Gifted services are available in Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) at all levels through both school-based and citywide programs. At all levels, gifted students are provided instruction through a differentiated curriculum that is responsive to the academic and social and emotional needs of the student. Program options are available to gifted students at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

VBCPS identifies students in the areas of:

  • General Intellectual Aptitude (advanced aptitudes demonstrated by skills and creative expression in general intellectual ability); and
  • Visual and Performing Arts Aptitude (specific aptitudes in selected visual or performing arts demonstrated by skills and creative expression and excelling consistently in the development of a product or performance in any of the visual and/or performing arts).

For more information about school-based services and citywide application-based programs, view the gifted education webpages for the elementary school level, middle school level and high school level.

Screening and Testing

To ensure consideration for intellectual gifted services, all first-grade and fifth-grade students enrolled in VBCPS are screened for possible gifted intellectual program identification. Assessment specialists from the division’s Gifted Education Testing Office administer screening for first-graders in October through December and for fifth-graders in September or October. Based on screening results, students may be referred for further testing with parent/guardian permission. Visit the Screening FAQs webpage for more details about the process.

Any parent/guardian may initiate testing for gifted services (intellectual, visual arts, dance education) by submitting an online application available at A teacher, peer, student response team or any person who has knowledge of the student's abilities may also initiate an application for gifted services testing by contacting the gifted resource teacher (GRT) at the student’s neighborhood school. Students may be tested for gifted programs one time within a school year.

Once a completed application has been submitted, the student’s teacher of record is contacted to submit a Teacher Information Form for the student. An application for gifted visual arts testing will automate your child’s art teacher information. An application for gifted dance education testing does not require teacher information. Parents/guardians will be contacted with more information about scheduled testing/assessment, auditions or the full-day art assessments for selected students.

Parents/guardians with questions about intellectual gifted testing should email Martha Palmer or call 757.263.6870. For questions about gifted dance education or gifted visual arts testing, please contact Old Donation School at 757.648.3240.

Identification and Placement

Once a student has been tested, data are compiled and forwarded to an identification and placement committee that determines eligibility for gifted services. Eligibility for gifted services is determined through the review of multiple criteria, including:

  • Academic achievement
  • Achievement test scores
  • Teacher information
  • Parent information
  • Ability test scores
  • Audition or portfolio (visual and performing arts programs)

Parents/guardians are notified of the committee's decision by email.

Change in Program Placement

Students who are identified for gifted services retain their identification from the point of identification until graduation. It is the philosophy of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools that students need learning experiences based on their readiness level, their interest and their learning profile. Because a continuum of services and varied delivery models are offered, gifted services are dynamic and fluid. Parents/guardians may request that the students not take part in the gifted services that are offered. This is a school-level decision that is facilitated by the parents/guardians, teacher(s), principal and gifted resource teacher. When this occurs, parents/guardians write a letter requesting the change in service. This letter is then placed in the student’s file. The student maintains eligibility for gifted services and has the opportunity to take part in activities offered by the gifted program as feasible. Gifted staff remain in contact with the student and parent/guardian to make service modifications and disseminate program information, as needed.

At Old Donation School, support and intervention processes have been put in place. These plans provide opportunities for students to develop strategies to be successful in the event they experience difficulties. Rarely, a change in placement of where students receive gifted services may result. When this occurs, the Senior Executive Director for Middle Schools will be notified in writing. However, students do not exit the gifted program. Every area of service (resource cluster, Old Donation School and resource model at the high school level) consistently assesses the needs of the students and modifications are made accordingly. There is an emphasis on the transition points, elementary to middle, middle to high and neighborhood school to select school, to ensure that students meet with success to minimize a need for a change in services.

Contact Information

Office of K-12 and Gifted Programs