The Gifted Education Program provides appropriate instruction for eligible students by delivering effective and innovative strategies beyond the basic curriculum. The program is designed to challenge and empower students to produce quality work and to become productive citizens while protecting and nurturing their unique characteristics.

Program Identification
The State of Florida defines a gifted student as “one who has superior intellectual development and is capable of high performance.” Schools have an obligation to identify and provide services for gifted students. A student may be referred for screening for gifted by a parent/guardian, a teacher or other staff member, the student themselves or any other individual with knowledge of the student.

Palm Beach County School District currently universally screens second-grade students for gifted with the CogAT in 33 schools.

Eligibility Criteria Definition
Students are eligible for the Gifted Education Program through Plan A if they meet the following criteria:

  • A need for the program as demonstrated by evidence of a majority of characteristics of gifted students as scored on a District Checklist; and
  • A score of 130 or higher on an individually administered Intelligence Quotient (IQ) Test.
Students qualify under Plan B if they meet the Eligibility Requirements as outlined in the SP&P, “District Plan B for Underrepresented Populations.” Underrepresented Populations are defined as low socioeconomic status students that qualify for free or reduced lunch, or defined as English Language Learners (ELL).  

If you believe that a student meets the above criteria for Plan A or Plan B eligibility, the parent, guardian, or teacher should contact the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Contact at the homeschool to refer the child for screening and evaluation. If gifted services are not available at the homeschool, students eligible for the gifted program are transported to the assigned gifted center. Schools serving gifted students are listed on the Feeder Patterns, which are listed below.

Characteristics of the Gifted Student
Gifted children typically display some, but not all, of the following characteristics: 

  • Uses an enriched vocabulary
  • Asks many thought-provoking questions
  • Expresses unusual ideas
  • Has a wide range of interests
  • Uses complex sentences
  • Acts independently
  • Displays curiosity
  • Possesses leadership qualities
  • Functions at a high energy level
  • Has long attention span in areas of interest
  • Reads at an early age
  • Understands the concept of time
  • Engages in self-directed activities
  • Is sensitive to feelings of others
  • Has a keen sense of humor
  • Is able to conceptualize
  • Learn skills rapidly and without repetition
  • Retains and uses information effectively
  • Wants to know what makes things “tick”
  • Enjoys learning
  • Reasons well
  • Is a perfectionist
  • Prefers older companions or adults
  • Has facility with numbers

Program Options

Elementary Schools
Elementary gifted students are offered a range of programs from part-time to full-time. These programs, strategically located throughout the district, are provided through the Resource Room Model or The Gifted Center Model. If the home school does not have a Gifted Program, students are transferred to the home school ’s receiving Gifted Center. Students at schools with Part-time Gifted Programs are given the option of remaining at the home school or being transferred to the home school’s receiving Gifted Center.

Middle Schools
Middle School students may choose appropriate gifted education courses from those available at their home schools. If the home school does not provide gifted services, the students are transferred to the gifted Middle School Center that is geographically closest to their home.

High Schools
High Schools offer a number of options for high-ability students. Gifted education classes vary among schools. Advanced Placement and Honor Level classes are also available throughout the county. Magnet programs such as International Baccalaureate, Math-Science-Engineering, Pre-Medicine and Allied Health, Pre-Law and Teacher Academy are also available. The rigor of some of these programs presents educational opportunities for the gifted learner. 

Curriculum and Instruction
Students identified as being eligible to receive gifted services each have an Educational Plan (EP) that is developed to foster both their strengths and areas of need.  This plan is developed at the conclusion of the consent for eligibility meeting, with the parent, teacher of the gifted, and ESE contact, and is updated to reflect the successful completion of goals or to express the need for continued support in specific areas.  Goals may include both academic and social and emotional objectives for the gifted student.  

To provide appropriate and challenging educational experiences for gifted students, differentiation of instruction is implemented.
Differentiation may include:

  • in-depth study
  • a high degree of complexity
  • advanced content
  • variety in content, process, and student products
  • Varying the pace of instruction

A qualitatively, differentiated curriculum for gifted students consists of carefully planned, coordinated, learning experiences that meet the specific learning needs of the student. Appropriate differentiation allows for an increase in difficulty and depth in the level of abstraction and complexity of the curriculum, responding to the learner’s needs.
Curriculum Compacting 
Curriculum compacting is used continually to negate repetition of material already known and understood by the student.
Acceleration is also implemented, on an individual basis, when necessary to meet the needs of a gifted learner.


District Gifted Personnel

Tara Baruch, M.Ed. - K-12 Accelerated Program Planner
(561) 434-8638
[email protected]

Tracy Roiger, M.Ed. - K-8 Accelerated Specialist
[email protected]org

Theresa Thomas, M.Ed. - Gifted Instructional Specialist
(561) 434-8734
[email protected]

Eva Cwynar, PhD, Manager, K-12 Mathematics, Science, STEM, & Accelerated Learning
(561) 432-6380
[email protected]

Exceptional Student Education Regional Coordinators

Central: Theresa Padro-Morel
(561) 868-5301
[email protected]

Glades: Amy Brown
(561) 996-4902
[email protected]

North: Shaquira Young
(561) 494-1500
[email protected]

South: Kelley Fisher
(561) 731-2879
[email protected]

The School District of Palm Beach County