Gifted Program

Ontario Ministry of Education defines giftedness as an unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided. Learn more about the definition of giftedness from the Association for Bright Children of Ontario (ABC Ontario).

Your child must be identified as gifted by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) in order to be placed in a gifted program. Durham District School Board (DDSB) provides program options for gifted students between Grades 4 and 12. You can choose to have your child:

  • Remain in their regular class placement at their home school with accommodations provided by their teacher
  • Enter a self-contained class with other gifted students

Gifted assessments

You can nominate your child for a gifted assessment if you think they exhibit above average ability, creative thinking or can make broad connections to seemingly unconnected things. You can only nominate your child for assessment a maximum of 2 times with the DDSB. There are group and individual assessment options. If your child passes the gifted assessment, they won't need to write it again. We review placements during the spring each year.

DDSB assessment

Parents and educators can nominate students to participate in the Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT). We send out nomination forms with all Grade 3 students each year in early September. If your child is in Grades 4 to 12, you can request a nomination form from their school's Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) in early September.


Between mid-October and mid-November, the SERT will notify you of your child's assessment date. Testing is done in a group setting. We will send home the test results in mid-January to early February.

If your child scores within the 95th and 97th percentile in the group assessment, they can take an individual assessment with a member of DDSB's psychological services. Students who are 98th percentile or above after the individual assessment, can participate in the DDSB gifted program.

Private assessment

You may seek a private assessment from a licensed Psychologist or Psychological Associate who can administer a standardized measure of cognitive development, e.g., Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Stanford-Binet, Woodcock-Johnson. If the same test is used by the Practitioner as was done by DDSB staff, there should be a waiting period of at least nine-months to minimize practice effects and to ensure validity of results. The DDSB will need to approve such private assessments. Contact the gifted program facilitator or speak to your school’s Special Education Resource Teacher to obtain the consent form and processing information.

The DDSB does not endorse any specific Psychological Services providers in the community.  If you are interested in private testing, please do a Google search of local Psychologists (in your area) to see which ones provide "Psychological Assessment or Testing".  You also can check the Ontario Psychological Association website ( for names of local practitioners.

Assessment from another school board

The criteria for gifted assessments vary between school boards. If your child received an assessment through a different school board, we will need to review the documents. Contact the gifted program facilitator for more information.

Self-contained gifted classes

DDSB carefully designed the self-contained gifted program to meet the needs, characteristics and interests of gifted students. Some benefits of choosing the self-contained gifted program for your child include:

  • Learning content more relevant to their interests and abilities than in a regular class
  • The opportunity to work with and learn from other children with similar or higher intellectual aptitude
  • The ability to work with like-minded peers who also have creative and complex ways of thinking
  • The ability to relate with others who have similar interests
  • A teacher who has the additional qualification of Special Education Part 1

Self-contained classes for gifted students offer a space where your child can relate to their intellectual peer group. Intellectually gifted students often feel a lack of connection with their peer group in a mainstream setting. This is why we recommend placement in a full time gifted program.

You can work with your child's teacher to determine the right placement. You may decide to keep your child in their regular school program initially. They can enter a self-contained gifted program in subsequent years.

Placement in a self-contained gifted program will depend on availability and space. Please contact the facilitator for gifted programming to discuss this.

DDSB schools with gifted classes

The following DDSB schools offer full-time classes for gifted students:

  • A.G. Bell Public School – Ajax (grades 4 to 8)
  • William Dunbar Public School – Pickering (grades 4 to 8)
  • Pickering High School – Pickering and Ajax students (grades 9 to 11)
  • Jack Miner Public School – Whitby (grades 4 to 8)
  • Pringle Creek Public School – Whitby (grades 4 to 8)
  • Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute – Whitby (grades 9 to 11)
  • Coronation Public School – Oshawa (grades 4 to 8)
  • O'Neill Collegiate Vocational Institute – Oshawa (grades 9 to 11)
  • R.H. Cornish Public School – Port Perry (grades 4 to 8)
  • Port Perry High School – Port Perry (grades 9 to 11)

Gifted students make up about 2% of the overall population, so it isn't possible or practical for every school to offer self-contained, full-time gifted classes.

Additional information about giftedness

Here are some additional resources for gifted learners, parents and educators:

The Association for Bright Children of Ontario (ABC Ontario)

ABC Ontario works to increase the understanding and acceptance of bright and gifted children at home, at school and in the community. It is an advocacy group for parents and students and offers workshops, resources and conferences on gifted issues.

Educators of the Gifted Organizations (Edgo)

Edgo promotes gifted education throughout Ontario. It has information and resources for teachers, parents and students and offers an annual conference in the fall. Of special interest is the recommended reading list.

Hoagie's Gifted Education page

Hoagie's Gifted Education page is an “all-things gifted” resource guide with resources and links for parents, educators, counsellors, kids and teens.

Gifted Child Today

Gifted Child Today magazine is an excellent publication for parents of gifted children. They provide several sample articles on relevant topics.

Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education and Talent Development

The Renzuli Center at the University of Connecticut is a top institution for research into giftedness and the Renzuli model of enrichment studies.

National Association for Gifted Children

The National Association for Gifted Children offers resources and support for educators, parents and administrators working with gifted children. This includes conferences and events as well as advocacy groups.