Student Support Services

Gifted and Talented

Our district itinerant collaborates with teachers to provide additional support when possible, and supports identified students with their ALPs (Advanced Learning Plans) throughout the year. 

Testing is ongoing and common practice for our itinerant to provide universal opportunities for students to exhibit data points that may allow for identification. Ultimately, multiple opportunities for extension activities and student engagement are also encouraged and nurtured by the itinerant in symphony with the faculty, staff, and administration.

Gifted and Talented Programing

At Inspire Elementary, highly effective and distinguished teachers differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs of all students in their classrooms, which includes students in the district talent pool and those identified as GT (Gifted and Talented). This is a cornerstone of our school culture. Academic and social-emotional skills are included in our daily practices and our schools philosophy, which harbors much benefit for advanced learners.

Some of the techniques used through the grade levels include:

  • Cluster grouping – Providing advanced cohorts that are able to work together (e.g. reading groups, math groups, etc.).
  • Advanced content – Providing appropriate content that allows for extensions (e.g. Khan Academy, Prodigy, Epic, Raz Kids, etc.).
  • Curriculum enrichment/extensions (e.g. STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Projects, Classroom Passion Projects, Portfolios)
  • High level questioning techniques – Asking students to apply information in new and creative ways.

Gifted and Talented services are also provided by our district itinerant who supports throughout the year with testing and GT identified students with ALPs (Advanced Learning Plans). Additionally, the campus also has a teacher that provides support for Talent Pool students. As students are tested and potentially identified, groups evolve throughout the year to respond to the various needs. Although younger students usually do not have the data points acquired for full identification, they may need extra academic challenges to provide optimal engagement, which their grade level teachers support. 

Gifted and Talented Defined

In the Denver Public School District (DPS), “gifted and talented” refers to those students who demonstrate abilities, talents and/or potential for accomplishments that are developmentally advanced and may require additional support within the educational setting. These students perform, or show the potential of performing, at high intellectual levels within specific academic or creative areas when compared with others of their age and experience.

Gifted and talented children are present in all student groups, regardless of gender, disability, English language proficiency, economic status, ethnic or cultural background.

Gifted and Talented Identification

Gifted and Talented identification follows district and state guidelines. Students need a body of evidence including three or more scores at or above the 95th percentile on state-approved measures. Both ability and achievement scores can be part of the body of evidence.

DPS administers the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) as a universal screener in Kindergarten, 2nd and 6th grades to ensure all students are given the opportunity to receive potential GT data points. In addition to these screeners, other measures may be used to support a body of evidence. These may often include Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT), Iowa Assessment (Iowa), Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) and Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS). For equity, DPS policy does not allow private testing to be used for GT identification.

In addition to the universal screener (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test) administered in Kindergarten, 2nd and 6th grades, parents of students in other grades may nominate students to take the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) for Highly Gifted and Talented (HGT) identification to attend a magnet program, or another potential Gifted and Talented data point of 95% or higher. 

For more information, please visit the DPS GT website.

Accommodations (504)

Dennis Johnson, School Social Worker: I am the 504 coordinator at Inspire Elementary. I help manage and coordinate all student 504 plans. Section 504 is a federal civil rights law that ensures students with disabilities are afforded an “equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement” as an average peer. To pursue identification, anyone can refer a student to the school’s Section 504 coordinator. If appropriate, the Section 504 team will conduct an evaluation and then convene to determine eligibility. If the student is found to be eligible, the Section 504 team would determine the student’s placement, services, modifications, and accommodations, to help mitigate the barriers caused by the impairment(s).

Special Education (IEP)

Inspire has an enthusiastic Special Education Team dedicated to meeting the needs of our unique learners. Our related service providers, such as the speech-language therapist, occupational therapist, vision specialist, and physical therapist serve students on an itinerant basis. Inspire has a whole child team (WCT) who responds to social/emotional needs of students as well. 

Students receive services according to their individual goals and services as outlined in their Individualized Education Program ( IEP) . 

FAQ for Families:

How does my student receive IEP Services?

The first step would be to speak to your child’s classroom teacher to see what supports are in place for your child. These supports can be academic or social emotional. See HERE (link MTSS) to see how MTSS (Multi-tiered system of supports) is implemented at Inspire. 

