Achieve Institute Information


    A “school within a school” opportunity for 27J students to receive 
    targeted  gifted and talented instruction.

    Kindergarten - 5th grade has self-contained GT classrooms
    Opened: Fall 2016
    Location: Pennock Elementary, 3707 Estrella St., Brighton

                                              OPENING FALL 2017 - 6th Grade GT Programming
                                                       Location: Vikan Middle School, 879 Jessup St.•Brighton, CO 80601
    Admission: All interested families will need to fill out an application for each child. Applicants who are 5 years of age by October 1, 2017 (or older) are eligible to apply. Students, in School District 27J, that are currently identified as gifted and talented are eligible for admissions without further testing upon district verification.

    Why is School District 27J launching this program?

    Gifted students learn differently. They learn at a rapid pace, delve deeply, and make countless connections among and between subjects and topics. They need an environment that offers curricula that matches their unique learning styles. Their curiosity, creativity, intensities, sensitivities, and advanced learning styles should be embraced and appreciated by their teachers and classmates. A classroom of cognitive peers, with teachers who understand and appreciate the needs of gifted learners, will allow these students to flourish intellectually, socially, and emotionally in a rigorous and engaging atmosphere.

    What will the middle school model look like?
     Students in Achieve Institute will have a blended programming model. They will have classes as Achieve Institute for Science and Social Studies; they will test to their level in Language Arts and Math (which may include grade acceleration for the subject area); and the students will have Electives with grade level peers. 
    What is a "school within a school" model?
    A “school within a school” allows for two types of programming (general education and gifted education) to operate on one campus. This option allows for the students at Achieve Institute to have a small learning community focused on gifted learners, but a large school community to have all education opportunities. Full campus opportunities will include special area classes, lunch and recess with grade level peers, school wide fundraising and family events.
    What is an integrated curriculum model?
    The integrated curriculum model (ICM) responds to gifted learners’ characteristics of precocity, intensity, and complexity through its three dimensions of advanced content, higher level of process and product development and interdisciplinary concepts and themes.This model allows for the students to dive deeper into science through literacy, it allows for students to explore math in science, it teaches writing through history – in essence it is all about connections for the learner.
    This model allows time for academic peers, cognitive peers and grade level peers.
    What are the different program components of Achieve Institute?

    PASSION Projects:

    Gifted learners have a passion to learn but many times it is about topics that are not being covered in class. At Achieve Institute time will be set aside to allow students to explore their own passion. The students will create their own inquiry based questions and explore the learning to find the answer.

    SOCIAL – EMOTIONAL development:

    The social emotional needs of the gifted learners are a critical part of their development. Topics will be addressed through literacy, discussions, and learning opportunities.

    Addressing the emotional components is key to helping our gifted learners truly understand themselves.

    How do admissions work?
    All interested families will need to fill out an application for each child. Applicants who are 5 years of age by October 1, 2016 (or older) are eligible to apply. Take time to look at the other pages to help understand the characteristics of gifted children.

    Students that are currently identified as gifted and talented are eligible for admissions without further testing upon district verification.
    What is the application process?
     Application Window (for new Achieve students only): Currently Enrolling
    How do I know if my child is gifted?

    SD27J will offer additional testing for students to qualify as gifted and talented. Cognitive and academic testing will be provided. Once an application is accepted more information will be offered to families after an application is received.

    More information will be sent to families upon receipt of the application.

    How do I find out more?
    For additional information, contact Sheri Collier, Instructional Specialist for Gifted and Talented at or Della Palacios, GT TOSA, at
    The GT office line is 303-655-2971 

    Achieve Institute Parent Meetings – Unanswered Questions from parent nights in January 2016:

    Will students in Achieve Institute receive IEPs or 504s?

    Students that currently have 504s and IEPs will continue to get the services decided by the team. Students will not automatically qualify for a 504 or IEP as part of Achieve Institute. All students will have an Advanced Learning Plan that will focus on their passion projects.

    Is there any other option for GT collaboration aside from my child switching schools?

    All services will remain the same in other schools. Each school has the autonomy to provide GT services as needed in the building.

    Will there be training for the middle school teachers starting next year or will that not start until the following year?

    Vikan Middle School started the training this year. The school is currently working in a clustered model so the gifted students are grouped together. This provides targeted coaching for each teacher. The Social Studies teachers took part in 3 full day trainings this year to learn about utilizing primary source documents and higher order questioning. The teachers have been trained on Document Based Questioning (DBQ). The GT budget provided trainers through the program for all 3 days.

    We will continue the trainings next year with the Vikan staff.

    Are there plans to carry something like this through high school?

    Currently we are planned through 8th grade. As the program grows we will continue to expand our programming.

    How do you measure your success?

    Success will be measured through our students. It is important to know that we will be working on more than academics, therefore we can not only utilize test scores to see our progress.

    The quality of work produced through their passion projects will be one indicator. The other indicator we will work on is the students ability to collaborate and understand their own needs and passions.

    Grade level advancement?

    The grade level advancement will continue to follow the district and state policy, as influenced by the Iowa Acceleration Scales.

    What age do they start passion projects?

    All students that are part of Achieve Institute will take part in passion projects.

    How is a supportive environment created for students?

    A supportive environment is created by communication and team work. We will start the school year with creating a classroom culture that focuses on understanding expectations, learning to work together and to support each other.

    The most imperative component will be the triangle of communication – Student – Parent – Teacher. If these three have open communication and the same focus then we will create a supportive environment for our students.

    How do you keep early finishers engaged?

    The first way is by pre-assessing and understanding the current levels for each student.

    The next is by providing choices for students in different ways they can work to meet the standard being addressed.

    Finally, the opportunity for all students to have their own passion projects to work on as well. This project will provide the students with the desire to learn.


    Transportation will be provided to any family that lives in the boundary of Pennock.

    We will work with transportation when our final classes are created to see if offering transportation is a viable option for other areas.

    If a student doesn’t qualify now, will they ever qualify?

    Every student performs at different levels based on their experiences and exposures. Students have the ability to reapply if further data has been collected to support the body of evidence. For example, all students are assessed in 2nd grade on the CogAT. If a student performs on that assessment within the state guidelines they can reapply with that new data piece. Another example would be if a family had an IQ test done with an outside tester, then the family could provide that piece of data as well.

    It is important to note that standardized assessments must have a minimum of 12 months in between reassessment. Therefore, if the student took the TEMA then they can not take that test again for 12 months.