Elementary School Programs

Schoolwide Cluster Grouping for Gifted Students

Gifted identified students are clustered into gifted cluster classrooms with teachers who have been designated as such by their school principals. Gifted Cluster teachers hold a gifted endorsement issued by the state of Arizona, or are working toward acquiring one. Gifted Specialists assist Gifted Cluster teachers with scheduling, provide professional development in gifted education, and facilitate with the planning and implementation of differentiated curriculum and instruction through regularly scheduled monthly Gifted Cluster teacher meetings and during other staff development times.  In this model, gifted students receive differentiated curriculum and instruction in all content areas on a daily basis.

In The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model, gifted students are clustered into a mixed-ability classrooms at each grade level. The teacher has had training in understanding, planning for, and instructing gifted students. If there are more than eight gifted students in the grade level, two or more clusters may be formed.

High-average students are placed into classrooms without the gifted clusters to create a balance of ability/achievement levels in classes across the grade level. Because all classes maintain a slightly narrowed range of performance and abilities, this method of grouping students does not represent a tracking system.

Classroom compositions are carefully structured with two main goals: to ensure that there is a balance throughout the grade level, and to reduce the learning range found in any given classroom. This system provides opportunities for teachers to more readily respond to the needs of all their students.

Gifted cluster teachers plan appropriately challenging instruction for their gifted students. Cluster Teacher Coach, Cheryl Gehres, is employed to mentor and support PV's gifted cluster teachers.  This may involve acceleration, enrichment, and various extended learning opportunities targeted to develop the following skills through learning in the content areas:

  • Logical thinking
  • Reasoning skills
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Problem-solving

Gifted students receive instruction that is differentiated in content, process, product, learning environment and assessment:

  1. Content — Complex, abstract ideas presented in a variety of disciplines, including interdisciplinary curriculum
  2. Process — Higher-level thinking through Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Multiple Intelligences
  3. Products — Alternative methods of demonstrating mastery with a range of complexity
  4. Learning environment — Student-centered, flexible grouping based on readiness, interests, and abilities
  5. Assessments — Pre-assessment and testing out-of-grade level curriculum.

Learn More About Gifted Programs for Grades 1-6

School Wide Cluster Grouping Model Information Video

Cluster Grouping Information & Resources: Books, Articles, and Research 


Honors Classes Grades 4-6

Content Replacement/Enrichment with Gifted Specialists Grades 4-6

Quote from Pinnacle Peak Elementary School Gifted Specialist, Nancy Stanton,  Recently in “ CLASS NOTES”   From the AZ K12 Center,… May 2015 

“Professional learning at my site, in a perfect world, would look like the model that is used in (our) gifted meetings. Each session, there are typically about five of us that do table talks to teach and inform our colleagues on what we are doing in the classroom. We provide handouts and resources so the ideas can be taken right into the classroom, Arizona K-12 center 

The Content Replacement Program

Gifted Education Specialists provide content replacement and content enrichment to gifted students in each elementary school for grades 4-6. Students receive accelerated and enriched instruction in mathematics and/or language arts, depending upon their area(s) of identification and needs. Students receive contentreplacement in lieu of the regular grade level curriculum provided in their homeroom classes, and content enrichment in addition to instruction provided in the homeroom or gifted cluster class. Curriculum in these content areas is accelerated to an appropriately challenging level. In language arts, students receive instruction through grammar and literature. Students move beyond the regular language arts curriculum using advanced levels of analysis and critical thinking. In math, students pursue topics such as probability, logic, statistics, algebra, and geometry at advanced levels.

