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PEAK Programming by Level: Elementary, Middle and High

By Kim Hamilton

As students transition from elementary to middle to high school, PEAK programming shifts to best meet student needs. While programming varies from building to building, parents and students can expect the following general progression of PEAK services. Parents are encouraged to contact the PEAK staff member at each school for more specific programming information.


PEAK Teachers, in collaboration with the classroom teachers, work with identified, talent pool, and high achieving students in whole and small group situations to provide learning opportunities that support their needs in order to learn and grow.  

The topics in small groups evolve according to student needs and curriculum requirements.  Activities may include (but are not limited to) math extension, advanced level literacy groups, advanced writing instruction, and inventive and/or creative thinking activities.  Student involvement in these groups will change according to need and inclusion in these groups is based on demonstrated performance, observations, and pre-assessment.  Students‘ needs change as the skills being taught revolve; therefore children may move in and out of these small groups accordingly.

The Roaring Fork Schools District uses the Schoolwide Cluster Model in grades K-8 which is an inclusion model where students with exceptional learning needs are integrated into mixed-ability classrooms with their academic peers. Therefore, PEAK Teachers at each building also meet regularly with general education  teachers to plan instruction, gather resources, and evaluate lessons.  A collaborative planning model allows the classroom teacher to better meet the needs of the students and ensures that gifted children receive appropriate instruction all day long.  


In middle school, gifted and talented students are transitioning from an elementary environment that offers more direct, small group services, to an inclusion setting based on collaboration between students, teachers, the PEAK teacher, and parents. Middle school students develop more ownership of their learning by identifying their unique academic and social emotional (affective) goals, learn to track these goals, and expand their skills to appropriately self-advocate for their learning needs. In the middle school model, PEAK students:

  • Receive instruction in the classroom in clustered general education classes and/or advanced pace groups (contact individual schools for more information on advanced offerings at each school).

  • Are challenged through differentiation within the classroom through pre-assessment for mastery of standards, curriculum compacting, and tiered lessons.

  • With help from the PEAK teacher, students learn to collaborate with teachers and parents to ensure their academic needs are met and their learning goals are understood by all involved. Goals are updated annually and monitored over the course of the year.

  • Learn to self-advocate to ensure needs are met within the classroom, with assistance from the PEAK teacher when needed.

  • Develop an ownership of their Advance Learning Plan (ALP) and learning needs.

  • Identify specific social emotional needs, which are an additional focus of the ALP. With assistance from the PEAK teacher, students self-assess progress made towards social emotional goals.

  • Prepare for high school and beyond by understanding how they learn best, what is needed to be challenged, and how to approach school staff to ensure they obtain a rigorous academic experience.


At the high school level, students are ready to take on even more ownership of their academic and social-emotional growth. Each high school has a PEAK Liaison available to support students as they become more self-sufficient. PEAK Advisory groups meet regularly to address student needs and support students as they navigate course offerings and extracurricular opportunities offered at each high school.

At the high school, students and families are able to choose the level of support that meets their academic and social emotional needs.

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