Advanced, Early College, Specialized, and Magnet Programs
WCPS Advanced Programs attract highly-able, highly-motivated, and identified gifted students. Some programs are more competitive than others and placement in those programs is not guaranteed. Some programs are based at a student's "home" school and others require a student to travel to another location.
Washington County Public Schools offers a spectrum of special focus programs for advanced-level learners, aligning with Maryland's Continuum of Services in Gifted and Talented Education. These programs are an integral component of WCPS initiatives to provide challenging academic experiences for an increasingly diverse student population across the county. For a general overview of the variety of programs at elementary, middle, and high school programs, view the appropriate level of slide presentation(s) indicated above.
Advanced Programs include the following:
Early College Programs
WCPS and Hagerstown Community College (HCC) work in a partnership to provide high-achieving high school students opportunities to earn college credit while in high school. Interested students should contact their school counselor for more information. Complete information may be found in the current High School Program of Studies. Programs include the following:
Magnet Programs are highly-competitive gifted and talented programs for identified gifted and talented students. These advanced programs that are designed for the most highly gifted students in the county. Students must be invited to apply to elementary and middle school magnet programs.
Elementary and Middle Magnet Programs
At the elementary and middle school levels, students are invited to apply to magnet programs, based on a screening and/or referral process. Parents and teachers may access the referral instrument by clicking on the Quick Links to the left. Parents are also encouraged to review additional readings on the differences between highly-able and gifted learners, as well as the characteristics of gifted students and the different types of giftedness. Parents may view more information below, the Quick Link at the left, and the Magnet Program page.
High School Magnet Programs
WCPS Specialized programs attract both advanced-level learners (highly-able and identified gifted) and highly motivated students in regular education programs. Depending upon the specific program, some programs are more competitive than others. An informational slide show includes information about these programs. Click above to locate the slide show.
Specialized Programs Include the following :
School-Based Advanced and Gifted and Talented Programs
What does is mean to be identified as "gifted and talented" (GT)?
GT sounds like a label of privilege, but in WCPS "GT" describes the unique curriculum that meets the specialized needs of a student who is identified for that program through multiple measures: ability/aptitude, performance, and potential. Students who are identified to receive GT services need not travel outside of their school's attendance zone to receive this specialized curriculum.
Link to Middle School Program of Studies and High School Program of Studies
How does WCPS identify students for participation in GATE Programs?
WCPS aligns its GATE program identification processes with those noted in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) for Gifted & Talented Education (13A. 04. 07). The universal screening process begins when the child enters WCPS and is ongoing.
Elementary GATE (Gifted and Talented Education)
GATE programs are available at all WCPS primary and elementary schools and serve students through concept-based instruction that includes specific creative and critical thinking training exercises, Shared Inquiry, and STEM-based activities. GATE programs are designed to service students who consistently perform above grade level on math and/or reading skills, as well as meet multiple criteria for placement in the program. Measures of ability/aptitude, performance, and potential are utilized during the screening and the identification processes:
Please click here for a listing of elementary GATE Teachers.
Middle School Level
Middle School Accelerated and Enriched Coursework ( called "A&E/Merit")
Middle school advanced-level courses, which are considered Pre-Advanced Placement programs, are available at every middle school and are designed to service students who consistently perform above grade level on math and reading skills and/or would like to experience more challenging curricula. Parents can nominate their child for this level of coursework, but a student's placement is not guaranteed.
High School Level
Advanced Placement (AP) Programs
Advanced Placement courses offer highly motivated students the opportunity to take college-level classes in high school. AP programs are available at every high school and are designed to challenge students in various content areas and prepare them to take the Advanced Placement (AP) Exam. AP courses on a student’s transcript enhance college applications, and a qualifying score on an AP exam can mean that a student is eligible to receive college credit at a college/university. AP offerings vary by school and are dependent upon course enrollment.
Honors courses, which are considered Pre-Advanced Placement programs, are available at every high school and are designed to challenge students in several content areas and prepare them for enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) coursework.
To learn more about the research behind Advanced Placement, click here for a presentation.