High Ability Services

Southmont Schools began the rigorous redevelopment of our high ability program in Spring, 2014. A more robust, consistent and researched-based identification system, along with program-specific classes at a centralized location have formed the foundation of our long-term commitment to the appropriate instruction of students with high abilities. This page is designed to provide parents, staff and students with information needed to understand both Southmont Schools and state guidelines for program services and to offer various educational resources for stakeholder use.

About Our Program

Our Mission

The Southmont Schools REACH program is designed for students whose intellect and/or academic achievement are significantly beyond their peers. A centralized program will provide an engaging, relevant educational program  through differentiated curriculum and instructional approaches especially designed to help high ability learners meet their maximum intellectual potential.

Program Goals

Students with higher abilities will:

  • be challenged to reach their full potential,
  • provided with qualitatively different learning experiences apart from the general curriculum,
  • benefit from interactions with all of their peers,
  • be creative, critical and independent in their thinking, problem solving and daily work,
  • engage in cooperative learning activities to develop their sense of teamwork.

Indiana High Ability Code (IC 20.36.2)

By definition, “A High Ability Student is one who performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one domain when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment; and is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation or interests.” The Indiana General Assembly has provided for the instruction of high ability students through legislative action. More requirements for schools, including the establishment of a Broad-based Planning Committee, assessment and identification of program participants and development and implementation of program services can be found on the Indiana DOE website.


Indiana legislative action requires that students be identified for services in one of two ways:  (1) as a student with exceptional cognitive potential, or (2) as a student with outstanding achievement in mathematics, reading or both. To that end, Southmont Schools has employed a two-tiered system for screening and identifying students for inclusion in the REACH program. A graphical representation of the process can be obtained by clicking here.

Measuring Cognitive Potential

Measuring Academic Achievement

Students in grades 2-5 were presented with the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) Screener (a screener is a short version of a test  followed by a longer version pending results). Students who scored at or above the 80th percentile were then given the Full CogAT Battery for both Reading and Math. Students scoring at or above the 95th percentile on the Full CogAT Battery would qualify for services in the Cognitive Potential domain. More information about the CogAT Screener or Full Battery can be found here.

Students who (1) did not score at or above the 80th percentile on the CogAT Screener and who received a recommendation from their classroom teacher, or (2) did not score at or above the 95th percentile on the Full CogAT Battery, were administered the Gates Reading and TOMAGS (Test of Mathematics Abilities for Gifted Students) for assessment of academic achievement.  Students scoring at or above the 95th percentile on either the Gates or TOMAGS or both would qualify for services in the Academic Achievement domain.


Program Services

Coming Soon!

Online Resources

Indiana Department of Education, Office of High Ability Education


National Association for Gifted Children

Indiana Association for the Gifted

Hoagie's Gifted Education Page

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted

Davidson Institute for Talent Development