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Gifted Magnet


Gifted Magnet Program

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Come see our wonderful Gifted Magnet Program for 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders!

Meet Stratton's wonderful Gifted Magnet teachers.



Jessica Gilliam has a passion for teaching gifted students. A teacher of more than twenty years, her experience in education has been diverse and creative. From small, private schools to large, inner-city districts, her combined experience base has afforded her opportunities to explore the many possibilities of developing a hands-on, inquiry based learning environment. Teaching third grade in the Gifted Magnet Program is a unique challenge, offering space to grow professionally in new and exciting ways! Mrs. Gilliam earned her MA Ed from University of Texas and her state endorsement in Gifted Education.

In her free time, Mrs. Gilliam enjoys reading, cooking, and all things “Colorado”: hiking, trail running, white water rafting, skiing, and exploring the beautiful outdoors with her family. The mom of two gifted children and the wife of a high school teacher and coach, the world of education – and especially gifted education – is truly central to her life. 

Mrs. Griffin

Mrs. Griffin holds a master’s degree in gifted and talented education. She’s worked with gifted kids as a classroom teacher, an enrichment teacher, and as a Talented and Gifted (TAG) teacher specializing in academic subjects. Fourth grade is her favorite grade to teach. She has also worked ten years in reading and literacy. Mrs. Griffin is the parent of gifted and twice exceptional children. She has a passion for encouraging students to work with their own learning styles and to develop their creativity. When she’s not at school Mrs. Griffin enjoys reading, hiking, watching movies and playing games with her family, gardening, cooking, drawing and sculpting, and learning new things.


Ms. Kruckeberg loves being part of students’ learning and being a teacher in the Gifted Magnet Program at Stratton. Her role as the fifth-grade teacher in the GMP is informed by a variety of experiences including her own experiences as a gifted learner, being a parent to three gifted children (all GMP students), and many years of experience teaching fourth and fifth grades in a variety of schools and districts. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching (emphasis in elementary education) from Colorado College, an endorsement in gifted education, and will complete her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction (emphasis in gifted education) through UCCS in December 2022. When she’s not at school, Ms. Kruckeberg spends time with her family, devours books of all kinds, writes, explores trails, takes pictures, and plays with recipes in the kitchen. 

   Frequently Asked Questions about  the GMP program

What does GMP stand for?

GMP is an acronym for D-11’s Gifted Magnet Program. Our program combines multiple disciplines wherever possible, resulting in differentiation that is less teacher-centered than the traditional classroom. We carry this out in a “working lab” type atmosphere, similar to settings that adults might work in.


What’s the history of the program?

Our current GMP program came out of the HATC (Highly Academic and Talented Children) Program offered for fifth and sixth-graders at Stratton Elementary since the 1950’s. In the early 1990’s, when sixth grade became part of middle schools, HATC classes were reincorporated as the SAIL Program, with fourth and fifth grades at   Stratton and grades 6-7-8 at Irving MS.  The following year West MS became our second 6-7-8 site for SAIL.    A few years ago Sabin MS took the place of the Irving location. We’re proud to be quite possibly the oldest gifted magnet program in the state of Colorado!


Who is eligible for the GMP?

Any student identified as gifted and talented in District Eleven may apply for the GMP Program. Students may apply for third, fourth, and fifth grade GMP while in grades two, three and four. Any child outside of the district (including those currently in home school) is eligible to complete an application for GMP. The application process looks at a variety of indicators that help us determine which students would be best suited to the GMP Program.


What’s the difference between GMP and the regular classroom?

The goal of any gifted magnet school is to deliver instruction in a qualitatively different way than how students receive instruction in a mixed ability classroom. Both settings teach the same material (as set forth by both Colorado state and Common Core Standards), but the curriculum is often taken to a deeper and broader level of            discussion and understanding in magnet classrooms. Secondly, best practices from the field of gifted education are incorporated into the structure of the program.


What are “best practices” in the field of gifted education?

GMP teachers deliberately incorporate curriculum plans developed by leading experts in the field of gifted education. For instance, George Betts and his Autonomous Learner Model are world-renowned amongst g/t educators. We use his helpful ideas as suggestions for students as they research in-depth and explore mentorships.

We use material from other experts to teach additional important concepts, such as complexity and elaboration in the creative production process, and also address the affective needs of gifted children (an important concept for them to know about).


Are GMP class sizes different from the regular classroom?

Classes are similar in size to other 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade classes in the district.


What is the curriculum like in GMP?

Many interdisciplinary projects (where content crosses into a variety of subject areas, i.e., math, science & writing) are assigned throughout the school year. Students work amongst a peer group of gifted and talented classmates. Because GMP students are highly capable, the class tends to move along through topics at a faster pace, going more in-depth in some topics, while stretching a student’s complexity of thought. Time is also spent helping the students understand their exceptional learning talents.


How much homework will I have in GMP?

Homework is assigned to increase student achievement through extension of content or practice of critical skills needed within a discipline. The bulk of student work is expected to be completed in school. Adequate class time is given for most of our projects. Some students choose to spend more time looking into areas of their own special interest, but generally homework shouldn’t be more than 30 minutes a night. This will vary based on use of class time (since projects are mainly researched and   constructed during class time) and the individual speed of each child.


Where is the Elementary GMP Program located?

Stratton Elementary houses a 3rd, a 4th, and a 5th grade GMP classrooms. This allows us to serve a total of about 25 students per grade level in our elementary Gifted Magnet Program.


Is transportation provided for a child to attend a GMP program?

No. Transportation is the responsibility of each GMP family. Many have found success with carpools. GMP students come from all over Colorado Springs, so carpools are often easily put together at our first getting-acquainted social in August.


Is there a cost to be in the GMP Program?

Nothing beyond regular school costs for field trips, band, orchestra, etc.


How do I apply for GMP?

Applications are available online, at the GT Office, and at Stratton Elementary. Sections of the application are completed by a variety of stakeholders.  Students may visit Stratton at any point in the process. Please call the school to arrange your own “shadow” time with the GMP teacher. Applications are due to Stratton or the GT Office  when complete. Applications are rolling and families will be notified upon acceptance. 

For more details about District 11 Gifted Magnet Program click here.

Stratton Gifted Magnet Program
Serving Grades 3, 4, & 5
2640 Paseo Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

The elementary Gifted Magnet Program (GMP) has been an integral part of School District 11 for nearly sixty years.  The GMP is a full-day, every-day self-contained program for gifted students in grades three through five. The program’s philosophy focuses on educating the gifted child through comprehensive curriculum centered on year-long themes. We instruct gifted children using the Autonomous Learner Model of experiential learning and by using a wide variety of exploratory lessons and activities.


The Gifted Magnet Program curriculum is interdisciplinary and built upon concepts of discovery, change and conflict. Curriculum is relevant, rigorous, and exceeds state content standards and encourages critical and complex thinking skills. Differentiated instruction ensures that students meet high expectations and have opportunity for content acceleration. Teachers facilitate students’ learning through creative, engaging, and specific instruction with program flexibility. Students are also encouraged to explore individual interests and passions. In short, GMP is tailored to meet the academic and effective needs of the gifted child.