Gifted Learning

Main Content

Gifted Programs

Vision & Goals

SUSD Gifted Programs provide challenging curriculum to gifted students through the use of differentiated instruction designed to best meet the academic and affective needs of the students. The gifted program is designed to teach students with meaningful learning experiences that foster an enriched and in-depth understanding of the core curriculum.  These best practices for gifted education guide and shape our gifted programs throughout the district. 

Program Vision:
Prepare SUSD students for a global and technologically advanced society.  Success requires advanced academic learning, appropriate social skills, emotional stability and ethical decision-making leadership. 

Program Goals:
Provide learning experiences that are responsive to the cognitive, creative and affective development of gifted students by applying education theory and research-based models of curriculum and instruction that are culturally relevant and designed to ensure specific student outcomes.

Gifted Pre-K

Gifted Pre-K Academy

SUSD Gifted Pre-K AcademyThe Gifted Pre-Kindergarten Academy is designed for identified young children who have superior verbal and quantitative abilities and talents. We provide an enriched environment that nurtures potential including musical instruments and a world language. The Gifted Pre-Kindergarten Academy will quicken the love of learning to last a lifetime.

Gifted Pre-K Academy FAQs

 How can my child be identified for the Gifted Pre-K Academy?

The Gifted Pre-K program is closed for the 2019-2020 school year.
Please check back in the future for 2020-2021 school year information.

There are multiple ways to determine if your child is eligible to join the Gifted Pre-K Academy.

  1. Testing to determine eligibility is available for a non-refundable fee of $120 at the Community Education Office at 8500 E. Jackrabbit Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85250 or through InTouch payment system Once you pay your testing fee, contact the Community Education office to schedule your child’s one-to-one test session at (480) 484-7932. All students must be 4 years old on or before August 31st. (SUSD reserves the right to determine what assessments will be used.)
  2. Licensed Psychologist reports using any age appropriate instrument identified on the ADE “State Approved Test List for the Identification of Gifted Students in Arizona” can be submitted for review to Generally, results such as the WPPSI, DAS, Stanford Binet or Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities are accepted in SUSD. Original psychologist reports must be submitted for review. For more information on how to submit reports, contact us at

 What is the selection process to be eligible for the Gifted Pre-K Academy?

  1. Provide test results indicating your child’s possible eligibility to the SUSD Gifted Office.
  2. If your child meets the entry requirements for acceptance into the Gifted Pre-K Academy, a letter will be sent by email. To accept your position you will then register for the class at the Community Ed office. It is a first come, first serve process. Call (480) 484-7900 for more information.
  3. Print your invitation letter and go to the Community Education Office to pay a non-refundable $75 registration fee and the first month’s tuition of $795 to accept your membership in the Gifted Pre-K Academy. The parent has two business days from the time the email is sent to pay. This completes the selection process. If after two days and the registration is not complete, then the membership may be offered to the next in line.
  4. Selection is based on multiple factors:
    1. Gifted and High Potential Indicators
    2. First Come First Serve
    3. Residence in-district SUSD boundaries and the SUSD Open Enrollment priorities
  5. Classes offered will be determined by the number of qualified candidates.
  6. Parents will be notified by email if their child is 1) fully accepted and invited, 2) probationary acceptance with a later possible follow-up invitation, or 3) does not qualify for Gifted Pre-K Academy and is eligible for the standard Community Education Pre-Kindergarten programs at your local schools.
  7. Wait Lists are determined by the factors mentioned above.

 What is unique about the Gifted Pre-K Academy compared to other preschools?

Scottsdale’s Gifted Pre-K Academy is designed to provide advanced and rigorous academic curriculum while sparking curiosity, igniting creativity and nurturing talent. Students have access to advanced materials in reading and mathematics based on individual student mastery levels. Curiosity is peaked with a unique exposure to world language and cultures. Creativity is supported in music, visual arts and physical skills providing a wide base of expression. Our Music Instrument Exploration is founded on regular and sequential skill development. The plasticity of the young brain is capitalized through early exposure to a world language and culture exploration.

  • Rigorous Academic Curriculum
  • Accelerated Curriculum for Language Arts and Mathematics
  • World Language and Culture
  • Musical Instrument Exploration
  • org
  • Kaplan’s Universal Theme of Exploration

 If I sign up preschool, will the fees transfer to Gifted Pre-K Academy?

Yes, the fees from Community Education Preschool will be transfered to the Gifted Pre-K Academy enrollment.

 Are there Information Meetings or Tours of Redfield and Kiva Elementary Schools?

  • The Redfield Cardinals offer tours every Wednesday from 9:00-10:00 am or by appointment. Specific Gifted Pre-Kindergarten Academy tours and meetings are posted on the school’s website. For more information go to Redfield’s website. Please call 480-484-4000 to RSVP for a tour.
  • The Kiva Cougars offer tours by appointment. Please call 480-4894-2200. For more information go to Kiva’s website.

