Gwinnett County Schools

Gwinnett County Public Schools operates its gifted programs through its office of Accelerated Programs and Gifted Education.

Who gets tested for gifted services?

Students may be referred for gifted evaluation by their teachers, parents or peers, or on the basis of standardized test scores.

How are students tested?

Students take a series of tests to evaluate their mental ability, achievement, creativity and motivation. An eligibility team reviews the test results to determine if the student should be placed in the gifted program.

How are gifted students served?

At the elementary school level, students in the gifted program — known as FOCUS —  receive gifted instruction through resource, cluster, or advanced content models.

Gifted education is called PROBE at the middle-school level and QUEST at the high-school level. At both of these levels, gifted instruction consists of advanced-content classes. High-school students also may take Advanced Placement or directed studies classes, or arrange internships.

What’s the policy for acceleration?

The school system web site doesn’t seem to have an acceleration policy. However, I found this on the web page of one Gwinnett County elementary school:

“Students will be considered for acceleration on a case-by-case basis. The student being considered should be demonstrating high achievement on or above the grade level curriculum in the grade being considered for acceleration. The expectation is students will be achieving at the same level in their new grade as in their old one. Extremely high achievement should be evident in the student’s work, classroom assessments, curriculum-based assessments and normative-based assessments. Social and emotional factors, as well as placement of older siblings, will be considered.”

What other options might be good for gifted students?

International Baccalaureate schools

International Baccalaureate (IB) is a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes both academic and personal achievement.

Gwinnett’s IB schools are:

Charter school for math and science

The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology is a charter high school in Lawrenceville, established in 2007. Gwinnett County students can apply for admission in the fall of their 8th-grade year. Spaces are assigned through a lottery held in the spring semester.

Other resources

The Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education (GAGE) is an active chapter of the Georgia Association for Gifted Children. GAGE offers seminars and workshops for parents and teachers.

A special note for Buford residents

Residents within the Buford city limits are served by Buford City Schools.

This page was updated on July 24, 2020. If you find errors in the links or the information presented, please submit a correction using the Contact page on this site. Thank you.

  1. freshdew
    June 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Can you pleasr lust d ib schools in lawrenville ga. I’ve bern looking for some information on that.

    • June 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      If I understand what you’ve typed, you want to know what IB schools are in Lawrenceville? The International Baccalaureate web site does not list any IB schools in Lawrenceville. If you want to find the closest IB school to you, you can use the search tool on their web site:

  2. Carmen Gilley
    August 6, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Hello, I have a question,
    Are the stem gifted programs for Duluth middle school the same as AC programs like probe in Duluth middle school?
    Is the content different?
    Thank you.

    • August 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      I’m afraid I don’t know. Have you considered calling the school to ask?

  3. Carmen Gilley
    August 6, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Yes, I’m afraid I must.

  4. Katie
    April 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    I have a question, if my child is in gifted for all classes in elementary school, will she be in probe classes for middle school? Please reply as soon as you can. Thank you.

    • April 19, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      I am not very familiar with the Gwinnett school system, so I can’t say for sure. I do know that Georgia requires that all students who have been identified as gifted (as your child clearly has been) be provided with gifted services. I suggest that you pose your question to an administrator at the middle school, or call the Gwinnett County gifted office.

  5. Monique
    May 13, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Does anybody know much about Fort Daniel Elementary, Osborne Middle and Mill Creek High? We have been looking in Suwanee for over a year but the market is super compeitive so we decided to expand our search.We’ve found a home that were interested in buying in that cluster. We have a 4 year old (not schedule to start kindergarten until 8/2017) who is “off the charts smart” per his preschool teacher. He is already reading on a second grade level amongst other things. We want to make sure he attends a school where is challenged and stimulated. We also want an environment that would cultivate his creativity. Any insight you can share will be extremely appreciated

  6. October 10, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    This article was really helpful. I had no idea that an IB certified student coming out of High School could receive sophomore status when entering some colleges.

  7. Sabina Chowdhury
    December 2, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Where can I find a list of Gwinnett county
    QUEST /STEM High school listings?

    • December 5, 2016 at 9:30 am

      I don’t know of a list. If you go to the main GCPS web site (follow the link on the Gwinnett page on this site) and then click on SCHOOLS, you can find a list of all high schools and look at them one by one. My gut says that QUEST would be offered in ALL high schools, since Georgia law requires that every gifted student have access to gifted education, and QUEST is the main form of gifted ed at the high-school level. As for STEM, I’m afraid I don’t know how many schools offer that.

  8. Rolene Armour
    April 24, 2017 at 10:44 am

    If your child was tested and told they did not qualify, should you not be given reason and/test results?

    • April 27, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      I don’t know Gwinnett’s protocol on that. Sorry.

  9. Porcia Richardson-Spears
    August 12, 2020 at 6:45 am

    Are there any options for Kindergartners? I have a 5 year old that is reading chapter books and working on step digit addition and subtraction with understanding the concept of multiplication. Even though we supplement his learning a lot, I’m really nervous that he will not be challenged with his class mates just mastering reading and counting from 1-100.

    • August 12, 2020 at 12:18 pm

      I think your concerns are reasonable, given your son’s abilities and what the standard kindergarten curriculum is. It may take some work on your part to get gifted services during the kindergarten year. As the parent, you can “refer” your child to be evaluated, rather than waiting for the school to select him for evaluation. Contact your school’s principal to start that process. In ordinary times, a child referred by their parent should be evaluated using a series of tests for achievement, motivation, etc., but I’m not sure how an evaluation can be done while school is in virtual-only mode. In the meantime, I suggest you start a non-confrontational dialogue with your son’s teacher, letting them know that your child is ahead of the standard curriculum, and asking what strategies they (and you) can use to keep him challenged. These conversations tend to go best if you position yourself and the teacher as teammates, not adversaries. Certainly, be on the lookout for boredom, but you may be pleasantly surprised — the novelty of school itself may be more engaging for your son than you expect.

