Our mission is to educate all learners to reach their full potential as contributing and productive members of our ever-changing global community.

Gifted & Talented

The mission of Prior Lake Savage Area Schools is to educate all learners to reach their full potential as contributing and productive members of our ever-changing global community.

The best learning happens when students are challenged just beyond what they can do easily, but that point is different for each learner and that point can change over time. With that understanding, we strive to meet the individual needs of students, as well as develop the traits and competencies that support lifelong learning.
Gifted and Talented Specialists work with classroom teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, and students across our K-12 system to focus on the individual needs of each of our learners as they grow toward realizing their full potential. Over time, students may access Gifted and Talented services in one or more ways depending on their needs.
At all levels, Gifted and Talented Specialists monitor student data to assess growth and to support instructional planning.

Initial Identification

As part of Gifted and Talented Services, the district annually administers the CogAT Form 7 Screening Form to all second graders. Based on the results of the screener, students who meet criteria are identified to complete the full CogAT. Full CogAT results, along with other measures, including MAP Math and Reading scores, are used to determine formal Gifted and Talented identification.


All learners have different interests, talents, and needs. Gifted and Talented Specialists in Prior Lake Savage Area elementary schools work in collaboration with classroom teachers to support students who are ready to be challenged.

Through the use of instructional strategies, students work at the level that is right for them with opportunities to connect their interests and talents with the standards they are working to master. Students may also have the opportunity to engage in extensions, enrichments, and special interest projects as they grow to be self-directed learners.

Social and Emotional Needs
Advanced learners often have unique social and emotional needs. Gifted and Talented Specialists and classroom teachers help students develop strategies to recognize and monitor their unique needs including perfectionism, worry, anxiety, stress, self-esteem, peer relationships, and executive functioning.

SAGE Academy
SAGE Academy offers full-time, school-within-a-school, programming to students in grades 3-5 who have met identification criteria. SAGE Academy focuses on daily, ongoing differentiation, curriculum modification, and acceleration.

At SAGE Academy programming is designed to:

  • Deliver rigorous, developmentally appropriate curriculum utilizing differentiation, compacting and deeper investigation;
  • Emphasize critical and abstract thinking and logical reasoning skills;
  • Provide an environment that celebrates curiosity, self-direction and a love of learning;
  • Advocate for student needs in all areas of social, emotional and affective development.

Middle School

Gifted and Talented Services at Twin Oaks and Hidden Oaks Middle Schools supports the development of learners as they work to grow and develop their talents, explore their interests, and master academic standards. Students may also have the opportunity to engage in extensions, enrichments, and special interest projects as they grow to be self-directed learners.

 The Gifted and Talented Specialist supports classroom teachers as they utilize instructional strategies and curriculum that allows students to design and extend their learning to meet and exceed grade-level standards, question different perspectives, and develop the traits and competencies of lifelong learners.

Advanced Courses
For middle school students who meet entrance criteria (90% or greater on NWEA MAP assessments), they may elect to challenge themselves further by taking advanced classes. The middle schools offer advanced classes in English, Math, Science and Social Studies. For students who meet criteria, Math acceleration is also available.

Social and Emotional Needs
During adolescence, cognitive, emotional, and physical development often proceed at different rates. To meet these differing needs, affective support is embedded within the school day.

High School

Students at Prior Lake High School have a broad range of opportunities to challenge themselves academically as they explore and pursue their interests and talents.

The Gifted and Talented Specialist supports students by connecting them to school resources and, as needed, assisting with academic planning. 

Honors/Pre-AP Courses
Advanced Courses in English, Science, Social Studies, History and Math are designed to cover the same outcomes and curriculum as general courses, with variations in pacing, depth and complexity of study. The challenge offered by a course should provide a sufficient amount of rigor with the probability of success, and result in academic growth and confidence building. To match students’ academic readiness and needs with the most appropriate classroom setting, a placement consideration process is used to determine which students would be placed in each Advanced Course sequence.

Advanced Placement Courses
Students in Advanced Placement (AP) courses use college-level resources to learn college-level content, but do it in the setting of the high school with specially-trained high school teachers. AP courses challenge learners to sharpen their academic skills, think critically, and engage deeply in topics of interest. Each spring, students have the opportunity to take AP Exams to possibly earn college credit.
Click here to learn more about Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Hybrid/Online Courses
Hybrid/Online courses are intended to support students in attaining future-ready skills. Teachers will meet with students periodically each week, while students also participate in class online. The curriculum and outcomes for hybrid courses are the same as general courses---only the delivery method is different. These courses are currently only open to juniors and seniors 

The Minnesota Center for Advanced Professional Studies (MNCAPS) program is a nationally recognized, innovative high school program. Students fast-forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real-world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school and college credit. MNCAPS is open to all juniors and seniors.
Click here to learn more about MNCAPS.