The Special Program for Academic and Creative Excellence (SPACE) began in 1979. Students were first identified in grades four and five and in 1981 the program expanded to include the elementary grades of second and third. Today SPACE classes are held in all of our elementary and middle schools.

    SPACE teachers identify students for this gifted program at the end of grade one or the beginning of grade two. Teachers work with identified students, at the elementary level, once a week for two to two and a half hours. Currently we have ten elementary SPACE teachers who serve students in all of the city elementary schools. In our middle schools identifies students may take the SPACE class during their elective period.

    Students in the SPACE program are identified using multiple criteria in accordance with VDOE guidelines.


    Launching Pad

    Launching Pad is the program designed to identify students in kindergarten and first grade as having high ability. These characteristics can include: advanced vocabulary for the student's age; outstanding memory, curiosity and asking endless questions; having many interests or hobbies; perceives subtle cause and effect relationships; preference to complex tasks, and requesting more challenging work.

    The Launching Pad teachers are assigned to all elementary schools. They work in schools for several weeks to identify students, work with them on high level tasks, and leave activities for teachers to use with these students during the school year.

    Students are identified for this program using the following assessment tools:

    • Teacher recommendation(s)
    • Student work examples
    • An ability assessment
    • An achievement assessment
    • A creativity measure