Gifted and Talented

Gifted and Talented logo
Kristin Merrill Portrait
Kristin Merrill, Districtwide Coordinator
270-797-3811 ext 1005
Jayme Harralson Portrait
Jayme Harralson, Resource Teacher
270-797-3811 ext 1216


Consistent with 704 KAR 3:285, the purpose of The Dawson Springs Schools Department of Services for Gifted and Talented is to identify and to provide educational services for approximately 15% of the student population whose abilities and talents are believed to be significantly more advanced than those of their age and peer group. The department takes into consideration students who may be underachieving, students with disabilities, and students from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds.

Primary Talent Pool

Informally selected students in grades K-3 will be observed as they progress through the primary program. No formal testing or evaluation must take place at this stage, and students exiting the primary program may or may not qualify for gifted/talented services when formal identification occurs in grade 4.

After formal identification, students receive services consistent with their individual needs, interests, and abilities, based upon continuous assessment. 

Areas of Gifted/Talented Service and Eligibility Requirements

Note: Normed scores in the ninth stanine for intellectual ability and academic aptitude represent an arbitrary way of identifying high potential students, but the presence or absence of this criteria alone is insufficient to formally identify for or to exclude a student from services.

(Grades 4-12)

  • General Intellectual Ability

    • Requires at least two pieces of supporting data in addition to either a score of 96-99%ile on a nationally-normed test of intellectual ability, or a cognitive skills indicator score of 128 or above.

  • Specific Academic Aptitude: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies

    • Requires at least two pieces of supporting data in addition to a score of 96-99%ile on a nationally-normed test in a specific academic subject.

  • Creativity: Creative and Divergent Thinking Ability

    • Requires at least three pieces of supporting data from a list of ten possible options.

  • Leadership

    • Requires at least three pieces of supporting data from a list of ten possible options.

  • Visual/Performing Arts: Art, Dance, Drama, Music (Vocal and/or Instrumental)

    • Requires at least three pieces of supporting data from a list of ten possible options.


The Identification Process

The District works to compile data supporting the eligibility of students for gifted/talented services. While this data usually comes from teachers and from standardized tests, recommendation and support material may also come from parents/guardians, peers, or from a student's self-nomination by petition.

A local school committee reviews recommendations and decides upon service provisions. The composition of the committee includes appropriate faculty qualified to assess talents and abilities in areas relevant to each case.


Teachers, local school administrators, and the district work together to provide services through a variety of activities suited to the specific needs and interests of students.  Activities may include but are not limited to differentiation of instruction in the regular classroom, enrichment, collaborative teaching among faculty, consultation, independent study, intensive workshops, and advanced curriculum. Educators recognize the need to provide opportunities for growth and development for all students relative to their abilities, interests, and needs.


Eligible students in grades K-8 may be selected for participation in either pull-out or collaborative services with the G/T Resource Teacher. Although pull-out activities can result in missing scheduled classes, students who participate explore curriculum unavailable in the regular classroom. Specific services vary from individual to individual.