About the Gifted & Talented Program

McAllen ISD defines gifted and talented as any child or youth in grades K-12 who performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment and who:

(1) Exhibits high performance capability in general intellectual ability; or
(2) Excels in one or more specific academic fields: math, science, language arts, and/or social studies.


The philosophy of MISD’s Gifted and Talented  Program,   emphasizes a respect for the worth and dignity of each individual and assumes the responsibility to promote each student’s fullest development as a citizen. The Gifted and Talented Program extends this philosophy in specifying that gifted students must be constantly challenged to stretch themselves intellectually because of their unique learning characteristics.

The McAllen Independent School District believes every student  has a right to be educated at the level that is commensurate with his/her needs and abilities. Therefore, the Gifted and Talented  Program exists to meet the needs of identified gifted and talented students who show the potential for excellence in an intellectual area and/or in a specific academic field.


The Gifted Program exists to meet the needs of children and youth who perform at, or show the potential for performing at, a remarkably high level of accomplishment in general intellectual ability (K-8) and/or in a specific academic field (9-12). Students who have the potential for performing at this level have a need for academic challenge that is beyond that of a regular classroom. The Gifted Program provides instruction  in classrooms designed to provide a challenging curriculum. Students who show gifted and talented potential may also participate in the Gifted and Talented Program. Potential will be nurtured through academic challenge and curriculum differentiation. Students who show potential are called high achievers/advanced learners.

The McAllen ISD Gifted Program and Advanced Academics Programs ensure the equitable representation of all student populations in G/T programs throughout the district. This is ensured through bilingual G/T assessment, identification, and services for students from diverse populations, including the bilingual and twice exceptional student.


The primary goal of the MISD Gifted  Program is to deliver challenging curricula using rigorous instructional strategies to meet the needs of students who would otherwise not be challenged in the regular classroom setting. A second goal is to ensure that students who participate in services designed for gifted students will demonstrate skills in self-directed learning, will be confident in their ability to research and process information, and will create and communicate their findings as they produce and present advanced-level products or performances, as well as products and performances of professional quality at the high school exit level.


The Gifted Program is committed to differentiating the MISD core curriculum (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills using the district curriculum timelines. and instructional focus documents) Teachers in elementary and middle school GT classes focus on development of units that provide depth and complexity. In middle school the units of study are enhanced for the gifted learner with Pre-Advanced Placement (Pre-AP) strategies. In high school, students may choose from Pre-Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement classes or International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme or the Diploma Programme. The curriculum in these classes is dedicated to assisting students prepare for the AP or IB exams.

Differentiating t curriculum for this population is accomplished by teachers developing and enriching  the academic content, process in which students learn, and student work products. Teachers modify by using teaching strategies that add content depth and complexity to the core curriculum. Teachers also modify by adjusting the pace, allowing time for inquiries or acceleration of the pace; and developing sophisticated products and/or performances. Students in the program, will participate in completing the  the Texas Performance Standards Project.  Classroom teachers are allowed discretion in the choice of model for the project, either the Texas Performance Standards Project, or Independent Investigations Research Method.

Description of Scope of Services

The Gifted Program identifies and serves approximately 2,100 McAllen ISD students through two age groupings: Elementary K-5, and Secondary 6-12. Elementary GT students are served in Challenge/GT classes in their neighborhood school in the four core subjects (math, science, English language arts and science).

Secondary middle school GT students are served in  Pre-AP or MYP classes in their neighborhood middle school campus in the four core subjects (math, science, English language arts and science). Students are encouraged to participate in UIL activities and Algebra I Pre-Advanced Placement in  7th or 8th grade and Geometry in 7th or 8th Grade.

High School students are served in the Achieve Early College High School,  Comprehensive High School AP Program, Lamar Academy IB Program, the AP Program at Options High School,  Dual Enrollment  Academies at STC, Concurrent Enrollment, and Dual Credit at all our high schools.

Teachers receive research based Gifted and Talented professional training and are required to differentiate the curriculum for the students in the Challenge Program Classroom.

Model for the Gifted and Talented Program

In McAllen ISD, elementary academically gifted and talented students, along with high achievers, are enrolled in a full time advanced academic program called the Gifted and Talented Program. The GT Program is a K-8 initiative designed to meet the needs of children and youth who perform at, or show the potential for performing at, a remarkably high level of accomplishment in general intellectual ability (K-8).  Students who have potential for performing at this level have a need for individual academic challenge that can reach beyond that of a regular classroom. The GT Program provides educational service to students by identifying students as Gifted and Talented and requiring instruction in classrooms designed to provide a challenging curriculum.

The GT Program utilizes the best practices established by leaders in the field of gifted and talented. The curriculum is designed to enhance opportunities for students to engage in challenge though the curriculum, provide academic and social/emotional support on multiple levels, flexible instructional groups, and support in completing an independent project.

Every campus in McAllen ISD provides programs for the Gifted and Talented.   Campuses will have varying degrees of gifted and talented/high achiever ratios. The campuses are committed to  nurturing  and supporting academic potential in all students. In schools with emerging Gifted and Talented Programs, principals, teachers, and academic coaches work together to find and nurture gifted potential using a variety of assessments. Qualitative assessments include observations, anecdotal records, and portfolios of student work. Quantitative assessments include the cognitive abilities test, achievement tests and state assessments.

Learning opportunities for the students coupled with professional development for the teachers, and involvement for the parents help to ensure that any child who has an exceptional capacity to learn, reason, and apply knowledge at an advanced level is nurtured and prepared to participate in the Gifted and Talented Program.

In McAllen gifted and talented students are in classroom settings with other gifted and talented students, as well as other students. This model does include high achievers.