Gifted Learning

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Gifted Learning

Program Expansion

SUSD Gifted is excited to announce

Expansion of Gifted Services

 2020-21 school year


Don't miss out on a CGP Tour



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

 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

Cluster Grouping

Cluster Grouping Model

In The Cluster Grouping Model, gifted students are clustered into a mixed-ability classrooms at each grade level. The teacher is trained in understanding, planning for, and instructing gifted students. Gifted Specialists assist cluster teachers with scheduling, provide professional development in gifted education, and facilitate with the planning and implementation of differentiated curriculum. In this model, gifted students receive differentiated curriculum and instruction in all content areas on a daily basis.

Classroom compositions are carefully structured with two main goals: to ensure that there is a balance throughout the grade level, and to reduce the learning range found in any given classroom. This system provides opportunities for teachers to more readily respond to the needs of all their students.

Gifted cluster teachers plan appropriately challenging instruction for their gifted students. This may involve acceleration, enrichment, and various extended learning opportunities targeted to develop the following skills through learning in the content areas:

  • Logical thinking
  • Reasoning skills
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Problem-solving

Gifted students receive instruction that is differentiated in content, process, product, learning environment and assessment:

  1. Content — Complex, abstract ideas presented in a variety of disciplines, including interdisciplinary curriculum
  2. Process — Higher-level thinking through Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Multiple Intelligences
  3. Products — Alternative methods of demonstrating mastery with a range of complexity
  4. Learning environment — Student-centered, flexible grouping based on readiness, interests, and abilities
  5. Assessment — Pre-assessment and testing out-of-grade level curriculum

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.

PACT Enrichment/Accelerated Math

PACT Enrichment/Accelerated Math (AM)

Content enrichment is offered to gifted students in each elementary school. Students receive Accelerated Mathematics (AM) instruction in grades 3-5.  Additional enrichments and integrated learning opportunities are provided across the grade levels.  Curriculum in these classes offers both acceleration and enrichment to provide an appropriately challenging level of educational rigor.  SUSD gifted specialists are state certified and have specific certification and training to work with gifted students.  Gifted Enrichment Coach, Aimee Sulit provides support to cluster teachers and gifted specialists.  Enrichment during classes may include:

  • Socratic Seminars
  • Junior Great Books
  • Classic and Contemporary literature
  • Project Based Learning
  • Core Knowledge integrated curriculum
  • Advanced problem-solving instruction
  • Math Olympiad & Continental Math competitions
  • Grammar and vocabulary instruction using the work of Michael Clay Thompson
  • As well as extensive thematic units developed by teachers in the district

Comprehensive Gifted Program

Comprehensive Gifted Program Registration


Applications for 1st-8th grade will be accepted beginning Oct. 7, 2019


Complete applications may be submitted to the gifted department in person or via email. Applications will be reviewed at the end of each month. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.


The first month of applications, October 7-November 4, is for application to the program for your home school only. All other applications will be held until the second month for review.

 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.

The SUSD CGP serves high achieving, highly gifted students in grades 1-8. Students qualifying for this program must have:

  • Scores (on a state-approved gifted test) of 97%+ in two of the three areas: verbal, quantitative, and/or nonverbal area(s), with the third score being 90 or higher, OR
  • A composite of the three scores equaling 284 or higher, OR
  • IQ of 135+


  • Demonstrate accelerated learning needs that are significantly beyond grade level
  • AzMerit or standardized test results that meet or exceed grade-level standards 

Special consideration will be made for ELL students and those with IEPs and 504s

CGP Kindergarten
CGP kindergarten classes are designed for high-achieving gifted students. Students work beyond grade level with intellectual peers and are taught by teachers who are Early Childhood Certified and hold a Gifted Endorsement. 

To qualify for the Comprehensive Gifted Program, students must have an IQ of 128 or higher or gifted test scores of 97 or higher in one of these three areas: verbal, quantitative, and/or non-verbal. 

  • Accelerated curriculum
  • Shared inquiry/Socratic questioning
  • Problem-based learning
  • Elements of reasoning
  • Technology integration
  • Emphasis on critical and creative thinking
  • Individualization
  • Core content/enrichment

Gifted kindergartners are also served in the Gifted Cluster classes.

 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, Teacher recommendation, Report Card, Student Responses, Parent Contract. 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.
a. Accepted into the CGP means that the student can be registered immediately into the program at the      requested school. 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.

b. 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.

2. If necessary, contact your home school’s registrar to withdraw. Take your CGP letter to the CGP school registrar with student birth certificate, immunization records, proof of residence, parent/guardian photo id to take the CGP seat.

Application Notes:
⦁    Applications for the 2019-2020 CGP for grades K-8 will be accepted through the 1st semester.  
⦁    Comprehensive Gifted Program for grades K-8 applications accepted each month and are reviewed the first Wednesday of the following month.
⦁    All parent notifications are by mail.
⦁    Students enrolled in the 1st-7th grade CGP who successfully complete the school year are automatically enrolled in the next year.  

 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 Grades 1-8 Comprehensive Gifted Program Application:
Website CGP App Button.PNG
Spanish applications available.  Please email

Click on the button below for the Kindergarten Comprehensive Gifted Program Application:
CGP Application Grades 1-8

Spanish applications available.  Please email

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. Please refer to the outside testing protocol shared below. Results from an approved test on the ADE Test List from schools or private licensed psychologist on the approved provider list are accepted. SUSD Gifted Department reserves the right to decline a request or offer a different test than was requested. 

For parents whose children were tested by a provider who is not on our approved list of providers:

  1. If a student has been tested by an outside provider who has not been previously approved by the Gifted Department, the parent may submit the scores to the gifted department for consideration. 
  2. The Gifted Department will review the report to verify the qualifications of the provider, the validity of the testing conducted and its acceptance of the test scores. If verified, the Department will accept the report in addition to the District’s list of approved providers.
  3. The Gifted Department reserves the right to deny approval of an outside provider’s evaluation results or to otherwise require corroboration of the validity of test scores received as follows:
    1. If a Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) has not been administered within 12 months, the child will be tested by the district within three weeks at no cost using the test.
    2. If a CogAT has been used within the last 12 months, the student must wait to become eligible to test using the CogAT or the district will administer the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities test (NNAT2).
    3. Parents may elect to retest their child privately with one of the district’s approved providers.

Private Provider Information

Provider Name


Phone Number



Beljan Psychological Services


(602) 957-7600


CENTER Psychology & Consulting


(602) 734-0194


Arizona Child Psychology


(602) 824-8804


The Nicholls Group


(480) 998-2303


The Serin Center


(623) 824-5051


The Reuter Center


(480) 378-6280


Phoenix Children’s Hospital


(602) 933-1000


Simply Psychology, LLC


(602) 428-2838



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.

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. 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:

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 2ndGrade 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 K-1, 3-8: March 16 - 25, 2020
Registration Deadline: February 18, 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 Gifted Education at (480) 484-5014. 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's front office.


Gifted Services

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

Sabrina Heavlin
Administrative Assistant

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