 Who are the contacts for the Gifted Pre-K Academy program?

  • Community Education
    8500 E. Jackrabbit Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
    (480) 484-7932
    Melissa Tornquist, Student Support Coordinator
  • Gifted Learning and Acceleration Department
    8500 E. Jackrabbit Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
    (480) 484-5014
    Johanna Studnicka, Administrative Assistant
  • Kiva Elementary School
    6911 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
    (480) 484-2200
    Alice Spingola, Principal
  • Redfield Elementary School
    9181 E. Redfield Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
    Phone: (480) 484-4000
    Christine Bonow, Principal

Comprehensive Gifted Program

 Comprehensive Gifted Program (CGP) Information

The Comprehensive Gifted Program (CGP) is designed to provide highly gifted, elementary and middle school students, who possess advanced intellectual, academic, talent or creative capabilities with unique educational opportunities. The CGP program is founded on thematic interdisciplinary studies, academic rigor, critical and creative thinking. It is the goal of the CGP to provide a comprehensive program that is responsive to the unique academic, creative, social and emotional needs of the precocious gifted child.

Highly gifted students eligible to apply for CGP include submission of:

  • Cognitive abilities as indicated by one of the three below:
    1. Score in the 97th percentile or higher in two or more areas (verbal, quantitative or non-verbal) on a state-approved test such as the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
    2. Score 97th percentile or higher on the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT2)
    3. Demonstrate a Full-Scale IQ of 130 or higher on an Intelligence Test such as: Weschler Intelligence Scale V (WISC-V) or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test given by a licensed psychologist or on two or more areas (verbal, quantitative or non-verbal)
  • Advanced academic achievement measured by District or state assessments in both English Language Arts and Mathematics
  • Recent Report Card, if available.
  • Strong teacher recommendations as indicated by two teachers completing and submitting a gifted characteristic profile. This information is confidential and should be submitted directly to the Gifted Specialist in a sealed and signed envelope. Other factors may be considered such as Principal recommendations or other impact factors.
  • Handwritten Student Application letter requesting placement in the CGP. Optional for students in kindergarten. Address it to the CGP Admission Committee.
  • Parent explanation of reasons supporting CGP placement.

Work with your home school’s Gifted Enrichment Specialist to gather and complete the CGP components. The Specialist will submit the completed application to the District Gifted and Accelerated Learning department. All applications are considered based on a first come, first serve basis.

 How do we apply for the CGP?

  1. Contact your school’s Gifted Enrichment Specialist to discuss the particular learning needs of your gifted child.
  2. Gather the components of the CGP application: Application, 2 Teacher Profiles of Student, Report Card, Student Application Letter and Parent Explanation. If available, attach student standardized achievement data such as: AZ Merit or other state-level testing.
  3. All completed applications will be given full consideration.
  4. Click here to download the application for the CGP
If my child is accepted what do I do?
  1. If your child is accepted into the CGP, there are three categories of acceptance based on availability.
    1. Accepted into the CGP means that the student can be registered immediately into the program at the requested school. The family has 5 business days to register at the CGP school from the date of notification. Contact your present school to coordinate withdrawal and enrollment at the CGP school. If the family decides to refuse placement, please call the Gifted Department and release the position. The student’s name will be placed at the bottom of the waitlist if requested.
    2. Waitlist Accepted into the CGP means that the student qualifies for acceptance, but there are no seats available at the time. The student will be placed on a waitlist and will be contacted when an opening occurs.
    3. Reserve Accepted into CGP means the student will have the first available seat when the class is opened in the future. For example, a student is in second grade, applies, qualifies and is accepted, then defers placement until fourth grade. 
  2. If necessary, contact your home school’s registrar to withdraw. Take your letter to the CGP school registrar with student birth certificate, immunization records, proof of residence, parent/guardian photo id and the CGP Acceptance letter to immediately take the CGP seat.
  3. If you do not plan to accept the spot in the CGP classroom, then contact the gifted department to decline your spot. Go to to communicate your intentions.
Do I need to apply each year to continue in CGP?

No. Each spring you will have a chance to claim your position for the next grade level. Students will be automatically enrolled in the next level of CGP, unless the family opts-out of the program. For students moving from 5th grade Redfield, they will be automatically enrolled in the Desert Canyon Middle School CGP program. Students moving from 5th grade Hopi will automatically be enrolled in Ingleside Middle School.

Kiva Elementary School fifth grade students will automatically move to Mohave Middle School. If a family wants to move to a different school than is designated for sixth grade, the family should contact to make a request. Placement will be offered based on availability and teacher recommendation.

