• Gifted and Talented/Vanguard Program

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     Schools & Student EnrollmentSince 1974, HISD has offered Vanguard programs, also known as programs for gifted and talented (G/T) students. As with other state-required programs, Vanguard (G/T) programs are evaluated annually to determine their effectiveness and analyze students’ academic achievement. Following a PEER (Peer Examination, Evaluation, and Redesign) Committee review in the fall of 2005, HISD developed Vanguard (G/T) program standards, and the Board of Education approved them in March 2007. These standards focus on establishing consistency in implementation of Vanguard (G/T) programs district-wide, strengthening the programs’ academic rigor, and increasing campus/district accountability for the success of G/ T students. The Vanguard (G/T) standards may be viewed here.

    Every HISD school offers a Vanguard program for G/T students. There are two types of program designs: Vanguard Neighborhood and Vanguard Magnet.

    • Vanguard Neighborhood schools offer G/T services to students who live in the neighborhood, also known as zoned students, and to any non-zoned students who transfer for programs other than G/T.
    • Vanguard Magnet schools provide G/T services to their zoned students and to students on a Vanguard (G/T) Magnet transfer.  There are 20 Vanguard Magnet schools in the district. Currently, HISD has 26,300 G/T students, which is 14.6 percent of the district’s total enrollment.  Grade-level, ethnicity, and five-year growth data is available upon request through the Advanced Academics Department.

    Program Goals/Features

    HISD Vanguard (G/T) programs are designed for students who either perform at or show the potential for performing at a high level of accomplishment compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment. These students require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program. All HISD Vanguard programs share these characteristics:

    • Vanguard programs use the same G/T identification criteria.
    • Vanguard programs have a G/T admission committee.
    • Vanguard programs implement the HISD G/T curriculum framework K–12, which provides for differentiation through increased depth and complexity, higher-level thinking skills, and developing independent research skills focusing on advanced-level products.
    • G/T students receive daily G/T instruction from a specially trained G/T teacher in four core content areas in grades K–8 and in at least two advanced-level courses in grades 9–12.
    • Vanguard programs deliver their instruction in a self-contained classroom setting, either in homogeneous or heterogeneous group settings, depending on the total number of identified G/T students.
    • Vanguard programs mix zoned and non-zoned G/T students for program services.
    • Vanguard programs actively encourage parent and community involvement.

    Testing for G/T Eligibility

    G/T identification is required for participation in all Vanguard programs, whether it is at a Vanguard Neighborhood (zoned) school or in a Vanguard Magnet school. In HISD, students can apply for identification as G/T as early as age 4, prior to entering kindergarten. All students who are identified as G/T, they maintain their eligibility through the end of twelfth grade. There are a variety of ways in which students are nominated for G/T eligibility. A student in any grade can be tested based on teacher recommendation, parent application, and/or self-nomination by the student. Additionally, there are testing times when all HISD students in Kindergarten or 5th grade are assessed to ensure program access to all children. Beginning in November 2008, the following tests will be used in identifying eligibility:

    • Entering Kindergarteners (individually administered): the Woodcock-Johnson III test of achievement (English)/Bateria III pruebas de habilidades aprovechamiento (Spanish) and the Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability (English and Spanish)
    • All Students K-12:  Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAt) and the Iowa/Logramos Achievement Test

    Application Process/Timeline

    Students in all grades (or those new to the district) can apply for Vanguard services in the Neighborhood (zoned) school through the Vanguard (G/T) application. The application process for identification as G/T involves the following:

    • Parents get a Vanguard (G/T) application by calling 713-556-6954 or visitinghttps://www.houstonisd.org//Domain/8034
    • Parents collect required records from their child’s current school (see application for specifics).
    • Parents submit the application form to their Neighborhood (zoned) school. G/T testing is scheduled if needed. Testing is conducted during the district established testing windows.
    • Students applying for acceptance to a Vanguard Magnet school can apply using the Vanguard Magnet application and following the Magnet timelines. Unlike the standard Magnet application, only one Vanguard Magnet application can be submitted, indicating only three school preferences. Acceptance into a Vanguard Magnet school is based on spaces available for non-zoned G/T students. If there are more qualified applicants than spaces, then all non-zoned G/T students are selected in a lottery.
    For additional questions, please email our GT Coordinator, Mrs. Spurlock, at magdalena.spurlock@houstonisd.org.
    2017 Kindergarten and 2nd Grade Kolter Expo
    Kindergarten  pic2 pic3

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  • Gifted and Talented Identification Process

    See this letter in Spanish and English from HISD for more information.
     pdf English   pdf Spanish

    Advanced Academics Website

    The Advanced Academics Department Website https://www.houstonisd.org//Domain/8034 contains general information about Vanguard (G/T) programs, the application process, the G/T Identification criteria and matrices, applications, and links to related Web sites.

    Kolter Elementary GT CoordinatorKathleen Crossett 


    The Texas Education Code, section 29.121. requires all schools to provide G/T services for eligible students. School districts are charged with establishing their own criteria for identifying G/T students, but must measure giftedness with both qualitative and quantitative measures.


    Identification as G/T is determined by points obtained on various criteria: achievement test, abilities test, grades, teacher recommendation, obstacles, and (in the case of the very young) parent recommendation. Points are entered into a G/T Identification Matrix, which can be viewed at  https://www.houstonisd.org//Domain/8034.