Ontario Local Schools

Talented and Gifted

“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.”

 -Walter Elias Disney

One may ask, “Who is a gifted student and why are gifted programs needed?” Gifted and talented students and those with high abilities need gifted education programs that will challenge them in regular classroom settings, and enrichment and accelerated programs to enable them to make continuous progress in school. It’s more than just giving students a challenge in classrooms: Gifted programming positively influences students’ futures.

Ohio Revised Code for education states that students are identified as gifted when he or she “performs or shows potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience, or environment and who are identified under superior cognitive ability, specific academic ability (mathematics, science, reading, or social studies), creative thinking ability and or visual or performing arts ability.”

In Ontario, our program is designed to be flexible, allowing us to best meet the needs of students who are identified as gifted. Our Ontario teachers ensure that rigor is embedded within their work in the classroom and continually receive high quality professional development. In grades two, three, four and five, we provide the opportunity for clustering of gifted students, allowing teachers to provide differentiated instruction and enrichment. Teachers in grades K-1 work collaboratively with the gifted coordinator to provide enrichment to gifted students in the primary grades.

Ontario Middle School offers honors classes to students in grades six, seven and eight. Likewise, Ontario High School has increased enrichment opportunities with honors courses as well as advanced placement courses and College Credit Plus courses taught at Ontario High School by qualified Ontario teachers.

Ontario students participate in many extra-curricular enrichment opportunities such as Science Club, Drama Club, Academic Challenge, National Honor Society, Writing Center and Peer Tutoring at the high school level. Middle school students are participating in Academic Challenge as well as Spelling Bee, and Science Fair. Elementary students enjoy critical thinking activities during noontime enrichment as well as participating in Spelling Bee and Lego Club.

The Ontario Local School District is committed to serving the gifted population of its schools and has made great strides recently to increase gifted opportunities to students.

How are students identified as gifted?

For a student to be identified as gifted he/she must meet the following criteria as define by the State of Ohio:

  • Superior Cognitive Ability- Scoring a CSI of 128 or higher on a State approved norm-referenced, standardized cognitive abilities test. 
  • Specific Academic Ability- Scoring in the 95%ile or higher in any academic total area (reading and/or writing, math, science or social studies) on a State approved norm-referenced, standardized achievement test.
  • Creative Thinking Ability- Scoring a CSI of 112 or higher on a State approved norm-referenced, standardized cognitive abilities test; as well as achieve a qualifying score on a State approved behavioral checklist of creative thinking abilities.
  • Visual and Performing Arts- Achieving a qualifying score on an approved checklist of behaviors related to a specific arts area; as well as demonstrate to a trained individual through a display of work, an audition, or other performance, superior ability in a visual or performing arts area.

Please note that all assessments utilized for gifted screening and identification are selected from the Chart of Approved Assessments through the Ohio Department of Education.


How are students assessed?

Ontario Local Schools uses several avenues to identify potentially gifted students which include:

  • Whole grade national standardized testing in reading and math at the 1st grade level.
  • Whole grade national standardized testing for superior cognitive ability and creative thinking ability at the 2nd grade level.
  • Whole grade national standardized testing for superior cognitive ability and creative thinking ability as well as specific academic ability in reading, math, science and social studies at the 5th grade level.
  • Individually administered assessments
  • Audition, performance
  • Display of work, exhibition
  • Mastery/ competency checklists

In addition, students may be referred for further testing to the Gifted Coordinator in several ways:

  • Teacher recommendations
  • Parent/ guardian request
  • Self-referral
  • Peer (student) referral
  • Other (psychologist, community members, principal etc.)

How will I know if my student was assessed and what their scores are?

Referrals are actively sought twice each year. Prior to any formal non-whole grade testing by the Gifted Coordinator, permission to test will be gained from the parent or guardian. In addition, parents/ guardians will be notified within thirty days, usually by letter, of the results of any testing. 

Although permission to test is not required for whole grade screening (testing), a letter is sent home notifying parents/ guardians of the dates of any whole grade testing for gifted identification.

My student was tested in a new area and was not identified. Does that mean that he is no longer gifted?

The State of Ohio recognizes a student as “once identified, always identified”.  In Ohio, a student continues to be identified as gifted for the duration of his or her K-12 career, regardless of future testing or performance. 

What is a WEP?

A WEP or Written Education Plan is a description of services provided for a gifted student which includes goals for each area served, methods for evaluating progress toward achieving the goals specified, appropriate personnel responsible for providing services, assignment waiver policy, and schedule for reviewing and reporting progress to students and parents.


NAGC- National Association for Gifted Children, https://www.nagc.org/

OAGC- Ohio Association for Gifted Children, http://oagc.com/

Hoagies Gifted Education Page, http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/

SENG- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, http://sengifted.org/

Byrdseed, http://www.byrdseed.com/


GT Kids and Behavior: Seven Strategies to Help Kids (and Parents) Cope, http://sengifted.org/gt-kids-and-behavior-seven-strategies-to-help-kids-and-parents-cope/

The Perils of Parenting: The Top 10 Things Not to Say to Your Gifted Child, http://files.adams14.org/files/16/Parenting.pdf


Isaacson, Karen L.J. Life in the Fast Brain, Keeping up with Gifted Minds. Great Potential Press, 2007.

Isaacson, Karen L.J. Raisin’ Brains, Surviving My Smart Family. Great Potential Press, 2002.

Kerr, Barbara A. and Cohn, Sanford J. Smart Boys: Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning. Great Potential Press, 2001.

Kerr, Barbara A. Smart Girls: A New Psychology of Girls, Women, and Giftedness (Revised Edition). Great Potential Press, 1997.

Schultz, Robert A. and Delisle, James R. If I’m So Smart, Why Aren’t the Answers Easy? Prufrock Press, 2012.

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