open enrollment. Originally began as Nova in 1978, moved and renamed J.J. Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School in 1985, and in 1991 moved again and renamed Capitol Hill. 

2. Brainerd Enrichment Program (Brainerd) – School-within-a-school model at Lowell Elementary School for grades 1-4 (5th grade is included in their middle school), followed by intensive (honors and advanced) courses at the middle school level in all academic subjects. Program originated in mid 1970’s. 

3. Atheneum (Inver Grove Heights) – For grades 2-5, located in Salem Hills Elementary, started in 2002. At the middle school level, gifted students attend honors classes in all academic subjects. 

4. Lighthouse Program (Spring Lake Park) – Program began 2003. Located at the Spring Lake Park School 4 District Facility. Children as young as age 6 may be admitted. This program is unique, with non-graded, multi-aged grouping. 

5. Dimensions Academy and Elements (Bloomington) – Dimensions, grades 4-5, began in 2004. Elements, grades 2-3, started in 2009/10. At the middle school level, grades 6-8, students are placed on a team and take the four core courses as a class, with teachers teaching “the Dimensions Academy curriculum.” 

6. Gateway (Woodbury) – For highly gifted students with exceptional abilities in grades 3-5 at Valley Crossings Elementary, started 2006/07. 

7. Middle School Highly Gifted & Elementary FT GT Program (Rochester) – Middle school program, grades 6-8, began 2007/08. Will be expanding their FT GT program to elementary students (grades 3-5) in 2011/12.

8. GATE (Stillwater) – Highly gifted learners in grades 4-6, located at Stillwater Middle School, started 2008/09. 

9. Harriet Bishop Gifted and Talented Elementary and Eagle Ridge Jr. High Gifted and Talented Program (Burnsville/Eagan/Savage) – Gifted magnet schools for grades K-6 and grades 7-8 respectively (not a school-within-a-school program), started 2009/10. 

10. SAGE Academy (Prior Lake/Savage) – grades 3-5, housed at WestWood Elementary, started 2009/10. 

11. Navigator Program (Minnetonka) – grades 2-5, highly gifted program for students with an IQ of 145 and over. Located in Excelsior and Scenic Heights Elementary Schools. Started 2009/10.  

12. Quest Program (Buffalo/Hanover/Melrose) – Opened 2010-11.  The Quest program is a tuition-free school within a school located at Parkside Elementary (grades 2-5, full time/multi-aged), Buffalo Community Middle School (grades 6-8), and at Buffalo High School (grade 9). Students in grades 10-12 participate in over 25 college credit earning courses. Siblings of students in the elementary program may choose to open-enroll at Parkside as well.

13. Ignite! (Lakeville) – Opening 2011/12, full-time gifted program for highly gifted learners in grades 3-5.

14. Mosaic (Eden Prairie) Eden Prairie Schools strives to ensure that each student reaches his/her full potential by working to meet the unique educational needs of every student. We offer a full-day gifted program for grades 3 through 6 called Mosaic, which provides challenging curriculum at an accelerated pace while meeting the unique academic and social/emotional needs of highly gifted learners in a supportive educational environment. 

15. Odyssey (Blaine, Centerville, Centennial, Lino Lakes, Lexington and Circle Pines) Odyssey full-time gifted programming (a school-within-a- school) began in the Centennial School District in 2014. The classrooms for grades 3, 4 and 5 are located at Rice Lake Elementary School. Programming at Centennial Middle School began for grade 6 in the fall of 2016 and expands to grade 7 in 2017 and grade 8 in 2018. 

16. Nebula-Where Stars are Born!  Anoka-Hennepin School District #11 (Coon Rapids) Anoka-Hennepin’s school within a school gifted program began at Eisenhower Elementary School in the fall of 2019. The program is for extremely high performing 3rd – 5th grade students, who are in need of a more challenging education. Currently accepting outside registrations for students meeting qualifying criteria.

17. Exploration High School (Minneapolis) Project-based learning, worked-based learning, youth voice and leadership, experiential learning, and community involvement. Opening in the fall of 2021 with 9th and 10th grades (will expand to 9th-12th). 


1. Arete Academy (St. Louis Park) – Arete Academy of Exceptional Education is committed to partnering with parents to educate and support Twice-exceptional students – gifted students who also have learning disabilities – so they can learn the academic, social and emotional skills needed to overcome their disabilities, reach their full potential and apply their gifts to make lasting contributions to the world. 

2. Cyprus Classical Academy (Burnsville) – Provides customized education for ages 4-11 by placing children in small classes with peers of similar age, ability, and achievement levels.