 Where are CGP schools located?

SUSD Comprehensive Gifted Programs (CGP) Schools
Limited Transportation Support is Available. For more information and to request transportation for your student, email a completed Transportation Request Form to

School Grades
Hopi Elementary School 4th - 5th
Kiva Elementary School 3rd - 5th
Redfield Elementary School Kdg - 5th
Desert Canyon Middle School 6th - 8th
Ingleside Middle School 6th - 8th
Mohave Middle School 6th - 8th

Click on the button below for the Comprehensive Gifted Program Application:
CGP Application


Gifted Program Testing Information

 Gifted Program Testing Information

Which gifted assessments are used?

The Scottsdale Unified School District uses the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Tests (NNAT2) as evaluation instruments for identifying students who are eligible for gifted education services.  Abilities measures are helpful for identifying children who may be gifted. These assessments are designed to be given only once in a calendar year. Students may test only once a school year.  SUSD offers testing in the Fall and Spring for grades K-1, 3-8.  In addition, all second graders are tested in the Winter. Specific dates are listed below. Other tests that SUSD will consider in the identification process are listed on the Arizona Department of Education's website. Gifted test data from other schools or licensed psychologists will be given full consideration for eligibility for SUSD gifted services. 

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is an assessment that consists of three batteries which measure three reasoning abilities: sequential reasoning, inductive reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The assessment of general reasoning abilities reflect the overall efficiency of cognitive processes and strategies that enable individuals to learn new tasks and solve problems, especially in the absence of direct instruction  (CogAT Form 6, A Short  Guide for Teachers, Riverside Publishing).

The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT2) is a brief, nonverbal measure of general ability.  The items presented to students are considered nonverbal because designs requiring spatial analysis are used and verbal knowledge and skills are not required.  The approach provides a reliable and valid evaluation of any student’s ability despite cultural or linguistic diversity.

When does testing occur?

Testing for gifted is offered multiple times a year: summer, fall, winter and spring, targeting different groups. Gifted Testing is used to identify students whose unique learning profile requires a specialized learning environment to reach their full potential. Results from an approved test on the ADE Test List from schools or private licensed psychologists are accepted. SUSD Gifted Department reserves the right to decline a request or offer a different test than was requested. 

Students not enrolled in a SUSD school may test for $120 testing fee. Results are only available by email. If a student enrolls in a SUSD school within 5 calendar days of the testing, the testing fee can be reimbursed upon written request to with proof of enrollment. Fees for Pre-K or future kindergarteners not enrolled in a SUSD school are non-refundable.

Parents will receive notification of specific testing dates for each site prior to the test administration. Notification of individual test results will be posted 30 days after the close of each testing window on Parent DataCentral or email or sent by US postal mail only by request at Students can be assessed only once per school year. 

SUSD provides testing once per school year per child. Once qualified for gifted, further testing is not required. Generally, parents may sign up for tests according to this schedule:

  • Pre-Kindergarten: one-on-one test determined by age of child when tested. Non-refundable fee of $120 must be paid to schedule a session. Bring a copy of birth certificate, proof of residence and check or money order for $120.
  • Future Kindergartener: Must be minimum of four years old at time of testing and will be five by September 1st: one-on-one testing on the NNAT2. A non-refundable fee of $120 must be paid to schedule a session, unless the child has a SUSD student ID from a SUSD preschool or has already enrolled for the next year. Bring a copy of birth certificate, proof of residence and check or money order for $120.
  • Present Kindergartener: Spring Testing on the CogAT only
  • First Grader: Fall or Spring: NNAT2
  • All Second Graders: Winter: automatically signed up for the CogAT 7.
    Click here to read how to opt-out of the testing.
    Click here to continue to Single Sign On
  • Third Graders: Fall: NNAT2 only or Spring: NNAT2 or CogAT
  • Fourth-Eighth Graders: Fall or Spring: depends on past test history.

For the 2019-2020 School Year, the District will be offering gifted testing during the following times:

Summer Gifted Testing
This testing is reserved only for newly enrolled students seeking qualification for the highly gifted program (CGP).  Parents will be notified of their test date, time and location after registering.
Grades 1, 3-8: July 18, 22 - 24, 2019
Registration Deadline: July 10, 2019
Late registration cannot be accepted.

Fall Gifted Testing

Grades 1, 3-8: September 12-19, 2019
Registration Deadline: August 28, 2019
Late registration cannot be accepted.​​​​​​​

Winter Gifted Testing: 2nd Grade Blanket Testing
All 2nd Graders: January 6 – 31, 2020
In order to best serve all of our Scottsdale students, we offer the Cognitive Abilities Test 7 to all students. All Second graders will automatically be tested at their home schools during these weeks. Registration is NOT required. Parents must complete the Opt-Out form if they do not want their child tested.

