Gifted Education Program

Gifted Coordinators

Amy Bittel


Sally Makulinski

State of Gifted at Woodmore Elementary

Definition of Gifted as defined by the National Association of Gifted Children: “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains.”

NOTE: In schools, the term gifted recognizes exceptionality in aptitude or achievement that requires appropriately differentiated services in order for the student(s) to develop to their potential.


  • Currently at Woodmore, students in the 3rd Grade are selected for assessment based on current classroom performance, current test information (including IOWA tests and the STARS tests), as well as teacher and parent referrals.

  • Upon screening, students are assessed using a state approved assessment for superior cognitive ability using the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).

  • This assessment was chosen based on quality of test, cost of materials, time required for completion (about 2 hours), and ability to hand score.

  • In order to qualify, students need to earn a score of 128 or higher.

  • If a student’s results indicate a need for further assessment, a state approved assessments alternate assessment is administered.

  • The Stanford Achievement Test is used for specific academic identification for reading and/or math.

  • In order to qualify, students need to earn a score in the 95th percentile or above.

  • Students may also be assessed using state approved assessments, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) and Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement.

  • Testing for identification for 3rd Graders usually occurs in December or January.

  • Other students/other grades are assessed upon parent or teacher recommendation.

  • Once a student is identified, the student will remain identified regardless of new assessment results.


Currently at Woodmore Elementary, gifted services include the following with Mrs. Sally Makulinski serving as the Gifted Intervention Specialist:

  • Woodmore Elementary proudly serves students indentified students in Grades 3 – 5 as well as programs for Grades K-2.

  • This is the 14th full year for the elementary gifted program.

  • Kindergarten – 3rd Grade includes whole class activities using the P.E.T.S. program.

  • The P.E.T.S. program is an enrichment and diagnostic thinking skills program. Teaches students higher level thinking skills.

  • The emphasis is on creative/critical thinking and growth mindset (intelligence is malleable and it can change with hard work, perseverance and challenge).

  • In grade two, there is also a pull out program on Monday per teacher recommendation.

  • 3rd Grade – 5th Grades services include pull-out to resource room for identified students.

  • The pull-out program includes higher level thinking activities, problem-solving activities, and extension of grade-level standards for identified students.

  • Focus on critical and creative thinking skills and includes extension of classroom activities.

  • In the 5th grade, the gifted intervention specialist co-teaches English Language Arts (ability grouped) during 1st period. This class contains 28 students both identified and unidentified students.

  • Currently, the elementary gifted program serves 34 students: 3rd Grade-11 students; 4th Grade-9 students; 5th Grade-14 students.


  • Why spend money on a program that serves a small percentage of students at Woodmore?

  • The state does provide some funding for those who serve gifted students.

  • According to the NAGC, “developing and nurturing high performance supports the future prosperity of our nation, state, community and of individuals.”

  • Serving gifted is important as this is one of the areas currently assessed on the state report card.

What about Grade 6 – Grade 8? And Grade 9 – Grade 12?

  • Identified students in grades 6th-8th currently have the opportunity to take Enrichment (class period per day), which focuses on real world problems, utilizing higher level thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as service projects based on current community/school needs.

  • Gifted Intervention specialist, Mrs. Donna Katafias teaches identified students in these grades along with other teaching duties.

  • This is the second full year for the middle school gifted program.

  • Identified students at the high school level have options for advanced placement and college level courses.

Recently, new Operating Standards for students who are gifted was approved and will be ready to implement fall 2017. Some changes to the manner in which we approach the identification and service of gifted students will need to be addressed.