Morey’s Highly Gifted / Talented Magnet Program

What is Gifted? 

According to Colorado’s Exceptional Children’s Educational Act, “gifted and talented children” are those students whose demonstrated abilities, talents and/or potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational needs. These students perform, or show the potential of performing, at remarkably high levels in intellectual, specific academic or creative areas when compared with others of their age and experience. Gifted and talented children are present in all student groups, regardless of gender, disability, English language proficiency, economic status, ethnic or cultural background.


Magnet Eligibility for gifted services requires a score in the 95th percentile or above on a cognitive assessment such as the NNAT or CogAT. Please note that this is a change from previous years, where the eligibility band was higher. Please see the GT department website for questions about this policy change. 

Highly Gifted (HGT) refers to a student who has been formally identified as Gifted (GT)  in the state of Colorado AND has a cognitive score in the 95th percentile which makes them eligible to attend a magnet school in DPS.

 When a student becomes Magnet Eligible, they are not automatically identified as HGT. The ME label allows for families to immediately have school choice options for their child while the GT teacher works to collect more data toward formal HGT identification. Students who are ME do not have an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP), while HGT/GT students do have an ALP. 

HGT Program at Morey Middle School

Morey Middle School houses the magnet program for highly gifted middle school learners in Denver Public Schools. At Morey, ME and HGT students are grouped into intellectual peer cohorts during core subject instruction. The homogeneous grouping in core classes allows gifted students to challenge one another through debate, critique, and higher-level questioning. These groupings also provide highly gifted students the academic challenge and social/emotional support needed to ensure their growth as multifaceted people. All students at Morey are in mixed program groups during electives, advisory, lunch and recess, and all other activities. This heterogeneous grouping allows students at various instructional levels to work together, build community, and focus on personal responsibility.

Our teachers utilize gifted best practices such as compacting, depth and complexity, socratic seminars, open-ended questioning. We offer subject acceleration, particularly in math. In the spring, our students participate in Passion Projects as a part of their gifted programming. Students have access to numerous highly skilled support staff and social emotional curriculum to support their affective needs. 

Identification of Gifted/Highly Gifted and Talented Students in DPS

All students in DPS are screened for cognitive abilities three times throughout their education – in Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 6th grade. Currently, DPS uses the NNAT3, a timed, multiple choice measure of abstract and visual-spatial reasoning skills, to collect universal screening data. 

Additionally, students, parents, and teachers can nominate students for CogAT testing which is offered in the fall and in the spring of each year that the NNAT is not given. The CogAT qualifies students based on their scores in quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and visual special abilities. The three areas are considered individually so students may have qualifying scores in one area or multiple areas from this assessment.

These tests are just one part of the picture for identification of gifted students, as gifted identification is an ongoing process. Denver Public Schools follows the ECEA guidelines for identification, where a body of evidence is gathered for each student and that evidence is reviewed and evaluated by a highly qualified team to determine the educational needs of the student and the most suitable level of gifted support. Depending on the complete review of the body of evidence, your child may or may not qualify for gifted services. 

For more detailed information on the identification process, or for questions about your child’s unique situation, please refer to the DPS GT department website or reach out to Ms Perry at



Magnet Eligible (ME): a student designation that means the child has a qualifying cognitive score in the 95th percentile or above and is eligible to attend an HGT Magnet school in DPS. ME students do not have an Advanced Learning Plan until their school’s GT representative has collected enough evidence for formal identification as HGT.

Highly Gifted (HGT): a student who has been identified according to Colorado state law and their body of evidence includes a qualifying cognitive score in the 95th percentile or above making them eligible to attend an HGT Magnet school in DPS. HGT students have an Advanced Learning Plan.

Gifted (GT): a student who is identified as a gifted (GT) according to Colorado state law and has an Advanced Learning Plan to support their learning. GT students in DPS do not have a qualifying cognitive score which means they are not ME or HGT and are not eligible to attend an HGT magnet school.