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Gifted and Talented Overview

Percentage of GT Students at Compass:

  • 28% of our school population is Gifted and Talented (23-24 school year)

GT Site Manager Contact Information:

Jenny Findlay, M.A., 970-372-4242,

  • For More Info on the GT Identification Referral Process:
    • If you would like more information on how to get your student identified, FIRST, please email the Compass GT Site Manager, Jenny Findlay:
    • Also, CLICK HERE to access our Family Guidebook where you can read more about the referral process, ID criteria, and how Compass partners with PSD on GT identification.

Overview of our GT Philosophy:

All students at Compass receive the benefit of our small, agile model that naturally incorporates diverse opportunities to engage in enrichment, acceleration, and leadership. Compass was built by intentionally INFUSING Gifted and Talented best practices, and the expertise of master GT educators, into every aspect of our school design. In addition, we have always recognized how important it is to couple our focus on academic achievement with the equally vital acquisition of essential skills and social emotional intelligence. Our commitment to delivering such exemplary education to every student is part of what makes Compass so unique.

Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) Process:

Middle School (Explorers = Grade 6; Surveyors = Grades 7-8):

Students choose and/or create their Advanced Learning Plan goal(s) in the fall and meet regularly with their Advisor throughout the school year to work towards, reflect upon, and monitor their goal(s). ALP paperwork is sent home before winter break and (upon request) at the end of the school year. The GT Manager is available to meet with parents, and monitors student performance, progress, and goal attainment.

High School (Navigators = Grades 9-11; Pathfinders = Grade 12):

Students write or update yearly Advanced Learning Plan goal(s). These goals are fully student-driven, meaning that students develop goals based on their own interests and plans for the future. The ALP is integrated with each student's ICAP, and they have the opportunity to write this goal with their Advisor, with the Compass Futures Counselor, and/or independently if they so choose. The ICAP/ALP is not sent home. Rather, the ICAP/ALP is merged with each student's "futures work" and Capstone portfolio. The GT Manager is available to meet with parents, and monitors student performance, progress, and goal attainment.

Academic and Enrichment Foundations:

Mastery-Based Acceleration/Advancement:

At Compass, students advance based on their level of mastery rather than just being placed according to their age or grade level . Research shows that competency-based educational models that utilize a mastery approach have a profound impact on the growth of a student's internal motivation, and thus, their level of academic achievement. At Compass, our experience proves this fact, and we are continually able to offer our students access to higher-level courses and more choices to shape their own educational pursuits, earlier in their academic careers. Middle school students have an opportunity to begin to accumulate high school level academic competencies towards graduation as soon as they show clear evidence of readiness. High school students can access college concurrent enrollment courses in both English and math as early as the 9th grade - both on-site at Compass, as well as on the Front Range Campus. Independently designed and executed projects are widely accessible, and in-school competencies can be met through out-of-school achievements.

Community-is-Our-Campus Learning and Internships:

Community-engaged learning is at the heart of the Compass Community Collaborative School difference. Our model puts students in the driver’s seat of creating work that matters to them and their community, while challenging them to apply their knowledge and creativity across many subjects. Each school year, students complete Venture Projects that are deep academic explorations with real-world applications. All Ventures are interdisciplinary - striving to creatively enmesh academics from multiple content areas. Ventures meet five days per week - four days for 90 minutes and one day for almost three hours to facilitate community travel and learning experiences. Internships and college classes may be substituted for Venture Projects by high school students whom have demonstrated evidenced readiness.

Performance Assessments and "Real-Life" Quality Expectations:

At Compass, we teach students how to take tests, write papers, research effectively, read critically, and develop quantitative reasoning and numerical literacy. Students will practice these skills and mindsets throughout their tenure at our school. IN ADDITION, we ask students to show us what they are learning by creating high quality products and sharing their learning process. This is called performance assessment, and it more closely mirrors expectations in the workplace than do standard “exams”. Many of the student products are made in collaboration with, or in order to benefit a community partner. The skills our students learn by publicly presenting their work at our Exhibitions are impressive! Looking people in the eye, shaking hands, explaining their thinking, answering questions, speaking in front of diverse audiences, etc. - it is a wonder to behold how our students grow as they practice!

Choice and Agility:

All teachers at Compass implement opportunities for "student choice and voice" when planning their curriculum - as often as possible, and based on student readiness, rather than just age. Tiered lesson design is common in all classrooms. Furthermore, as students advance through the Compass Levels of Autonomy, they are offered more and more ways to craft their own course of study - including independent academic inquiries/projects, college courses, internships, off-campus "Leave-to-Learns", shadow days, volunteerism, etc.

Affective Programming and Enrichment:

Compass offers an integrated SEI (Social Emotional Intelligence) education as a fundamental piece of each student's holistic curricular experience. A Compass student's schedule includes a daily Advisory with curated lessons based on CASEL (Yale University), and Six Seconds research-based SEI curriculum, and is supported by an Advisory Teacher in addition to a SEI and Restorative Practices Specialist. Students will participate in group/collaborative learning and will have additional opportunities to work individually to support "just in time" and personalized strategic enrichment.

College and Futures Planning Enrichment Possibilities:

Middle School:

  • Advisory Futures "Push-In Topics"
  • Career Speaker Series and "Beginning to Think Externally" Curriculum
  • Developing a Future-Ready Mindset using Snapshot Software
  • Informational Interviews with Community Members

High School:

  • Each Graduating Pathfinder Receives Weekly Individual Post-Secondary Meetings with our Futures Counselor - "From Cost Analysis to College Applications"
    • Additionally, our Graduating Pathfinder Capstone Group meets with the Futures Counselor approx. 4x/week throughout their final year to support the college application process
  • CE College Concurrent Enrollment Classes at Compass AND on the Front Range Campus
  • Online Storyteller Planning Tool
  • YouScience Aptitude Testing
  • Challenge Cards Planning Tool
  • Records of Internships, Apprenticeships, Job Shadows, Volunteerism, etc.
  • Personal Purpose/Goal Statement
  • Informational Interviews with Community Members

Clubs and Other Enrichment Opportunities (this list is always changing and growing):

  • Lego Robotics
  • School Store and Entrepreneurship
  • Tech Team
  • Garden Club
  • Running Club
  • Chess Club
  • Podcasting
  • Soccer/Ball Sports Club
  • Filmmaking
  • Yearbook Staff
  • Art Club
  • Kickboxing
  • Environmental Club
  • Dungeons and Dragons Club
  • Compass Council School Leaders
  • Student Restorative Justice Group
  • Mindfulness / Yoga
  • Minecraft Club
  • Carpentry