Gifted Early Access

  • The Colorado Exceptional Children’s Act and District 49 School Board Policy IHBB, allows highly gifted students, who do not meet the age requirement for enrollment into kindergarten or first grade, to apply for Early Access into school. To request information about an Early Access application, call our Gifted and Talented team at 719.495.1149, ext. 3284, or send an email to or


    What should I know about Gifted Early Access?

    Early Access is defined as a highly gifted four-year-old child entering kindergarten or a five-year-old entering first grade. A highly gifted child is defined as a gifted child whose body of evidence demonstrates a profile of exceptional ability or potential compared to same-age gifted children. To meet the needs of highly advanced development, early access to educational services may be considered as a special provision.

    Early entrance into school is regarded as a form of acceleration. The decision to accelerate a child can have a profound effect on the child’s academic and social performance for the remainder of his or her school career. Therefore, District 49 adheres to a thorough set of research-based procedures to determine if a child is eligible for Early Access.
    • House Bill 1021 stipulates that districts may count in their enrollment and receive State Educational Funds for highly advanced gifted students who meet the criteria established by Colorado.
    • The district must abide by the rules promulgated by the State Board of Education.
    • The district may charge a reasonable fee for the Early Access process.
    • District responsibilities:
      • Provide early access information to parents
      • Educate teaching staff and community about Early Access


    Is my child a good candidate for Early Access?

    It is very important that you understand the purpose and intention of Early Access.  Please know that Early Access is NOT intended to evaluate solely a child's school readiness or to test because they simply missed the district cutoff dates.  This option is for identifying highly gifted children who are in need of early entrance to meet their needs.  Some questions that you can ask to see if this is the right option are below:

    1. Can your child independently read? (Meaning can they read beginning high frequency sight words in simple sentences – beyond knowing their letters and sounds)
    2. Can your child independently write a sentence? (Meaning – can they write beyond their own first and/or last name)
    3. Can your child independently perform beginning of first grade level math skills? (Meaning – be able to count, identify and write numbers, perform one-digit addition and subtraction, understand quantitates, familiarity with patterns and shapes, knowledge of place value)


    • If you’ve answered “YES” to all of these questions, Early Access will be the right option for your child to pursue.
    • If you answered “NO” to any question, then Early Access is not the right option for your child.


    When is the deadline for Gifted Early Access applications?

    • Applications are due by Thursday, February 29, 2024 (early submission) OR Friday, March 29, 2024 (final deadline submission)
    • Our team will schedule testing appointments by Friday, March 8, 2024 (early submissions) OR Friday, April 5, 2024 (final deadline submissions)

    What are the dates for District 49 Kindergarten birthdate cutoff?

    • Kindergarten birthdate cutoff is on or before October 1st


    What are the dates for District 49 Early Access cutoff?

    • By law, Early Access candidates must be 4 for Kindergarten by October 1, 2024 OR 5 for First Grade by October 1, 2024, no exceptions.

    What if our student has moved into District 49 after the application deadline?  

    • Applications will NOT be accepted after Friday, March 29, 2024.  Students and families have the option to apply for Early Access testing for your five-year-old entering first grade for the following school year (2025-2026).

    What if our student has moved into District 49 due to Military orders after this deadline?

    • MILITARY EXCEPTION: Per the Military Interstate Compact Agreement, any applications submitted after this deadline are allowed ONLY for students who have relocated to District 49 due to parental/guardian military orders. Proof of orders are required and should be included in the application.  Application deadlines are due by Friday, June 28, 2024.  We are required by the Colorado Department of Education to make determination for Early Access, with this agreement, no later than School District 49's start date.  This is the only exception.  Directly contact Diane Neff, Coordinator of Gifted Education.

Gifted Early Access Documents