Gifted and Talented at Skinner

Skinner Middle School staff and students are engaged in a single-minded pursuit of high academic achievement for all, utilizing cooperation and collaboration as key strategies toward reaching that end. Teachers provide differentiated instruction that is rigorous and engaging including the use of extension activities for their subject areas to ensure students are challenged individually. Skinner offers whole grade acceleration and/or honors classes in math. The GT Special Services Provider (SSP) provides support for teachers to meet the academic and affective needs of gifted learners. Services include identification of gifted and/or talent development pool students, collaborative planning with teachers, build capacity of teachers to provide differentiated instruction techniques, enrichment programs, universal screening for 6th grade, individual GT testing, targeted working with individual students, collaborating with mental health providers at the school, or providing resources for above grade level learners. The GT SSP organizes  and accompanies students to extracurricular programs or field trips. Identified gifted students have an academic learning goal and an affective (social/emotional) needs goal addressed on an ALP (advanced learning plan). These goals are progress monitored throughout the year. Parents receive copies of the ALP and 6th grade parents receive emailed results from the universal screening. 

For more information about gifted programing at Skinner, email Ms. Valerie Davis.

Visit the DPS Gifted Education website.

Gifted and Talented Programming at Skinner includes:

Honors classes in Math and Science

Skinner offers differentiation for gifted students through advanced curriculum in these core subject areas. Placement in these classes requires teacher recommendations in addition to test scores. Curriculum includes grade level academic standards while working at a faster pace to include depth and complexity in the various subject matters. These classes are designed to meet the needs of the ALP (Advanced Learning Plan).

Acceleration in Math

Grade level acceleration is available for those students who require advanced instruction in math. This path places 8th grade students in 9th grade Integrated Math I, taught by a teacher at Skinner.

Universal Screening in 6th grade for potentially gifted students

Gifted and Talented children are present in all student groups, regardless of gender, disability, English language proficiency, economic status, ethnic or cultural background.

Mathletics, Math Olympiad, and Math Counts

These programs are designed for students to use and learn advanced mathematics concepts while engaging in friendly competition with other middle schools. In Mathletics and Math Olympiad students compete with other DPS schools. In Math Counts students compete against other middle schools across the state.

Science Fairs

All Skinner Scholars compete in the school science fair. Students receiving high scores for superior projects are able to advance to the Metro Science Fair held at Auraria Campus in Denver. Skinner has had several students win distinguished project awards at this event, including scholarship money. Skinner has had scholars advance to the State of Colorado  Science Fair to showcase their projects.

Spelling Bee

The spelling bee club meets once a week after school on Thursdays beginning in October through the end of February. Skinner hosts the first district spelling bee in December each year. Students compete in two oral bees and one written bee with other DPS students. Students who qualify have the opportunity to advance to state and national bees.

Advanced elective courses

Skinner scholars are able to differentiate elective classes by interest and choice. Classes include leadership, drama including participation in the DPS Shakespeare Festival, yearbook, woodworking, STEM, advanced Spanish class for native speakers, and choir. The jazz band performs in venues around Denver in addition to concerts at school.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

Skinner employs a full time STEM teacher who works with all three grade levels. Students are able to advance through the curriculum at their own pace and increase base knowledge levels by choice and interest. The teacher collaborates with the science teachers to develop and implement STEM lessons that use multidisciplinary techniques.

Affected needs lunch groups

The GT specialist offers small group programming focusing on National GT standards for providing affective support for identified students. The groups meet weekly during lunch and cover a wide variety of topics.

7th grade girls only:

Girls Engineering STEM Convention This convention is held every May for 7th grade girls. The Society of Women Engineers sponsors this event.

Students attend hands-on sessions in a variety of STEM activities to explore careers they may have not considered.

Anomaly (Minion) Con

GT students can opt to attend this science fiction convention. Students choose sessions to attend which include author talks, writing workshops, costuming workshops, science experiments, and drama. The theme of this convention is under the umbrella of Steampunk.

8th grade only – Legislative Day sponsored by The Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented

GT students interested in politics are able to apply to attend this day at the Colorado State Capitol. Selected students are paired with a state legislator and are able to sit on the main floor in either the Colorado House of Representatives or the Senate during the Opening Session of the day. Skinner has paired with the legislators from the NW quadrant of Denver to provide a unique experience for those attending.

Academic Mentors

This program is sponsored through the Community Resources program and is designed to pair students with a mentor in a career field the student is passionate about. Previous Skinner students have had mentorships with architects, web designers, songwriters, psychologists, and engineers.

Guest speakers/programs

The GT coordinator helps teachers acquire guest speakers and/or programs throughout the year to provide students with exposure to different topics of interest. Past speakers have included a nuclear engineer, an astrophysicist, a nurse, Skyping from McMurdo Station in Antarctica, and authors for reading/writing workshops sponsored by local bookstores.

Administration of College & Career Exploration for Skinner Students (ACCESS)

Through guided, hands-on learning, students will research, engage, and reflect on potential careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Art, Business, and Social Justice.  Each Friday, instructors will lead an after school program to help enrolled students form a future vision, while confronting relevant teen/pre-teen issues. Consistently visiting local businesses and recruiting community leaders as speakers will enable students to reflect and refine their personal portfolios.

Websites for GT Resources: