Gifted & Talented

Group of three students sitting together in the library

Eden Prairie Schools strives to ensure that each student reaches his/her full potential by working to meet the unique educational needs of every student who walks through our doors.

Eden Prairie Schools meets the unique educational needs of students through our gifted and talented services. Learners thrive best in an environment that challenges and nurtures individuals, fosters mutual respect and celebrates diversity. Some learners have academic skills, cognitive abilities, leadership abilities and creative talents that differ in degree and dimension from their chronological age peers; therefore, our purpose is to identify gifted and talented learners in order to provide services to meet those unique academic, social and emotional needs.

Eden Prairie Schools’ students, staff, parents and community members are partners in working toward educational excellence. Creating the conditions for learning, with high expectations, is significant for the success of this work. Each member of the partnership shares responsibilities for removing barriers and ensuring learning opportunities so gifted and talented learners’ potential may be fully realized.

Programming Information


Program Outcomes for Learners

Program outcomes for gifted & talented learners should be used in concert with learner outcomes in each individual subject area. Through the blending of these outcomes we can ensure that gifted and talented learners as well as learners of every ability receive the education which develops their potential and interests.

Gifted and talented learners will demonstrate performance which qualitatively differs in degree and dimension from their age peers in the following areas:

  • Learners will demonstrate and apply skills in creative and critical thinking, problem solving strategies and effective communication.
  • Learners will develop independence, self-direction, and discipline in learning, and assess their own strengths, interests and abilities.
  • Learners will explore career opportunities related to their interests and abilities.
  • Learners will value their unique abilities and talents.
  • Learners will use their unique abilities and talents to make contributions to the global community.
  • Learners will articulate and demonstrate an ethical awareness in relationship to the use of their talents.
  • Learners will produce quality products appropriate to their interests and talents.
  • Learners will identify personal goals and take risks in relation to them.
  • Learners will collaborate as team members in pursuit of group goals and products.
Supporting Documents:


Level One
Differentiation of high quality curriculum, focusing on expanding and enhancing the learning opportunities of the regular classroom, for all students. These options are provided by the classroom teacher. Gifted staff offer resources for differentiation and instruction.

Level Two
Differentiation of high quality curriculum which leads to extensions, in-depth study and special interest projects. Any student can be involved at this level, but not all will choose to do so. The majority of these opportunities will be provided by the classroom teacher. Gifted staff will offer resources and instructional support.

  • Grade One Primary Enrichment Groups (PEGS) The elementary Gifted Education Specialists provide level 2 enrichment services to grade one students in reading or math. Students considered for level 2 enrichments demonstrate academic needs beyond the grade level curriculum, as observed by the classroom teacher and Gifted Education Specialist. Level 2 enrichment groups meet once a week for 30-45 minutes for four to six weeks. At the end of the four to six weeks the groups are re-evaluated. This review allows for the entrance or exits of students for enrichment to continually meet the needs of the learners.
  • Young Scholars Overview The Eden Prairie Young Scholars (YS) Program is an academic program that embraces research-based practices for identifying and nurturing gifted potential in students who have historically been overlooked by gifted services. Young Scholars promotes the notion of access, affirmation, and advocacy for continuous academic growth. This program runs in grades one, two, and three at the elementary sites. The Young Scholars program is separate from the KEY program.

Level Three: KEY
KEY is a program for gifted and talented students in second through sixth grade. These are students with academic needs not met by Levels One or Two services. KEY students engage in activities utilizing problem solving, higher level thinking skills and advanced topics.

  • In grades two and three, students meet with the gifted resource teacher at regularly scheduled times during the week and study advanced topics in an interdisciplinary format.
  • In grades four, five, and six KEY students meet more often with the gifted resource teacher at regularly scheduled times during the week and study advanced topics in an interdisciplinary format.

Students can be referred for placement in the KEY program by teachers, parents or through self-referral. Identification for the KEY program is through a formal process that includes standardized testing. Decisions about KEY placement are made by a placement committee which consists of gifted resource teachers and administrators and may include a school psychologist and other professionals as needed. The committee makes placement recommendations based upon reviews of comprehensive student profiles, which includes the following:

  • teacher assessments of classroom performance
  • ability scores in the verbal, quantitative and visual/spatial areas
  • achievement scores (grades 2-6)
  • parent questionnaire

The needs of students who move into the district prior to or during the school year will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Level Four
This level of service is available to students whose academic needs are significantly different from their peers and their needs are not met by Levels 1, 2 or 3. These students need modification of their educational programs to reach their potential. Examples of this service at an elementary level would be: early school entrance, subject or grade acceleration and individualized programs based on the students' needs. The Gifted staff often serve as case managers and have direct involvement with identified students.

Appeal Process and Form


Liz Stamson | Instructional Excellence Coordinator for Gifted Programming | | 952-975-7060

Middle School

At Central Middle School the regular classroom curriculum is designed to include higher level thinking activities, authentic assessments, and numerous opportunities for extensions and enrichment.

Enriched courses offer a faster paced curriculum with greater depth. Students who have the ability to participate in advanced discussions and abstract thinking, and are motivated independent learners may choose Enriched classes in English, Social Studies, Math, and/or Science.

Advanced courses are available for students with high academic needs who meet specific criteria, are achieving at the highest levels and are prepared to meet the challenge of advanced coursework.

For more information, please contact:

Alison Miller | Gifted and Talented Coordinator |  952-975-7342 |

High School

Advanced Placement Courses

Eden Prairie High School offers a variety of enriched and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in all subject areas to meet the needs of students with talents.

AP classes include: Calculus AB, Chemistry, Computer Science: Java II Microeconomics, Calculus CD, Comparative Politics, European History, Physics, Calculus III Composition Literature, and Statistics 

The superior academic caliber of our courses has enabled students to take exams for these and additional subjects with a high success rate. 

College In The Schools

The College in the Schools (CIS) program delivers introductory-level University of Minnesota credit courses to advanced juniors and seniors. CIS courses are taught at EPHS during the regular school day. CIS Level courses are available for: French, German, and Spanish. 

Performing Arts Program

Eden Prairie has a high quality performing arts program that includes student written, directed and acted works as well as competitions and traditional music and theater presentations. The music program provides quality, comprehensive opportunities and experiences for vocal and instrumental musicians. 

Post Secondary Enrollment Options
Eden Prairie will grant academic credit to students enrolled in a course or program if that student successfully completes the course or program attended. The credits are to be counted toward graduation requirements and subject area requirements in the school district. The student will receive both high school and college credit. There is no charge to the student for tuition, textbooks, materials or fees. 

Talent Development Mentor Program
The Talent Development Mentor Program is an individualized advanced learning opportunity to connect with professionals and peers. Working with a mentor provides students an opportunity to develop professional and leadership skills while exploring a specific career. Past mentorships have included broadcasting in the TV industry, hardware development engineer in the computer industry, and sensory science manager in the food industry. Students receive one credit per term for time spent in seminars and with mentors. Students interested the program must be juniors or seniors. In addition, students must provide their own transportation to and from the mentor site. Students need to be available during 4th period for two consecutive terms.

Early Graduation
Students desiring early completion of the requirements for graduation must submit a plan, in writing, to their counselors prior to the start of second semester of their junior year. Interested students should see their counselors.

For more information, contact Steven Rollin, EPHS Gifted and Talented Coordinator at or 952-975-8049.


Acceleration may consist of a student being placed into a higher grade level in a single content area (subject acceleration) or moving to a higher grade level (grade acceleration).

A classroom teacher, parent, student, or gifted specialist may request that a student be considered for acceleration. The parent will be communicated with at this step. The gifted specialist will then interview the classroom teacher to gather information on reasons for the request, current classroom enrichment interventions, and student classroom performance. The specialist will complete the initial acceleration assessment form. If necessary, the specialist may suggest that more classroom interventions be offered prior to an acceleration team meeting.

An acceleration team should include the following school personnel: principal/assistant principal, current teacher, a teacher representative from the next grade level, the gifted specialist, parent, psychologist, and other specialists as deemed necessary.

The team will consider scores on achievement tests; scores on post-tests and authentic assessments in a specific subject area; scores on an ability test; the student's social and emotional maturity; the student's interest and motivation.

The acceleration team will meet and review the student information and will recommend a course of action.

Credit for Learning

An Eden Prairie secondary (grades 7-12) student may receive credit for a course by demonstrating competence in the skills and concepts of the course. The assessment of this competence may include such tools as written and/or oral examinations, product or performance exhibitions, and teacher input.

A review committee will determine the appropriateness of each request for credit for learning. The review committee, along with the subject area teacher, will also identify the assessment procedures(s) to be used with each student in awarding credit for learning.

As a result of the assessment, one of the following will occur:

  • No credit for learning will be awarded.
  • Credit for learning will be awarded and the student will be placed in another course.
  • Credit for learning will be awarded, and the student will progress by means of supervised independent study or alternative enrichment.

Students interested in obtaining credit for learning should discuss this request with a teacher, counselor, or case manager. As appropriate, the student will complete an application to be submitted to the review committee.

April 1 is the preferred application deadline for the following year. Departures from this date will be agreed to by the student and the review committee.

Contact Us

Liz Stamson | Instructional Excellence Coordinator for Gifted Programming | | 952-975-7060

Heidi Fitch | Instructional Excellence Coordinator | | 952-975-7148