If you put your request for a special education evaluation in writing, then the special education team has ten days to respond. If a disability is suspected, then the team will send home consent for an evaluation. If a disability is not suspected, then the team will send home a written explanation explaining why this request was denied.

How long does a special education evaluation take? 

Once the team at Inspire has received your consent for an evaluation, the team has 60 calendar days to complete this evaluation. If your child meets the requirements for one of the 13 disability categories under IDEA then the multidisciplinary IEP team (including parents) will help to develop an individualized education plan.

What is the difference between an IEP and a 504?

Both Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans can offer formal help for K–12 students who are struggling in school. They’re similar in some ways but very different in others. This chart compares them side by side to help you understand the differences.

My child has an IEP, what happens now?

Your child will have an annual IEP meeting where the team discusses your child’s present levels of performance, annual goals, accommodations and services. You will receive goal progress reports with your child’s report card. Per IDEA law, your child has to go through a triennial reevaluation to determine if they still qualify for special education services. 

My question wasn’t answered here. Who do I contact?

For all Special Education questions, please email Jenna Vara at

My child has an IEP, what happens now?

Your child will have an annual IEP meeting where the team discusses your child’s present levels of performance, annual goals, accommodations and services. You will receive goal progress reports with your child’s report card. Per IDEA law, your child has to go through a triennial reevaluation to determine if they still qualify for special education services. 

My question wasn’t answered here. Who do I contact?

For all Special Education questions, please email Jenna Vara at

Special Education programs and services at Inspire include:

Mild/Moderate Special Education

Mild/Moderate Special Education program teaches children who receive special education services for primarily academic support for students with Mild/Moderate needs. Coursework focuses on strategies for teaching different content areas. Disabilities served by teachers with mild to moderate training and licensure include but are not limited to learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, ADHD/other health impairments, mild intellectual disabilities, and an autism spectrum disorder.

Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)

School-based speech therapy is a related service that supports the educational special education program. Students who may qualify for services with an SLP may have a disorder in communication in one or more of the following areas: speech sounds, language, and literacy, social communication, cognitive-communication, stuttering and/or voice.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

School-based occupational therapy is a related service that supports a child’s gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, visual perceptual, handwriting, daily living, and sensory processing skills.

Social Worker

School-based social work is a related service that promotes positive behavior and mental health. They are often called on to help students, families, and teachers address problems such as truancy, social withdrawal, overaggressive behaviors, and the effects of emotional, or economic problems. In addition, they provide individual and small group counseling to those with the above needs.


A school-based psychologist is a related service provider that helps students improve communication and social skills, assesses student emotional and behavioral needs, provides individual and small group counseling, promotes problem-solving anger management, and conflict resolution, and reinforces positive coping skills and resilience.

The school/district also provides services for Physical Therapy, Vision Therapy, and a teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The Special Education team at Inspire
  • Dennis Johnson – School Social Worker
  • Amy Fortier – SpEd Teacher
  • Catherine Khachatryan – SpEd Teacher
  • Jenna – SpEd Case Manager
  • Cara Bayern – Motor Therapist
  • Jessica Strecker – School Psychologist
  • Stephanie Agne – Speech Language Pathologist
Resources for Parents

Multi Language Education

At Inspire Elementary, the many diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds that our students bring to the classroom enrich our school. We believe every student’s home language and culture are assets that, combined with English language skills, help students achieve success in school and life.

The Multilingual Education (MLE) teachers work to create a setting in which all students have valuing cultural and linguistic diversity and are able to use their native languages and cultures as assets.

In alignment with DPS’ vision, our team’s vision is to ensure every Language Learner succeeds by providing the opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills necessary to become contributing citizens in our diverse society. We believe that every single Language Learner can thrive — not by accident, but by design.

What We Do

We provide daily guidance, resources, and support for our students to ensure that we provide equitable, rigorous learning environments for all of their Language Learners. We service our students through daily 45-minute small group blocks that focus on English language skills.

We recognize the unique stories and voices of our multilingual students with home languages other than English and honor them by calling them Multilingual Learners (MLLs). We believe that developing home language skills help students stay connected with their family, culture and community. We support our students in further developing their native language proficiency both at school and at home, and honor this through the Seal of Biliteracy.

Who We Serve

The Multilingual Education department serves all Language Learners at Inspire, including MLLs with home languages other than English.

If you have any question please reach out to Natalia Salata at