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Advanced Academic Services (AAS)

General Overview

In ACPS, we believe all students have the fundamental right to an education that promotes the development of their potential. Each child has a unique profile of academic strengths and abilities. ACPS is committed to providing challenging learning experiences for all students that build on individual strengths and optimize abilities, including Advanced Academic Services (AAS), formally known as Talented and Gifted Services.

Grades K-3: General Intellectual Aptitude (GIA)

General Intellectual Aptitude services are enriched and integrated classroom activities designed to enhance creativity and problem solving without being specifically tied to one subject area.

Grades 3*-5: Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA)  

*For current 3rd graders, a referral is required to be screened for 4th Grade SAA services which begin in the 2024-25 school year.

  • Math and Language Arts: Direct instruction from a teacher specializing in teaching talented and gifted children with an enriched or accelerated curriculum and significantly above grade-level expectations.
  • Science and Social Studies: Differentiated Educational Plans (DEPs) outline individual enrichment and extension activities to be completed in the general education classroom.
Grades 6-12: Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA)

Students in middle school and high school have access to online courses, Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes, independent study, Dual-Enrollment in college courses, or access to summer residential Governor's School.

Young Scholars (K–8)

The Young Scholars Model is designed to help identify students from historically underrepresented populations for gifted services. The model provides additional opportunity to nurture talent and build confidence so that students can meet their potential. The goal is to prepare Young Scholars for challenging courses and success in the future. The Young Scholars model supports the notion of providing equity of opportunity to students so that any child who has an exceptional ability to think, reason, and problem-solve will be able to participate in advanced academic classes.

There are no referrals needed for Young Scholars. Schools take the lead on identifying students.

The Universal Screening Process/Automatic Referrals

ACPS casts a wide net for automatic referrals for Tier III Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA) services in mathematics and language arts. As part of ACPS’s universal screening process, an automatic referral will be submitted for the following students: 

Grade 3 students who meet one of the following criteria: 

  • Students with an ability score (Cognitive Abilities Test or Nagerli Nonverbal Abilities test ) in the 85th percentile or higher on any subtest of a nationally normed ability test. 

  • Students with a recent achievement score in the 85th percentile or higher on any subtest of a nationally normed achievement test (Winter MAP scores).

  • Students who are in the top 15% of their school grade level on a gifted rating scale 

  • All Young Scholars students  

  • All students eligible for GIA services 

Grades 4-5 students will be automatically referred if eligible for Young Scholars.

Overview of AAS Program Screening Process

Current Grade

Referral Window Opens

Referral Deadline for the Current School Year

Parent/Guardian eligibility notification will occur by: 

Grades 5-8 Tier III- SAA Services*

August 21, 2023

By September 30, 2023

By November 1, 2023

Any ACPS student in Grades K-7

October 1, 2023

By January 31, 2024

By May 15, 2024

New students to ACPS in Grades 4-8

First Day of Entry

Within 30 days of enrollment

Within 90 days of the Permission to Screen form signed

Screening Timeline Update (3/13/24): Families of students who had a referral submitted for K-3 General Intellectual Aptitude (GIA) or Grades 4-8 Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA) services will be notified of eligibility by April 19, 2024. Current Grade 3 students going through the Grade 4 SAA eligibility process will receive notification by May 15, 2024.

Additional Information Can be Found Here:  

Who can be eligible for the AAS Program?

A student who shows evidence of advanced performance and academic potential, including all ACPS students, K-12, all genders, cultures and backgrounds, all English Language Learners and students receiving specialized services.

ACPS believes that students among all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups should be provided with an education that enables them to achieve excellence, developing their abilities to the fullest.

Contact Information

Megan Tempel-Milner, Ph.D., Director of Advanced Academic Programs (K-12)

Alexandria City Public Schools
1340 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314

Contact Information

Mashari Whitfield
Elementary Instructional Specialist for Advanced Academic Services (Grades K-5)
(703) 619-8193

Christie Goodman
Secondary Instructional Specialist for Advanced Academic Services (Grades 6-12)