Testing Week


Jan 6 – 10






Jan 13  17






Jan 20  24






Jan 27 – 31


Echo Canyon


Copper Ridge

Desert Canyon

For more information, you can contact your child’s teacher or the gifted specialist at your school.

Informed consent documents will be sent to each family prior to testing. Only if you do not want your child tested, you can opt-out of the Winter 2nd Grade Testing by logging into Single Sign On using your child’s username and password. Then click on Parent Datacentral to complete the opt out process

Spring Gifted Testing
Grades Future Kindergarteners and K-1: April 27 - 30, 2020
Grades 3-8: May 4 - 8, 2020
Registration Deadline: April 10, 2020
Late registration cannot be accepted.

Pre-Kindergarten Testing

Testing to determine eligibility for the Gifted Pre-Kindergarten Academy (GPA) for 4-year-olds is offered throughout the Winter, Spring and Summer by appointment only. One-on-one testing is scheduled at the MDA 8500 E. Jackrabbit Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85250 or Redfield Elementary School. A non-refundable fee of $120 is required to receive your personalized testing ID number. Bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate, proof of residence and a check or cash or money order for $120. Testing takes approximately one hour. A parent or guardian is required to stay on the premises during testing. Testing provided is determined by the age of the child. GPA acceptance does not automatically qualify a student for school age gifted services.

Future Kindergarten Testing

Students slated to enter kindergarten as a five year old by September 1st, may test to determine eligibility for school age gifted services or entry into the Comprehensive Gifted Program (CGP). CGP Kindergarten is designed to meet the unique learning needs of highly gifted children. A student must be four years old at the time of testing and five by September 1st to take the NNAT2. A non-refundable fee of $120 must be paid to schedule a session, unless the child is enrolled in a SUSD pre-school or has already enrolled for kindergarten and has a SUSD Student ID number. To schedule an appointment, contact Community Education at (480) 484-7932. Bring a copy of the birth certificate and proof of residence to the testing session.

Click on the button below to register your child for testing:
Gifted Testing Request Form - Button


Comprehensive Gifted Tour

Gifted Services are available at all SUSD schools.
If you are interested in a tour and would like to learn more about a school’s gifted program, please contact the school office to find out its tour schedule.


Gifted Services

Karen Brown, M. Ed. 
Director of Gifted Learning Services

Aimee Sulit
District Gifted Enrichment Specialist

Parent Institute

Elementary Gifted Specialists

Click to Expand
  • Anasazi - Cathy Constantinescu
  • Cherokee - Karyn Rabe
  • Cheyenne Traditional - Andrea Dersch
  • Cochise - Nicole Fagan
  • Copper Ridge - Kim Vallejo
  • Desert Canyon Elementary - Nancy Laak
  • Echo Canyon - TBD
  • Hohokam - Kari Kurland
  • Hopi - Barbara Christensen
  • Kiva - Jennifer Liebhaber
  • Laguna - Stephanie Shamy
  • Navajo - Holly Whitten
  • Pima - Colleen Felix
  • Pueblo - Alicia Majercin
  • Redfield - Maria Harfouche
  • Sequoya - Suzanne Cahill
  • Tavan - Marilyn Williams
  • Tonalea - Laura Matera
  • Yavapai - Ashley Sorice

Middle School Gifted Coaches

Click here to Expand
  • Cheyenne: Regina Morgan
  • Cocopah: Mary Pasco
  • Copper Ridge: Linda Boepple
  • Desert Canyon: Julie Cieniawski
  • Ingleside: Stacey Greene & Brittany Kreisman
  • Mohave: Ann Waltz
  • Mountainside: Kate Hillman
  • Tonalea: Aimee Goodman

CGP Teachers

Click to Expand
List of CGP Teachers
CGP School Grade Teacher

Redfield ES

Gifted Pre-K Academy

Kristine Martinez



Adrianne Graziano



Mandy Graham



Deanne Baldwin



Brynn Sorrenson



Debbie Newman



Brooke Johnson




Desert Canyon MS

ELA 6-8

Teresa Caltabiano


Social Studies 6-8

Shannon Stapley


Science 6-8

Zachary Leinonen


Math (Determined by Tested Placement)

Pam Morfitt




Hopi ES


Alison Bunde



Debbie Voris




Ingleside MS

ELA 6-8

Stacey Greene


Social Studies 6-8

Brittany Kreisman


Science 6-8

D'Anne McDaniel

Kiva ES


Stacey Liddy


Mohave MS

ELA & Social Studies 6

Lisa Witt


ELA 7-8

Sally Jepson


Science Cluster 6

Janeva Mammina

  Science Cluster 7 Bert te Velde
  Science Cluster 8 Joel Tutnick

Teacher Gifted Endorsement