Gifted/Talented (GT) Program


The West Des Moines Gifted/Talented Program is a comprehensive K-12 program designed to identify and serve students who possess outstanding abilities, talents, and potential for high performance when compared with same-aged peers such that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Exceptional abilities or potential are present in all ethnic and cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in students with disabilities (i.e., twice-exceptional). Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of one or any combination of the following areas of giftedness: 

  • General Intellectual Ability
  • Specific Academic Ability in one or more core content areas
  • Creative Thinking Ability
  • Visual or Performing Arts Ability
  • Leadership


Gifted and talented learners in West Des Moines Community Schools will engage in meaningful learning experiences, exploring their passions and interests while becoming life-long learners who embrace our diverse and changing world.

Program Goals

  • Program Goal 1: The WDMCS Gifted/Talented Team will utilize multiple measures to identify gifted/talented learners and their varied needs.
  • Program Goal 2: The WDMCS Gifted/Talented Team will facilitate programming to meet the varied needs of gifted/talented learners.
  • Program Goal 3: The WDMCS Gifted/Talented Team will develop and facilitate professional learning opportunities for all staff focused on addressing the varied needs of advanced learners.

Student Standards and Outcomes

Student Standards and Outcomes were created to align with the following: National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) PreK-12 Gifted Programming Standards, Autonomous Learner Model Dimensions, Iowa Core Universal Constructs. These standards and outcomes provide a framework through which students identified to receive direct gifted/talented services engage in meaningful learning experiences when working with a Gifted/Talented Specialist.

Standard 1: In order to develop collaboration skills, the student will…

  • Develop ability to work effectively within a team to enhance productivity.
  • Develop social skills that enable students to build their interpersonal skills and ability to effectively relate to others in a variety of situations.
  • Manage and resolve conflicts.
  • Effectively participate in group discussions.

Standard 2: In order to develop complex communication skills, the student will…

  • Successfully share information through multiple means, including visual, digital, verbal, and nonverbal interactions.
  • Interact effectively with people of diverse backgrounds in a variety of settings.
  • Participate in meaningful and engaging interactions.
  • Accurately exchanges information and ideas which are appropriate, purposeful, clear, and concise.

Standard 3: In order to develop creative thinking, the student will…

  • Incorporate curiosity and innovation to generate new or original thoughts, interpretations, products, works, or techniques.
  • Frame critical issues to develop innovative responses.
  • Engage in abstract reasoning and divergent thinking.
  • Solve complex problems in original ways.

Standard 4: In order to develop critical thinking, the student will…

  • Challenge assumptions, engage in higher order thinking, develop new insights, and validate perceptions through thoughtful questions.
  • Analyze and synthesize multiple sources and points of information.
  • Engage in convergent thinking.
  • Employ problem-solving processes to identify and solve complex problems.

Standard 5: In order to develop their intrapersonal skills, the student will…

  • Form an accurate perception of their academic abilities, capabilities, and potential.
  • Demonstrate initiative, self-direction, and personal responsibility.
  • Demonstrate motivation and commitment to achieve.
  • Utilize metacognitive skills that foster independent and self-directed learning.
  • Respect the unique qualities of self and others.

Standard 6: In order to develop flexibility and adaptability, the student will…

  • Respond and adjust to situational needs; changing to meet the challenges of new roles, paradigms and environments.
  • Embrace change–expecting and accepting the emotions inherent to change.