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Houston Vanguard (HISD Gifted) Test FAQs

What is Gifted and Talented (G/T)?

According to the Texas Education Code, section 29.121, Gifted and Talented means a child who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment and who possesses any or all of the following:

  • Exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area
  • Possesses an unusual capacity for leadership
  • Excels in a specific academic field

How do I know if my child is Gifted and Talented (G/T)?

It is important to note that there are not one or two characteristics that an educator can point to in order to say that a student is gifted and talented. It is a combination of characteristics. Some signs that a student might be gifted and talented include but are not limited to:

  • Extraordinary memory compared to peers
  • Highly curious
  • Highly creative
  • Exhibits abstract reasoning and problem-solving skills
  • Draws inferences and grasps underlying principles
  • Initiates projects
  • Discusses things in detail and elaborates

How are students identified as G/T in the system? What and when is the G/T testing process?

Identification as G/T begins with a parent submitting an application, which will lead to the G/T testing process.

All kindergarten and fifth-grade students not previously identified as G/T are screened for G/T services during Universal Testing, which consists of the following tests: CogAT Abilities Test, Iowa Assessments or Logramos.

Achievement Test Students in all other grade levels must submit an application to be tested during the G/T testing window, which is from December 10, 2016, to January 14, 2017.

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What does “Vanguard” mean?

In accordance with Vanguard standards, the term “Vanguard” is used in HISD synonymously with “gifted and talented.” HISD has offered Vanguard programs since 1974. Vanguard is used to refer to G/T programs, whereas Gifted and Talented refers to the student.

What is the HISD Vanguard Program?

The Vanguard program is designed for G/T students in grades K-12 who excel in general intellectual ability in combination with having exceptional creative/productive thinking and/or leadership ability. Vanguard programs provide services for these students that are comprehensive, structured, and appropriately challenging. The Vanguard curriculum (or plan of study) is differentiated by modifying the depth, complexity, and pacing of the general school program, utilizing higher-level thinking skills, and developing independent research skills focusing on advanced-level products.

What is the difference among the HISD Vanguard Programs, Magnet Programs, and Vanguard Magnet Programs?

  • Vanguard programs are gifted programs. So when you see or hear Vanguard think “gifted.”
  • Not all magnet schools are exclusively Vanguard (gifted) Magnet Schools. The Magnet theme may be centered on another area of study. HISD has Magnet schools that focus on the following areas of discipline:
    • Fine Arts and/or Performing and Visual Arts
    • International Baccalaureate
    • Dual Language Programs
    • Montessori
    • Vanguard
  • All HISD schools have a Vanguard (gifted) program, including all HISD Magnet Schools.
  • So, all HISD Magnet schools do have a Vanguard (gifted) Program. However, the entire Magnet school may not be exclusively Vanguard (gifted), having a Magnet theme of Vanguard.

What is the admissions process for Vanguard Neighborhood and Magnet Programs?

Vanguard Magnet Admission Process

  • Complete Vanguard Magnet application
  • Submit to your first choice of Vanguard Magnet school
  • Coordinator will contact you for any necessary testing
  • Student’s folder is submitted to a centralized Vanguard Admissions Committee
  • Qualified students are placed in a lottery if there are more qualified applicants than spaces

Vanguard Neighborhood Admission Process

  • Complete Vanguard Neighborhood application
  • Submit to neighborhood school
  • The Vanguard Neighborhood Coordinator will notify you if any testing is necessary
  • Student’s folder is submitted to a campus Vanguard Admissions Committee
  • All qualified students are provided services in their neighborhood school

If a student applies to the Vanguard Magnet program, qualifies, and does not accept a position in a Vanguard school, that student may apply to the Vanguard Neighborhood program in the school he attends.  Vanguard Neighborhood Kindergarten applicants are assessed during the fall semester and if identified, served by March 1 of that year. The Vanguard “Entering Kindergarten” assessment does transfer to Vanguard Neighborhood Kindergarten.

What is the difference between Vanguard Neighborhood and Vanguard Magnet?

  • Vanguard Neighborhood Programs are designed to meet the needs of the G/T student at their neighborhood or zoned school. These programs are designed to provide G/T services on a campus for all G/T students who are zoned to that campus and for any non-zoned G/T students on a valid transfer (other than Vanguard magnet transfers).
  • Vanguard Magnet Programs are designed to meet the needs of G/T students in pre-selected magnet schools in accordance with the district and magnet Guidelines. Vanguard magnet schools provide services to their zoned G/T students and students on a Vanguard Magnet Transfer. There are 10 Vanguard Magnet Elementary Schools, 6 Vanguard Magnet Middle Schools, and 1 Vanguard Magnet High School.

In which schools is the Vanguard G/T program available?

All HISD schools offer some form of a Vanguard program for G/T students in grades K-12.

These are the Magnet Elementary Schools:

Askew Elementary K-5

Carrillo Elementary K-5

DeZalva Elementary K-5

Herod Elementary K-5

Oak Forest Elementary K-5

River Oaks Elementary K-5

Roosevelt Elementary K-5

T.H. Rogers K-8

Travis Elementary K-5

Windsor Village Elementary K-5

What are school specific lotteries?

When there are more qualified applicants than space available, a school-specific lottery or audition shall be used to select students. All lottery sessions are being held at Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center by the Office of School Choice. Lottery results are not final until approved by the Office of School Choice.


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