Frequently Asked Questions

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Northside Independent School District provides instructional opportunities and various services designed to meet the unique needs of students with significantly advanced general intellectual ability and/or specific subject matter aptitude in language arts, science, social studies and/or mathematics. These programs provide an appropriately differentiated curriculum in an effort to help students work to their fullest potential. GT program services may include a modified delivery of instruction for students by accelerating and/or providing for greater depth, more complex content, and enrichment activities. Specific GT program services are available in Kindergarten-12th grades. GT program teachers serving identified GT students have met the state requirements necessary for the teaching assignment. Northside ISD recognizes that all students are entitled to a program of educational experiences that provides opportunities to maximize the development of their capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many parents confuse gifted & talented with high achieving students.  Below are some examples of gifted learners versus high achieving students.

High Achieving Students

Gifted Learners

knows the answers

asks the questions

is interested

is highly curious

has good ideas

has wild, silly ideas

works hard

plays around, yet tests well

answers the questions

discusses in detail, elaborates

top of the group

beyond the group

listens with interest

shows strong feelings and opinions

learns with ease

already knows

6-8 repetitions for mastery

1-2 repetitions for mastery

understands ideas

constructs abstract ideas

enjoys peers

prefers adults

grasps the meaning

draws inferences

completes assignments

initiates projects

is receptive

is intense

copies accurately

creates a new design

enjoys school

enjoys learning

absorbs information

manipulates information



good memorizer

good guesser

enjoys sequential presentation

thrives on complexity

is pleased with own learning

is highly self-critical

Student referral opportunities will be available during designated referral windows each school year. Gifted & Talented referral windows are included on the GT Testing Calendar.

Sharing specific examples of observed gifted characteristics is most helpful for the placement committee to determine if the student has an instructional need for gifted services.

Below are some things that are not helpful to share on a referral because these phrases do not provide relevant or specific information related to the NISD gifted & talented program.

"THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX" - This term has lost meaning because it has become so overused.

"CREATIVE" - Just like the previous example, the term creative has lost meaning because it has been overused or incorrectly used. A better way to share about your child is to say, "My child shows creative thinking when she or he..." and then give concrete examples.

"ARTISTIC" - Some children may be artistic but we do not provide services in the arts.

"MAKES GOOD GRADES" OR "HAS HIGH TEST SCORES" - Families often share that their child needs gifted services because they make good grades or they have high test scores. However, these statements apply to many students, not just those identified as gifted & talented.

"HAS WON AWARDS" - Some parents share about their child's awards for leadership, character, or even sports. None of those examples help identify a student who needs gifted & talented services.

"QUALIFIED FOR DUKE TIP" - While it is commendable for having high levels of achievement, the qualification standards for Duke TIP are not the same as those to qualify for gifted services. The Duke TIP program uses achievement information such as STAAR scores which are not the same as ability.

"WOULD THRIVE OR BENEFIT" - Families share that they feel their child would thrive or benefit from gifted services or that a teacher has suggested the same. However, while a student may thrive or benefit, gifted & talented services are designed for students who have demonstrated a need for them.

"IS BORED IN CLASS" - While bored is a term children often use to describe various feelings, including disengaged, overwhelmed, or even disinterested, those do not indicate a need for gifted services. It is recommended to reach out to the classroom teacher to discuss these concerns.


No preparation is necessary for the GT assessments. These assessments are designed to determine if a student has advanced instructional needs that warrant gifted services. Using preparatory materials or resources prior to testing may invalidate the results.

If additional information is needed, please contact the campus GT Specialist.  Contact information for each campus GT Specialist may be found on the Contact Us page.

Please make every effort to send your child to school on testing days. Limited makeup testing will be scheduled as time permits. Contact your campus GT Specialist for specific information.

If you have questions about testing results, please contact the campus GT Specialist.  Contact information for each campus GT Specialist may be found on the Contact Us page.

Yes, students have annual opportunities to be referred for gifted services.  Some nationally normed testing data is valid for up to two years, so scores from testing in a previous grade may be used if testing in consecutive years.  In deciding if you should refer your child multiple times, consider the child's instructional needs and their response to potentially testing and not qualifying. Sometimes students internalize this as a failure because they do not understand the nature of this kind of assessment and process.

Parents, teachers, administrators, counselors, or community members may refer a child for testing during designated referral windows. District testing for the gifted and talented program is available annually. Please contact the GT Specialist at your child's campus for further information if you would like to refer your child for testing. 

No. Our current NISD Gifted and Talented Department guidelines state that previously identified gifted and talented students must be assessed and eligibility determined prior to placement into the GT program. Each district in Texas sets its own criteria for admission into its gifted and talented program, based on the services it provides. For previously identified students, NISD strives to complete all required assessments within the first six weeks of enrollment. 

It is always helpful for parents to share previous GT testing documentation with the campus GT Specialist. The teacher will verify that your child was served in a gifted program before proceeding with assessment. National, state, and district testing information, report cards that show gifted placement, and letters of acceptance into a gifted program can expedite the screening process.

Yes, your child will be placed in the gifted program once verified by the campus GT Specialist. 

No. Once a student has qualified for Gifted & Talented in NISD, students will not need to be retested to continue services.

No. Students do not have to re-qualify for GT services when they move from elementary school to middle school or from middle school to high school. Once a student is identified as needing GT services, then he or she will continue to be enrolled in GT classes in Northside ISD. We have found that as gifted students get older, they select advanced courses that best suit their academic needs, talents, interests, and future academic plans. Most students stay in GT, but some do choose to exit the GT program. GT Specialists are available on each campus to discuss this decision and course options with you.

GT identification does not involve a quota. All students who qualify under the district guidelines will be eligible to participate in the gifted and talented program.

Please visit our webpages to learn more about the service design in elementary, middle and high school.


Two options exist for opting out of gifted services for identified students. A furlough temporarily suspends a child’s GT services for a specific amount of time. Furloughs are generally used for scheduling conflicts, serious illness, or a family event and can be in place for up to one year. A parent also has the right to request that their child be exited from GT services, which is a permanent removal from the GT program. Children who are exited are eligible to be readmitted in GT programs in the future, but must complete GT testing and qualify under current standards.

Parent Tips for Moving to a New Out of District School

1. Investigate whether the destination (the “receiving”) state mandates servicing identified GT students, and if so, is it funded? Become familiar with the state’s policies regarding gifted children. This is a good place to start:

2. Once you’ve chosen a school/district, investigate if and how the school/district services their gifted students. Every state defines giftedness differently, and each school district -even in Texas- may service gifted students differently. For example, NISD follows the general intellectual ability model, whereas others may service only a particular area of giftedness, such as math, and accelerate the child in that area. 

3. Obtain GT records from your campus GT specialist (the “sending” campus). Let her/him know when you need the records so s/he has plenty of time to get them for you. Take them with you when enrolling at the new school. If the new school has a gifted program, they may be able to use the scores from previous testing.

4. As we all know, military families move frequently; but did you know that they have special rights? Since January 2015, all 50 states have adopted the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to help ease educational transitions.  This law permits the receiving state school to “initially honor placement of the student in educational programs based on current educational assessments conducted at the school in the sending state or participation/placement in like programs in the sending state.”  You may wish to find out if this law applies to your current situation. For more information see Many helpful tools for military parents and students can be found on this website under “Resources”. 

5. Do your homework and ask questions-lots of them- in order to best advocate for your child. 


Yes, following the Military Interstate Compact, children who have been identified GT will continue to receive services with proper documentation. It is best to request paperwork from the sending school to ensure a seamless transition. 

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