Gifted Education

Reference: Minnesota Department of Education page

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

In Minnesota, the Pre-K–12 Gifted Education Programming Standards provide the basis for design and review of district and school site programming for gifted learners. They articulate student outcomes and evidence-based practices. View the standards on the National Association for Gifted Children website.

The Minnesota Scholars of Distinction program nurtures and recognizes distinguished achievement by highly motivated, self-directed students. Each specialty area was developed through partnerships of educators, the business community and others. Students may apply for Scholars of Distinction Awards in Leadership, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Theater Arts. For information about the criteria, timelines and application process for a 2012 award, visit the Scholars of Distinction page.

Acceleration is an intervention that moves students through an educational program at a more rapid rate than their age-peers. The goal of acceleration is to tailor the level and complexity of the curriculum to the ability and academic readiness of individual children.  The Institute for Research and Policy (IRPA) Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy contains an easy-to-use checklist to guide policy development. Visit the IRPA website.


Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.15 GIFTED and TALENTED STUDENTS PROGRAM (a) and (b), permit school districts and charter schools to identify students who are gifted and talented, develop and evaluate programs to serve them locally and provide staff development to ensure that they have access to challenging educational programs. The legislation also provides guidance for districts to adopt procedures for assessing and identifying students.

Section (c) directs school districts and charter schools to adopt procedures for the academic acceleration of gifted and talented students that include an assessment of students’ readiness and motivation for acceleration and a match between the curriculum and the students’ academic needs. (Districts may wish to implement policies that reflect gifted and talented best practices, consistent with Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.15.)

Gifted and talented revenue (Minnesota Statutes, section 126C.10 Subd. 2 (b)) provides school districts and charter schools with $12 times a district’s adjusted marginal cost pupil units (AMCPU). Uses of this revenue:

  1.  Identify gifted and talented students.
  2. Provide education programs for gifted and talented students.
  3. Provide staff development to prepare teachers to best meet the unique needs of gifted and talented students.