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:

    • Exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area

    • Possesses an unusual capacity for leadership, OR

    • Excels in a specific academic field


      How do I know if my child is Gifted and Talented?

      All gifted children are not the same. 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 G/T. It is a combination of characteristics. Some signs that a student might be gifted 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, elaborates


      What does “Vanguard” mean?

      In HISD, the term “Vanguard” means the same thing as Gifted and Talented. 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.


      Which schools offer Vanguard Programs?

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


      What is the Vanguard Neighborhood Program?

      The Vanguard Neighborhood program is designed to meet the needs of G/T students in their neighborhood or zoned schools.


      How do you apply for the Vanguard Neighborhood Program?

      Students in all grades can request testing for Vanguard services in their neighborhood (zoned) school. 





    • How are students identified as G/T?

      Identification as G/T begins with a parent requesting G/T testing, leading to the G/T Identification process.


    • What and when is the G/T testing process?

      As of SY 2023-24, all 2nd grade students (not previously identified as G/T) are screened for G/T services during Universal Testing, which consists of the following tests during the specified times.

    • Students at all other grade levels must request G/T testing at their neighborhood/zoned campus to be tested during the G/T Testing Window.




    If my child took the G/T test before entering kindergarten and qualified for Vanguard, do I need to apply for them to get those services at their neighborhood school, or do they get them automatically?

    Your child will automatically get the services and not have to reapply/test, but you will need to take a copy of the identification matrix that will be mailed to you to the school where your child is enrolling. The only time this will not apply is if your child leaves the district for more than four academic months; if they leave for more than four academic months, they must re-test.


    Can my child be tested more than once a year?

    No, he or she can only be tested once a year. If your student is tested twice, the first test administration will be used to determine if your child is identified as G/T.


    Does my child need to be tested again to stay in the program?

    No. Once your child qualifies to receive G/T services, they will continue to receive them unless you request otherwise or if your child leaves the district for more than four academic months; if they leave for more than four academic months, they must re-test.


    What if I no longer want my child to receive G/T services?

    At any time during a school year, you have the option to voluntarily withdraw your child from the G/T program by submitting the Voluntary Exit Form to the Vanguard coordinator at your child’s school.


    What are the steps involved in the G/T Identification Process?

    The G/T Identification Process takes place as follows:

    1. Parent request testing at their neighborhood campus

    2. Parent collects required documents (see application for specific details)

    3. Parent submits application to their neighborhood (zoned) campus

    4. School schedules G/T testing

    5. Vanguard Neighborhood Admissions Committee meets

    6. Parent is notified of qualification or non-qualification based on the G/T Identification Matrix

    7. Student qualifies OR, if student does not qualify, they are eligible for re-assessment the following school year (typically fall semester).


    Is my child identified as G/T based on test scores alone?

    No, identification as G/T is determined by points obtained based on test results and other criteria. Scores are entered and converted into points on HISD’s G/T Identification Matrix.


    Who has the final say over whether my child is admitted to a Vanguard program? HISD’s GT Department develops the criteria for admission, which is based on the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted and Talented Students. Admission criteria are the same for the Vanguard Neighborhood and the Vanguard Magnet programs. The Advanced Academics department also conducts the admission committee meetings for the HISD Vanguard Magnet programs. For information on the Vanguard Magnet programs, see this page.

    If my child qualifies, do they automatically get G/T services, or do I have to formally request them?

    Your child will automatically get G/T services if they attend the school where they applied because that school processed their application, and they are aware that the child is qualified. If your child enrolls at a different campus than the one they applied to, they will need to provide that school with a copy of the matrix.