Full time gifted & talented school programs


These are schools focused on serving the needs of advanced learners. Each school has its own model that determines curriculum and instruction, grades served, and admissions criteria. Some are self-contained schools, where the whole school is designed for gifted & talented students. Some are a school within a school, which are public schools that have been divided into smaller subunits, within one building. Each program approaches this differently, but typically the gifted & talented students are integrated with other students for classes like music, art, lunch or recess.

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. 


District/Location: Anoka-Hennepin

Grades Served: 3-5

Program Name(s): Nebula

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Based on local data, CogAT, MAP, and MCA (98-99%)

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: The Nebula school-within-a-school program is designed for gifted and talented students in grades 3-5 who have demonstrated exceptional academic performance. The goal of this specially designed program is to provide advanced students with differentiated learning experiences that foster curiosity, exploration, and academic growth.

Anoka-Hennepin Website

District/Location: Arete Academy, St. Louis Park

Grades Served: 5-12

Type of Program: Private, Self-Contained

Admission Requirements: Students should present a 2e profile, whether or not that has been named explicitly in an evaluation. This profile is typically visible through report and reference interpretation.

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Small classes and specialized courses to develop strengths and talents.

2e Accommodations in Program: Strengths-based programming, small class sizes, many accommodations for ADHD, anxiety, dyslexia, etc.

Arete Academy Website

District/Location: Austin Public Schools

Grades Served: 1-6

Program Name(s): Pi Academy

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Students qualify based on academic and ability testing. Students must score at the highest levels in reading, math and Cogat.

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Students receive instruction that is subject accelerated in reading and math. Teachers adjust depth, complexity, and pacing to meet the needs of the students they serve.

2e Accommodations in Program: All accommodations that are noted in IEP or 504 plans are provided to ensure all students receive the supports they need to be successful.

Austin Schools Website

District/Location: Bloomington Public Schools

Program Name(s): Elements (2-3), Dimensions Academy (4-8), Nobel (6-12), Dimensions Academy High School Stem and Humanities (9-12)

Grades Served: 2-12

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Varied – 90% Reading and MAP + CogAT (Elements), 95% Reading and Math + CogAT (DA 4-8), 85%+ Reading and Torrance Test of Creativity (Nobel), 98% Reading, Math, college level ACT scores (DAHS STEM and Humanities) 

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Bloomington Public schools offers a variety of pathways for gifted learners. These range from a Humanities based talent development program that focuses on growing creativity to rigorous accelerated programs that focus on research, and finally college level courses for high schoolers.  

2e Accommodations in Program: Many of our teachers have an advanced degree or GT certification. Ongoing PD is conducted with 2e learners often a focus. 

Bloomington Gifted and Talented Website

District/Location: Brainerd ISD 181

Program Name(s): Brainerd AGATE Academy

Grades Served: 1-4

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Full Description of Identification Process

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: 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. 

2e Accommodations in Program: Communication of accommodations, with or without an IEP, for any student will be between the teacher, parent, administration, interventionists, and/or special education staff and will be ongoing. Accommodations are closely monitored and adjusted to maintain successful educational outcomes.    

Brainerd AGATE Academy Website

District/Location: Buffalo Hanover Montrose

Program Name(s): Quest

Grades Served: 2-9

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Families must make a request for their child to be assessed for the Quest program. Test scores from the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) are used to make placement decisions, as well as other information. Students who are considered for placement should score in the mid-90th percentiles on the MAP and CogAT tests. Parents and teachers submit information on students to help guide the team in making placement decisions for the program. BHM School District resident and non-resident students are welcome to apply. All qualified students participate tuition free.

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: The program covers the core areas of English, mathematics, science and social studies within a full-time, elementary classroom for students in grades 2-5, and at the middle and high school level in grades 6-9. The curriculum is accelerated in mathematics and science, with students studying content above grade level. It is also highly enriched in language arts and social studies.

2e Accommodations in Program: Accommodations included in IEP or 504 plans are used in planning for placement to ensure all students are receiving the support to be successful. 

