Gifted Education

Students Studying Flags

The Columbus Municipal School District provides a program of enrichment for intellectually gifted students in second through eighth grade. This program is called "SPIRIT" (Seeking to Provide Individual Release of Intellectual Talent). Students in grades 2-6 spend a minimum of 4 hours per week in the gifted "pull-out" program and the rest of the week in their general education classrooms.


The mission of the Columbus Municipal School District program for intellectually gifted is to create a learning environment that fosters and encourages thinking, creativity, metacognition, healthy enriching relationships, and appropriate expectations and understanding of self.


  • To provide qualitatively, differentiated, and challenging learning beyond the regular curriculum through in-depth enrichment in order to develop and maintain our students' commitment to the love of learning as a lifelong process.
  • To help students through self-awareness, better understand themselves, develop social interest, and a feeling of belonging in order to assist them in reaching their full potential.
  • To help students develop independence and self-direction, to challenge them through various activities, and mentors to help them become productive citizens of society.

Students Talking about Art projects


To develop skills in creativity, thinking, communication, research, group dynamics, self-directed learning, career exploration and life choices, and the visual/performing arts.

Identification Process

A student may be referred by a parent, teacher, counselor, administrator, peer, self, or anyone else having reason to believe that the student might be intellectually gifted.

Assessment for new students and students in grades 2-6 is ongoing, year-round.

The annual referral of first grade students begins January 1. First grade students who are eligible will begin classes in the fall of their second grade year.

Referral Criteria

A student shall satisfy a minimum of three of the following criteria before moving forward in the identification process:

  • A score at or above the 90th percentile on a group measure of intelligence that has been administered within the past 12 months
  • A score at or above the superior range on a normed published characteristics of giftedness checklist
  • A score at or above the superior range on a normed published measure of creativity
  • A score at or above the superior range on a normed published measure of leadership
  • A score at or above the 90th percentile on total language, total math, total reading, total science, total social studies, or the composite on a normed achievement test
  • A score at or above the 90th percentile on a normed measure of cognitive ability
  • A score at or above the 90th percentile on an existing measure of individual intelligence that has been administered within the past 12 months
  • Other measures that are documented in the research on identification of intellectually gifted students

A Mississippi eligibility ruling for gifted MUST be secured on all students served.

Students with documented evidence of previous participation in a gifted program in another state or country must be assessed according to Mississippi criteria. Once a student has been recognized as gifted, there is no need to be reevaluated to benefit from gifted programs offered at other grade levels.

Students building projects

Eligibility Determination

The district uses its own Local Survey Committee to determine gifted eligibility. This committee is a district committee that meets regularly. The committee adheres to the Mississippi Department of Education's required criteria (evidence of at least three of the required criteria PLUS an individual norm-referenced intelligence test with a minimal score at the 91st percentile) to warrant a ruling of ELIGIBLE.


A student may be retested within the same referral period on a different intelligence test if the required score is within the confidence intervals on any of the IQ scores of the first intelligence test administered. A required waiting period of at least three (3) months must expire before a student who was previously ruled ineligible may be referred again.

Students may be tested a maximum of two times at the expense of the school district. A child who has been found to be ineligible twice through district-administered testing may be tested privately, at the expense of the parent. Test results showing evidence of eligibility as a result of a private administration of testing will be accepted if (1) the child met all referral and assessment criteria within the accepted timelines and (2) there is proof that the person administering the test possesses the proper licensure.

Contact Information

Principals can give information relative to program offerings at individual buildings.

Copies of the state's regulation are available at the Brandon Central Services Center upon request.

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