PV Schools gifted specialists all are state certified, Highly Qualified, and have specific certification and training to work with gifted students.  Gifted Program Mentor, Karen Brown, provides support and training for the elementary schools' Gifted Specialists.  Enrichment during Honors classes may include:

  • Accelerated Mathematics
  • Latin stems studies as a foundation for interpreting the living languages
  • Socratic Seminars
  • Junior Great Books
  • Classic and Contemporary literature
  • Project Based Learning
  • Core Knowledge integrated curriculum
  • Advanced problem-solving instruction
  • Classic literature
  • 4 level grammar
  • Math Olympiad & Continental Math competitions
  • Grammar and vocabulary instruction using the work of Michael Clay Thompson

Gifted Curriculum: Content Replacement Program


Self Contained Gifted Information

The Self contained Gifted program in Paradise Valley is designed for high-achieving, highly and profoundly gifted students who are working at least two grade levels beyond their current grade. Gifted students who are radically accelerated in academics and highly motivated to learn, thrive in this program.   

Students in the Self Contained Program participate in daily special areas (art, music, and PE), lunch and recess with other grade-level classes. Students are included grade-level activities and field trips.

Please see the links to our other gifted programs (provided at every PV elementary school) to determine which program best fits the learning needs of your child. Gifted Program Mentor, Karen Brown, provides support and training for the Self Contained Gifted Program teachers. The Self Contained Gifted Program teaches students thoughtful, in-depth analysis in a problem-based interdisciplinary curriculum that cultivates habits of intellectualism. A balanced approach blends curriculum and individual student needs to prepare students for success at national levels.

Parent Note: Read about transitioning from Self Contained Gifted Preschool and Kindergarten into the elementary programs.

The Self Contained Gifted Program, Grades K - 6

Desert Cove Elementary School - located west of State Route 51 and Shea. Offering classes in grades K, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6.

Desert Trails Elementary School - located north of Deer Valley Road in the Desert Ridge area. Offering classes in grades K, 1-2, 3-4. 5-6

Fireside Elementary School - located in the Desert Ridge area near Pinnacle High School. Offering classes in grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5-6.

We are pleased to announce that we will be expanding the self-contained gifted program at Fireside Elementary for the school year 2018-19 to include an additional class.  We will convert the self contained gifted grades 3/4 class to a separate third-grade class and fourth-grade class.  This expansion will allow us to accommodate additional students who would benefit from the program. 

North Ranch Elementary School - located near 64th Street, between Greenway Rd and Bell Rd. Offering classes in grades K, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6.

Sonoran Sky Elementary School - located just east of Scottsdale Road and Sweetwater. Offers classes in grades K, 1-2, 3, 4, 5-6.

We are pleased to announce that we will be expanding the self contained gifted program at Sonoran Sky Elementary for the school year 2018-19 to include additional classes.  We will be opening a Kindergarten class in addition to converting our self-contained gifted grades 5/6 class to a separate fifth-grade and sixth-grade classes.  This expansion will allow us to accommodate additional students who would benefit from the program. Also, due to limited enrollment, the Sonoran Sky 1st and 2nd-grade classrooms will be collapsing to a combination 1/2 classroom. 

The Self Contained Gifted Program Curriculum

 Please view our brief overview of the self contained gifted program curriculum for grades K-6. 

Qualifications for Gifted Self Contained Programs

The PVSchools self contained gifted program serves high achieving, highly and profoundly gifted students in grades 1-6. Students qualifying for this program must have:

  • Scores (on a state-approved gifted test) of 97%+ in two of the three areas: verbal, quantitative, and/or nonverbal area(s), with the third score being 90 or higher
  • IQ of 140+
  • Demonstrate accelerated learning needs that are two years beyond grade level
  • AzMerit results that meet or exceed grade-level standards (grades 3 – 6)

Criteria for current ELL students:

  • A score of 97%+ on a state-approved nonverbal ability test (preferably NNAT2), plus a score of 97% in reading and mathematics on the Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Test administered one grade level ahead of the student’s current grade level.
  • IQ of 140+
  • Demonstrate accelerated learning needs that are two years beyond grade level
  • AzMerit results that meet or exceed grade-level standards (grades 3 – 6)

Special consideration will be made for students with IEPs and 504s