Minnesota Council for the Gifted & Talented

Connections. Advocacy. Resources. Equity. Support.

Gifted & Talented Education in Minnesota

Gifted & talented children and youth are those students with outstanding abilities, identified at preschool, elementary, and secondary levels. The potential of gifted & talented students requires educational programs and/or services beyond those provided in the general school program.  


In Minnesota, each school decides their own criteria for identifying gifted & talented students and the model they will use to serve those students. The Pre-K-12 Gifted Education Programming Standards provide the basis for design and review of most district and school site programming and services for gifted & talented learners by articulating student outcomes and evidence-based practices. 

Understanding Educational Options in MN

Full-time gifted & talented schools: 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.  For information about full time gifted & talented schools in MN visit our full-time gifted & talented schools list

Enrichment Programs: Many schools have an enrichment model of gifted & talented education, where students are provided opportunities to explore topics at greater depth or rigor, or beyond the regular curriculum. These enrichment activities are provided both in the regular classroom and in gifted & talented small groups. 

Non-traditional educational options: There are many nontraditional educational options available in MN ranging from substituting curriculum within your child’s school day to full-time home schooling. Find more information on the MN Dept. of Education website and/or connect with the MCGT CHOICES chapter. Members of the CHOICES chapter offer information, support, resources, and “been there, done that” stories to help you navigate the options. 

Online education: While not all of these have gifted programming specifically, the flexibility built into many of these programs provides opportunities for gifted kids to move at their own pace and pursue other interests. List of Minnesota Approved Online Learning Providers

Useful Resources

Information on the following websites can help you navigate the gifted & talented education path. They offer a variety of resource types that parents can use when learning about ways to meet their kids’ academic needs. Some also offer free activity and lesson plan materials. 

NAGC Gifted Education Strategies

Mensa Gifted Youth Resources

MN Department of Education Gifted Education Resources

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted Resources

Minnesota Educators for the Gifted and Talented