Center for Academically Talented Students (CATS)


    District Philosophy
    The Northwest School District is committed to providing education that promotes the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth of each individual child within the borders of the district.

    The District recognizes that some students have special needs that require a differentiated approach in order to meet those needs. Among them are students classified as gifted, whose mental capacity and learning potential are such that they require services beyond the level of those ordinarily provided.

    Gifted Program Philosophy
    Northwest acknowledges that able students require stimulation that is unique from that received by their peers; but it is our contention that these students cannot be isolated from their peers. Our program is designed to provide appropriate stimulation for these students while requiring them to function with their peers during the majority of the school week.

    The guiding focus of CATS is to provide the gifted child with opportunities to explore, experience, and express. Activities and opportunities are structured to assist the student in assessing and capitalizing upon the unique abilities, talents, interests, and needs which represent him/her as a person. Differentiated materials and tasks foster divergent thinking.  The emphasis of the program is on learning processes that will guide the student toward a life of learning and productive, responsible citizenship.

    The gifted education program services approximately 410 academically talented students.


    Program Descriptions

    Kindergarten students may go through the identification process.  If they qualify, they will receive gifted services starting in first grade.  

    Elementary School
    The elementary component, grades 1-5, consists of a full day of attendance in the CATS class each week.  

    Middle School
    Students in grades 6-8 participate in the CATS program through a compacted social studies class.  Grades are shown on progress reports and report cards.

    High School
    At the high school, freshmen receive services through a Gifted Problem Solving course, while sophomores and juniors have Gifted Honors English II and III. Seniors are served via the weekly Advisory period with a focus on scholarship opportunities, college applications, and essay development.

Gifted Education Teachers

  • NHS
  • Valley and Woodridge Middle Schools
  • Valley Middle School
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