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    The Winchester Public Schools K-12 Gifted (EXCEL) program emphasizes EXcellence, Creativity, Enrichment, and Leadership. Appropriate learning pathways are provided to gifted students through a continuum of services and options. Learning opportunities are designed to be open-ended so that they may be tailored to the talents and interests of students. The goal is to engage students in comprehensive study for which the rate of learning, content, and high level processing skills are adjusted to provide an individualized program commensurate with the needs of each intellectually gifted student.

    Teachers are trained to look for gifted characteristics in all students, but students may also be referred to the EXCEL program by parents, community members, professional school staff, student self nomination, or peer nomination. All 2nd grade students are assessed using a universal screener during the month of January.

Gifted Identification

  • WPS invites referrals for gifted identification at any point during the year. The referral must be received before the evaluation window begins. Evaluations happen during the Fall and Spring windows below:

    FALL EVALUATION WINDOW: Grades 3-12 - October 17, 2023 - November 6, 2023
    SPRING EVALUATION WINDOW: Grades 2-12 - March 4, 2024 - March 28, 2024

    Download the Gifted Referral Form or contact your child's teacher.

    Click here for more information on the ExCEL Evaluation process. 

Information and Forms

  • If you have questions regarding the gifted program, please contact the gifted chairperson at your child's school:

    • Frederick Douglass Elementary School: Joy Cusick
    • Garland Quarles Elementary School: James Faint
    • John Kerr Elementary School: Amy Thomas
    • Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart Elementary School: Devon Thompson
    • Daniel Morgan Intermediate School: Leslie Smith
    • Daniel Morgan Middle School: Brian Dorsey
    • John Handley High School: Jenny Williams

    You may also contact Sara Gardner, WPS Gifted Specialist (K-12).

    2023-2024 CogAT Screening Information (2nd Grade)

    During the window of January 16 - February 2, 2024, your child will be administered the online version of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). This is a screening measure that is administered to all WPS second grade students as part of the district-wide identification process for gifted services. Specific dates and times will be determined by each school building. Please make every effort to have your child attend during the testing weeks, paying specific attention to the testing dates and times for your child’s class.

Contact Information

  • Sara Gardner
    Sara Gardner

    K-12 Instructional Specialist for Gifted Education
    540-667-4253 x15153

    Matthew Reames
    Matthew Reames
    Gifted Teacher
    540-665-6330 x75251

    Felicia Andre
    Administrative Assistant
    540-667-4253

    For additional information, contact your child's school principal or the Department of Instruction.