Gifted Program

MS gifted students using electrical cords and fruit  to create power
MS student with long hair holding a butterfly
students working in front of green screen

In order to meet the needs of more than just the identified gifted students, CVMS's gifted program focuses on a tiered enrichment model:

1.)    Tier One enrichment activities are those that are open to all students in Chartiers Valley Middle School.   Announcements are made publically and signs are posted.  Teachers in core subjects related to the activity are asked to inform their students of the activity and encourage those who might be especially interested to sign up.  These activities take place either in the class or during resource periods.  Students are pulled out of class occasionally to work on some of these projects.

*Recommended student enrichment resources have been developed and are also available for all students and parents including recommended book lists and A/V resource lists.

Examples of Tier One enrichment activities:

  • Pittsburgh Public Theater’s Shakespeare Scene and Monologue Competition Students learn the basics of some of Shakespeare’s greatest works while working individually or in groups to prepare a monologue or scene for competition.   Students work with the gifted teacher to read and analyze the text of their monologue so that they understand what they are saying.  Students hone their public speaking abilities and work with actors from Pittsburgh Public Theater.  They are given feedback and tips on public speaking/acting (20 students)
  • Outdoor Club Events
  • CVMS Creative Writing Competition
  • Maker Space Events
  • Scratch Game Design Competition and Sessions
  • Chess Sessions Occasionally organized I and E Chess Tournaments 
  • CVMS’ Battle of the BooksStudents read a large number of award winning fiction and non-fiction books and compete against their peers to answer questions on the book. 
  • Occasional Guest Speakers


2.)    Tier Two enrichment activities are those activities that, due to their nature, must be limited to a smaller number of gifted and talented students.  Students who are not identified as gifted but have been noted by a teacher  as talented in a particular area are offered the chance to participate.  Generally all gifted are given the opportunity as well.  The process for identifying talent, though difficult, consists of using a matrix developed with student scores for subjects with such information available, and teacher recommendations.  Behavior is also considered.  These activities take place in the regular classroom, during resource, in gifted class, or students are pulled out of their regularly scheduled class.

Examples of Tier Two enrichment activities:

  • 8th Grade CVMS Media Team - Student News
  • Small group regular class enrichment activities with gifted coordinatorExamples:
    • A select group of twenty 8th grade students were pulled out of their reading classes to work with the gifted coordinator on an alternative assignment.  After studying background to WWII,  nuclear energy, and the development of the atomic bomb, students read Steve Sheinkin's book Bomb. In small groups, students experienced a high-level Socratic seminar and debate after they answered probing questions.  Students were given a writing assignment or open creative project as a culminating activity.  They are given a grade in reading for these activities.
  • Calcu-solve math competition 
  • Math Olympiad SessionsStudents compete to answer challenging math word problems.  Problems can be solved multiple ways and this completion is a fitting addition to the high level of problem solving expected by the new math core.  (30 students)
  • 8th grade FLL Robotics Team 
  • Faraday Chemistry Lecture 40 students (6-8) travelled to Oakland to see an exciting science lecture given by a University of California professor.
  • 8th grade Mock Trial Students learn the basics of the justice system while competing against high performing schools (Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, Hampton, etc.) on a high school level trial.  This event challenges their ability to read challenging non-fiction, write, and speak. Students are given individualized feedback from a lawyer.  (16 students 2013, 32 students 2014)
  • Wojanis Hydraulics Engineering Competition: Fluid PowerThis is a competition that encourages middle school students to solve an engineering problem using fluid power. Each team submits their design and then they must build their machine and prepare for the timed competition.  This is done through Tech Ed.
  • Adapted assignments and vocab.  Challenge assignmentsOn certain tests, students are given more challenging materials to match their needs.  For example: students can pre-test out of lower level vocabulary in English or easier map tests in geography.  They are given more advanced tests to challenge their knowledge and their ability to study and prepare for tests.   Challenge assignments are offered as well as more choice matrices for homework.
  • Advanced writing assistance
  • Honors classes in mathematics. 


3.)     Tier Three enrichment activities are those activities open only to formally identified gifted students.  The activities are done during the scheduled period for gifted class.  No grades are given for these assignments.  These activities are listed as goals in GIEP documents and progress is noted in yearly GIEPs.

Examples of Tier Three enrichment activities (This list does not include all activities as activities can change from year to year.):

6th Grade examples:

  • Hummingbird Robotics Project Utilizing Scratch and Snap! Programming
  • Read books.  Past Examples:  Tesla's Attic, The President has Been Shot, and Wonder.

7th Grade examples:

  • Four novels including Andromeda Strain, Between Shades of Gray, and The Book Thief.
  • Student created educational documentary on topic of choice
  • Engineering challenges: Egg Drop, Balsa Wood Bridge, Steam Boat, Rockets
  • Neuroscience Unit and Paper

8th Grade examples:

  • 15-minute long lesson presentation on a topic of choice.
  • Debate and Public Speaking Unit
  • Python Computer Science Unit
  • Four challenging books including Destiny of the Republic, Bomb, And Then There Were None