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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Gifted & Talented Program

What is the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Gifted & Talented Program?

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Gifted & Talented Program uses multiple criteria to identify students as gifted. Students can qualify as Academically Intellectually Gifted (AI), Intellectually Gifted (IG), Academically Gifted (AG), Academically Gifted-Math (AM), or Academically Gifted-Reading (AR). Identification decisions are guided by the CMS Gifted Identification Rubric, which can be found on the district’s official website. 

Further Details on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Gifted & Talented Program


Academically Intellectually Gifted Students demonstrate high intellectual capacity and high academic performance, accumulating a minimum of 12 points through:

  • Aptitude testing 
  • Aptitude and achievement testing
  • Aptitude testing and GRS percentiles

Intellectually Gifted Students show strong intellectual capacity, but have not yet demonstrated high academic performance. In order to qualify, students must score in the 89th to 95th percentile on an aptitude assessment, but are not identified as gifted in achievement testing. 

Academically Gifted students show high performance capability in reading and math, as well as a strong capacity for learning. Students must accumulate a minimum of 12 points through:

  • Aptitude, achievement and GRS percentiles
  • Achievement testing and GRS percentiles
  • Students must earn a minimum number of points on the CMS portfolio scoring matrix.

Academically Gifted Students in Reading demonstrate strength and high levels of accomplishment in reading. These students must accumulate at least 6 points on the CMS Gifted Identification Rubric with combined verbal aptitude percentile and reading achievement percentile scores.

Academically Gifted Students in Math show strength and high levels of accomplishment in math, with at least 6 points on the CMS Gifted Identification Rubric resulting from a combined quantitative or quantitative/nonverbal aptitude percentile and math achievement percentile scores.

Screening for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Gifted & Talented Program

CMS conducts universal screening for all second graders, with criteria for identification including at least one formal measure by way of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)®, and one informal assessment, such as the Gifted Rating Scales (GRS), an observational checklist. If students meet certain criteria for further screening, other formal and informal assessments, such as the Iowa Assessments® and a portfolio of student work samples, may be administered. 

Parents, guardians, students, counselors, teachers and others may refer students for screening for grade acceleration or the Horizons program–the title of the gifted program which is designed to fulfill the needs of highly gifted elementary and middle school students. 

For students in grades K-1, giftedness is assessed by a TD (talent development) Site-Based Committee, if enough qualitative and quantitative data is available to determine that the child consistently performs at least 1 grade level above the current grade level. Students in 3-12th grades are also screened by TD Site-Based Committees to determine their eligibility for gifted programs.

Enrichment for Students

CMS offers all elementary students the Learning Immersion/Talent Development (LI/TD) magnet theme at six schools, which provides gifted students with appropriate challenges. The Learning Immersion (LI) program caters to K-5 graders to help cultivate their talents.  Special features of this program may include:

  • Accelerated and Challenging Curriculum 
  • Independent Contracts & Small Group Instruction
  • Compacted Curriculum 
  • Higher Order Problem Solving Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Junior Great Books
  • Paideia Seminars
  • Learning Based Multiple Intelligences Instruction

The Talent Development (TD) program provides rigorous challenges to gifted students in grades 3-5. Features may include: 

  • Interdisciplinary Units of Study
  • Curriculum Compacting/Contracts
  • Hands on Equations 
  • Junior Great Books 
  • Paideia Seminars
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Project-Based Learning using Multiple Intelligences theory
  • Emphasis on application of Higher Level Thinking
  • William & Mary Curriculum

Gifted students in the TD program at a LI/TD magnet school will be automatically placed into an IB middle school. 

In elementary schools, CMS schools use the TD Catalyst Model to provide inclusive services for gifted and advanced students, with collaboration between TD teachers and classroom teachers to ensure that students identified as gifted receive appropriate challenges. TD teachers provide instruction through co-teaching and/or working with small groups in the classroom. 

All CMS high schools receive differentiated curriculum through content area and advanced course offerings, including IB, AP, Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) programming, and dual enrollment courses.

Are you ready to prepare your child for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Gifted & Talented Program? Start today with Testing Mom’s expert resources! Download our 100 Free Questions today!

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