    • Monique Champagne
      August 12, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Hi, Portia. My 2 boys are in the same boat. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I jave a 1st grader and 3rd grader. Unfortunately, GCPS doesn’t provide gifted services until the end 1at grade. They use the Cogat and ITBS scores to decide who is eligible for gifted testing. At that point, the students have to pass a series of additional tests before they’re admitted into the FOCUS program. My 3rd grader is in FOCUS and the experience has been very underwhelming. I am not impressed. Each school has the authority to implement the FOCUS program according to the resources they have available. It seems that for the most part, all elementary schools run the same model. They have a part time gifted teacher who works with the FOCUS kids 2 hrs a week. 1 hr is a pull out session where they do math and critical thinking and the other hr, the gifted teacher pushes in and works with them on critical thinking in a group in their classroom. There’s no support for reading but both of my sons did get pulIed into 1st grade classrooms for reading towards the latter part of K because I asked what was being done to chanllenge them for literacy. They used socialization as a reason for why they couldn’t do it at the beginning of the year. I don’t know how GCPS plans to address gifted evaluation this year, but we have withdrawn and are homeschooling. It was the best option for us. I’d encourage you to call Dr. Keena Ryals-Jenkins at (678) 301-7020. She’s the Director of Accelerated Programs and Gifted Education at GCPS. We need a push at the district level to get more done for our gifted children. When we spoke, she shared that it was up to the local school, but clearly the local schools lack resources.

      • August 12, 2020 at 12:52 pm

        Thank you for this helpful information! Yes, so much depends on the individual school and its administration. I think this is true in all counties, not just Gwinnett. Some principals and gifted lead teachers are more open to adapting the typical structure for atypical kids. Some aren’t. Monique, it sounds like you are a great advocate for your kids.

  10. tucker mom
    June 23, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    I would like to know the name of tests that required for gifted class of kindergarten and how many test they need to pass? What kind of class will help them for gifted class?

    • June 23, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      If I understand your question, you have a child who is entering kindergarten, and you want to know what tests they’re given to be placed in the gifted program in kindergarten. (I hope I haven’t misunderstood, but if so, please clarify.) If that is indeed what you’re asking, students aren’t tested until AFTER they have enrolled in school. The testing would be done during their kindergarten year. Based on my own experiences, which were not in Gwinnett County but in another county’s public schools, the testing doesn’t happen until later in the fall semester. Because of the time it takes to give the tests and then score them, kindergartners usually don’t start in a gifted class until spring semester.

      As far as the names of the tests and how many they need to pass, I suggest you review this page:

      If you want more information, you can call the phone number listed there.

      As to your question, “What kind of class will help them for gifted class,” I interpret that to mean that you want to know how you can prepare your child for the testing to give them a better chance of scoring well on the tests. (Again, if I’ve misunderstood what you’re asking, please clarify.) I’m sure preparatory programs exist, because I read all the time about parents having their kids tutored to prepare for those high-stakes entrance exams in New York — where gifted services aren’t guaranteed, so students have to qualify for a gifted SCHOOL to get gifted services, and the spaces are very limited. However, it’s not something I have any information about.

    • Giftedmama
      June 30, 2021 at 12:24 am

      I would recommend calling your child’s school to see how they handle testing for giftedness. To my knowledge Gwinnett doesn’t test in kindergarten. My son was tested in first grade. All first graders take the ITBS and Cogat. They use the scores from these tests to identify students who are eligible for further testing. If your child does well on the additional tests, you’ll be contacted. This was a very long, drawn out process. My son wasn’t identified until the spring semester of 1st grade. He started receiving services after spring break right before school ended. Again, talk to your child’s teacher to see what the process looks like at your school. As a kindergartner, my son was going into the 1st grade class for reading and math before he was identified as gifted because I advocated for him since gifted services were not available in kindergarten. The teacher agreed that he needed more support and we were able to get something worked out. In my opinion, it still wasn’t enough, but it was better than nothing.

      • July 1, 2021 at 12:16 pm

        Thank you, Giftedmama!

  11. CHSMom
    March 27, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    Hi, we’re moving to Atlanta area this summer and my son is going into Grade 3 this September. He’s currently in gifted class in SC (they used Cogat and ISTB), and was wondering if there will be an assessment in Grade 3 for Gwinett County schools.

    • March 27, 2023 at 4:56 pm

      I’m not sure what the assessment schedule is in Gwinnett County. Even if they do an assessment every year, by the time the assessment is completed, it could easily be January or even March, as there are multiple steps in the process.

      This is what the county’s gifted office says on its web page: “Students who transfer from out of state must meet Georgia requirements. Parents should notify the school of their interest in the gifted education program at the time of registration. The gifted program teacher at the local school will review the student’s educational records and discuss the records with the parents. For more information, contact the local school or call the Gifted Program office at (678) 301-7020.”

      As I read this, I think it could mean that if your son has qualifying scores on tests that Gwinnett accepts, they can admit him to the gifted program for when he enters in the fall. So, I think your first step should be contacting the gifted coordinator at the school he’ll be enrolled in next year, and I would do that immediately. I hope it all goes smoothly.

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