Michelle Wagner- Lead Gifted Teacher

Dawson County Gifted Program
The Dawson County Gifted Program is a K-12 program of study. Students in Kindergarten through 5th Grade will receive the equivalent of five 45-minute sessions or more of Gifted and Talented services each week through one of the following models: cluster grouping model, advanced content model, collaborative model, or resource model.


Our vision is to be an exemplary gifted program as we advocate for and meet the needs of each child in the Dawson County Gifted Program.


  • To determine appropriate learning environments and strategies for gifted learners.
  • To encourage innovation and exploration.
  • To regularly review services to determine current effectiveness, relevance and necessary modifications.
  • To make decisions for gifted learners based on data and research.
  • To consider the needs of the gifted learners as primary in making program decisions.
  • To address concerns at the source.
  • To encourage creativity, critical thinking, independent initiative and collaborative skills.


Dawson County School System Gifted Education Program Believes:

  • Gifted learners have the potential and/or demonstrated ability to learn, think and perform at levels, which are measurably higher than other learners of like age, experience, or environment.
  • Giftedness knows no boundaries of socio-economic class, gender, or race.
  • The education of gifted learners is a shared responsibility among students, family, school, community and society at large.
  • Association with gifted and talented peers, as well as learners of all ability levels, stimulates learning and contributes to affective development of gifted and talented learners.
  • Recognizing, developing and valuing gifts and talents decreases risk of social and emotional difficulties and/or academic underachievement, while challenging and rigorous activities enhance positive self-esteem and prepare them for future success.
  • Gifted and talented students need a rigorous, extensive, accelerated and/or compacted curriculum delivered in a creative, flexible and supportive instructional environment.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a gifted student? A gifted student is one who demonstrates a high degree of intellectual, creative and/or artistic ability(ies), possesses exceptional leadership skills, or excels in specific academic fields and who needs special instruction and/or special ancillary services to achieve at levels commensurate with his or her abilities.

When are students tested for gifted services? Dawson County students are tested during the Spring semester (March/April).

What should I do if I want to refer my child for gifted testing? Contact your child's homeroom teacher &/or Mrs. Wagner to receive the Parent Referral forms. These forms must be turned in by mid-January (for testing in March/April). As with any evaluation process, you will be asked to give permission for the evaluation to take place.

How do students qualify for gifted services? The "Multiple Criteria Rule" mandates that information be gathered in each of four categories: mental ability, achievement, creativity, and motivation. A student must meet criteria in any three of the four categories to qualify for gifted program placement, with at least one of the criteria being met by a score on a nationally-normed test, OR in the two areas of mental ability and achievement. Any test score used to establish eligibility should be current within two years.

What tests are used to qualify students for gifted services? The following tests or checklists are used in Dawson County for the purpose of evaluating students for the gifted program:

            Mental ability - CogAt - Cognitive Abilities Test

            Achievement - SAT9 - Stanford Achievement Test or ITBS - Iowa Test of Basic Skills, (MAP) Measures of Academic Progress Test

            Creativity - TTCT - Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (Figural Edition)

            Motivation – Hawthorne Motivation Scale or Product/Performance

            MAP Test- Measures of Academic Progress 

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