BHM Schools Quest Website

District/Location: Saint Paul Public Schools

Program Name(s): Capitol Hill Gifted & Talented Magnet School

Grades Served: 1-8

Type of Program: Public, Self-Contained

Admission Requirements: Admission requirements: Identification of gifted and talented through the CogAT7, portfolio assessment, or prior (outside) identification or assessment

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Capitol Hill Gifted & Talented Magnet is an elementary and middle school with a focus on providing extensive differentiation in all subjects, an incorporation of project-based and independent choice learning, and an emphasis on instruction of social-emotional needs of the gifted and talented individual. We provide many different types of individualized and choice opportunities, including ability-based math acceleration, our SEM-R (Schoolwide Enrichment Model-Reading) Reading program, band/orchestra opportunities for elementary and middle students, and enrichment groups and programs, including Mathmasters and Lego League.

2e Accommodations in Program: Our teachers are experienced and skilled with providing differentiation and gifted education, and many even have a 2e training certificate to meet the needs of our 2e and/or 3e learners. Our teachers, support staff, and counseling program help to support the social and emotional needs of students unidentified but in need of support.

Capitol Hill Website

District/Location: Centennial School District 12

Program Name(s): Odyssey

Grades Served: 3-5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Students that have a CogAT score of 97 percentile or higher in 3 or more areas or have an overall SAS of 130.

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: The goal of Odyssey programming is to meet the academic and social/emotional needs of children who are highly gifted.

2e Accommodations in Program: 2E students in Odyssey have access to all supports they need including a SpEd teacher, speech pathologist, OT, and/or psychologist, as well as knowledgeable classroom teachers that understand gifted students and differentiate to meet individual student needs.

Centennial District 12 Website

District/Location: Cyprus Classical Academy, 
196/190 Cobblestone Lane, Burnsville, MN  55337

Grades Served: PK-8

Type of Program: Private, Self-Contained

Admission Requirements: Gifted

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Cyprus is a full-time, ability-based PK-8 school where students are placed into small ability-based classes in each subject with no limit to acceleration, including into college levels. Students work in classes at their pace and level with other students near their age and ability level and gifted teachers who understand the social-emotional development of gifted learners.

2e Accommodations in Program: Cyprus makes accommodations for homework, handwriting, and other accommodations that do not affect the learning pace of other students or the class.

Cyprus Classical Academy Website

District/Location: Eden Prairie, MN  District 272

Program Name(s): Mosaic

Grades Served: 3-5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Achievement scores–currently one core subject at 98-99%tile with the second core subject in the 85%tile or higher. Cognitive assessment with at least 2 subtests in the 98-99%tile

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: The Mosaic program provides students opportunities to go deeper with grade level content, incorporate more project-based learning, and highlight their passions through independent learning choices all while learning with their intellectual peers. We currently subject accelerate the students in math and provide problem solving opportunities designed specifically with gifted learners in mind. 

2e Accommodations in Program: Our teachers in the Mosaic Program acknowledge and focus on the student’s exceptional abilities while simultaneously providing appropriate accommodations and modifications where needed.  

Eden Prairie Mosaic Website

District/Location: Exploration High School, Minneapolis, MN

Grades Served: 9-11 (in 2022-23)

Type of Program: Public, Self-Contained

Admission Requirements: None

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Personalized Learning Plans

2e Accommodations in Program: Personalized Learning Plans

Exploration High School Website

District/Location: ISD 199/Inver Grove Heights

Program Name(s): Atheneum Gifted Magnet School

Grades Served: 2-5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: 95th% on MAP Reading, MAP Math, and CogAT and/or WISC Gifted

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Our program meets the needs of advanced learners by providing an accelerated curriculum as well as opportunities to go deeper into learning through enrichment.  We also help meet the social emotional needs of our students through the Ashoka school community that Atheneum is a part of.

2e Accommodations in Program: Many Atheneum teachers have years of experience and/or training in gifted education, and some even have a certificate in providing for the needs of 2E students. Teachers are often flexible and help to provide the accommodations students need through flexible seating, fidgets, breaks, and in many other ways.

Inver Grove Heights Atheneum Website

District/Location: Lakeville Area Schools

Program Name(s): Ignite! Challenge & Choice

Grades Served: 3, 4, 5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: 99th percentile ability score, 99th percentile math achievement score, & 99th percentile reading achievement score

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Ignite! is a unique full-time gifted program that combines a challenging core curriculum with flexible choice offerings to provide highly gifted children the opportunity to ignite their passion for learning. Our program utilizes research-based curriculum and approaches that are customized for gifted learners, and supports executive functioning, as well as social-emotional well-being. 

