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Advanced Learning/Gifted Education

Gifted education in our schools recognizes that each child deserves an educational experience that will promote the development of his or her potential.  In order to facilitate the maximum development of each child’s potential, all learners are provided with differentiated and challenging instruction.  This occurs within the classroom as well as through a variety of extension and enrichment opportunities that may happen beyond the walls of the classroom.  Teachers and others who work with identified gifted students should be aware of the unique characteristics and learning styles of the gifted. A focus on providing advanced learning opportunities for all children is accomplished through a collaboration with teachers and the Advanced Learning Specialist at each of the elementary and middle schools.
Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted, 2017-2022


Advanced Learning Specialists


Elementary Schools (K-5)


Harrisonburg City Public Schools use a Collaboration Model in our six elementary schools to serve identified gifted students and students demonstrating potential for advanced learning in the areas of English (language arts) and mathematics.  The purpose of this model is to help teachers meet the needs of advanced learners through collaborative planning with the Advanced Learning Specialist.  Each of the specialists are encouraged to “push-in” to classrooms to provide more opportunities for more children.  Identified students are grouped with their academic peers in cluster groups in specified regular education classrooms. Opportunities for advanced learning are offered to students through I-STEM units and Shared Inquiry (Junior Great Books).


Bluestone Elementary - Courtney Sokolowski


Keister Elementary - Jackie Gulino


Smithland Elementary - Sarah Lopacinski


Spotswood Elementary - Tonia Compillo


Stone Spring Elementary - Lynette Latham


Waterman Elementary - Diana Ferguson


Middle Schools (6-8)


Harrisonburg City Public Schools provides advance learning opportunities in our two middle schools through course offerings (Advanced English, Advanced Mathematics), STEM, high school credit courses (including Algebra, Geometry, Art, Band, Drama, Technology, Choir, and Spanish)  and enrichment opportunities beyond the school day. 

Harrisonburg City Public Schools use a Collaboration Model in both of our middle schools to serve identified gifted students and students demonstrating potential for advanced learning.  The purpose of this model is to help teachers meet the needs of advanced learners through collaborative planning with the Advanced Learning Specialist.  Each of the specialists are encouraged to “push- in” to classrooms to provide more opportunities for more children. Identified students are grouped with their academic peers in cluster groups.


Skyline Middle School - Judie McNett


Thomas Harrison Middle School - Stephanie Wilson


High School  (9-12)


Harrisonburg City Schools provides all students at our high school with opportunities to realize their full potential.  Advanced Placement courses are open to any student with the motivation and desire to work hard.  Virtual Virginia online courses are available for AP courses not offered on site.


An opportunity to apply for participation at Massanutten Regional Governor’s School, a half-day full year academic Governor’s School, is one of the many governor’s school experiences in which our high schoolers can participate. MRGS is located in Mt. Jackson and students attend during their junior and senior year.


Summer Residential, Visual and Performing Arts Summer Residential and Valley Ridge Regional are other governor schools to which students can apply.  For more information on the Governor’s Schools, please contact Lisa Warren at Harrisonburg High School.


Division Advanced Learning Coordinator


Jeremy Weaver, Executive Director of Elementary Education