2e Accommodations in Program: We work closely with special education staff to provide the supports 2E learners need in order to be successful with the Ignite! curriculum

Ignite! Website

District/Location: Math and Science Academy (MSA), Woodbury, MN

Grades Served: 6-12

Type of Program: Public, self-contained

Admission Requirements: 

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: 

2e Accommodations in Program: 

MSA Website

District/Location: Minnetonka Public Schools

Program Name(s): Navigator

Grades Served: 2-5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Exceptionally gifted students with Full Scale or General Abilities Index of 140 or higher  

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: The Navigator program provides a specialized learning environment which capitalizes on the unique intellectual strengths and vast interests of its learners. Its meaningful, rigorous, and differentiated curriculum leads to whole-child growth as students learn about themselves and the world in the context of a robust social/emotional gifted curriculum.

2e Accommodations in Program: Navigator integrates Social Thinking, Habits of Mind, and Executive Functioning Skills work throughout the school day. These programs provide a common language and set of learned skills for students to apply in school and beyond.

Navigator Program Website

District/Location: Prior Lake Savage Area Schools

Program Name(s): SAGE Academy

Grades Served: 3, 4, 5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: 

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: 

2e Accommodations in Program: 

SAGE Academy Website

District/Location: Rochester Public Schools, Rochester, MN

Program Name(s): Elementary Services

Grades Served: 1-5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

AdmissionRequirements:  Rochester gifted services info  Click on Elementary school and then Identification

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Primary Education Thinking Skills taught in all classrooms for grades 1 and 2. Elementary gifted services for identified students in grades 3-5

2e Accommodations in Program: Staff work together to support individual student learning needs

District/Location: Rochester Public Schools, Rochester, MN

Program Name(s): Highly Gifted Program, available at students’ attendance area schools

Grades Served: 6, 7, 8

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Rochester gifted services info Click on Middle School and Entrance to the Program

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Students spend about half their day in advanced courses with academic peers and half the day with grade-level peers in exploratory courses.

2e Accommodations in Program: Staff work together to accommodate students’ individual needs.

District/Location: Rochester Public Schools, Rochester, MN

Program Name(s): Middle School Honors and Honors Option Classes; RAMP (Rochester Accelerated Math Program)

Grades Served: Honors classes: grades 7-8.  RAMP: Grades 6-8

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Self-selection for honors and single-accelerated math at grade 6. Double acceleration or higher for identified students.

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: Honors classes and accelerated math classes provide additional depth and challenge to students.

2e Accommodations in Program: Staff work together to accommodate individual student needs.

Rochester Schools Gifted Services Website

District/Location:  South Washington County Schools 

Program Name(s): Gateway Program

Grades Served: 3-5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Identification for Advanced Academic Services in the SoWashCo schools through ability and achievement data

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: The Gateway Program is a level 4 program that serves identified gifted learners using a cohort model with curriculum featuring increased depth, complexity and pacing as the primary lens for designing instruction. Gateway immerses students in an intellectually challenging community that encourages academic risk-taking to develop students’ academic potential and supports their social and emotional needs as learners. 

2e Accommodations in Program: Yes

South Washington County Schools Website

District/Location:  Spring Lake Park Schools

Program Name(s): Lighthouse School

Grades Served: 1-12

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: We look at IQ or ability scores, achievement scores, along with a portfolio and student interview

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: The Lighthouse is a school for gifted and insatiable learners aligned around: inquiry-based, complex learning, self-direction and collaboration with intellectual peers under the guidance of a nurturing staff providing high expectations, choice and challenge and fostering personalized experiences so that each student feels valued, inspired, challenged, and has a sense of belonging resulting in innovative and successful participation in future academic, life and career endeavors.

2e Accommodations in Program: Along with our facilitators meeting accommodations throughout the day, student needs may also be met by our Special Education teacher, Speech Pathologist, or Social worker. 

Lighthouse Website

District/Location:  Stillwater Area Public Schools

Program Name(s): GATE

Grades Served: 4-5

Type of Program: Public, School within a School

Admission Requirements: Eligibility may include but not be limited to, as space allows:  Cognitive (general intellectual) Ability tests, Achievement tests, Teacher recommendation/input

2 Sentence Description of how you serve advanced learners: GATE provides students with a challenging instructional program which meets and exceeds the district’s academic standards. Differentiation in the depth, breadth, and pace of instruction with an emphasis on higher level thinking skills is utilized to meet the needs of advanced learners. 

Stillwater Area Public Schools Website