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Gifted and Talented

Utica Community Schools is committed to educational programs that recognize the unique value, needs and talents of each student. Instructional programs for the academically talented and gifted are an integral part of this commitment.

Elementary teachers at all grades throughout the district differentiate instruction in their classrooms to meet the educational needs of all their students, including those who demonstrate advanced capabilities. Students are identified for the ATG program at the end of third grade through a matrix that includes assessment data and research-based criteria for identifying gifted students. The criteria include many and varied characteristics that encourage differentiated strategies to address their particular talents and skills.

ATG Program Goals:

To provide for differentiation of instruction that addresses the needs of ATG students in order to create life-long learners.

To foster creativity, talent development, and problem-solving skills that will expand each student’s awareness of choices for positive contributions to society.

To foster students’ participation in challenging enrichment opportunities that appeal to their talents and interests. 

To support social and emotional needs, so as to improve self-esteem and increase commitment and responsibility for self and others.

To provide teachers with professional development opportunities related to gifted education that support and improve educational opportunities for gifted students.

The ATG Enrichment Program for Grades 4-6
The ATG Enrichment Program has been designed for academically talented and gifted fourth through sixth grade students who have been identified through a district matrix at the end of third grade. Classes are held outside of the school day. The curriculum is built upon student interest, utilizing community resources. It stresses creative thinking skills at the highest levels, problem-solving activities, competitions, and in-depth studies beyond the regular classroom experience. Our diverse coaching staff is made up of teachers/parents. Students participate in challenging activities and projects that address their interests and provide them with additional learning challenges.

In additional to the opportunities available in the ATG classes, students are encouraged to participate in additional opportunities offered by the district that include:

Science Olympiad
The Science Olympiad competition provides hands-on opportunities for students to compete as teams by applying skills in 16 areas of our elementary and secondary science curriculum. The tournaments are held annually at the South Campus of the Macomb Community College. Details can be found on the Science Olympiad website:

Social Studies Olympiad
The Michigan Council for the Social Studies Olympiad is a state-wide competition for students in grades three through twelve. The goals and objectives of the competition are to increase student and teacher interest in the education of social studies. UCS schools participate in the annual Social Studies Olympiad. This competition of offsite and onsite events includes elementary, intermediate and senior divisions. (Grades 3-12)

Math Olympiads
Many UCS elementary schools participate in the District Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School s (MOEMS) competition that is held in the Spring of each year. A number of UCS schools also participate in a national online mathematics competition that runs from November through March.
A goal of both Olympiads includes stimulating students’ enthusiasm and love for Mathematics, and developing mathematical ingenuity and competencies for them to increase their proficiency in solving math problems.

Destination Imagination
The Destination Imagination program fosters creative thinking and problem solving skills. Through solving problems, students learn life-long skills such as working with others as a team, evaluating ideas, making decisions, and creating solutions, while also developing self-confidence from their experiences. Regional and State Tournaments are held annually. More information can be found at:

Lego Robotics
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a global program created to get students excited about science and technology. FIRST’s mission is to inspire students to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills,
that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities. For more information on UCS Lego Robotics programs, email: [email protected]. For information on FIRST Lego League (FLL), go to, or visit the First Robotics web page.

The UCS Chess tournament is held annually and includes kindergarten through ninth grade students. Our competition provides an active learning experience for students whereby they can share their interests, talents and passion for chess. Students must pre-register for this competition. For more information, contact [email protected].

Saturday Scholars
Saturday Scholars is an academic enrichment program for able learners, or for any student who displays an interest in any of the wide range of classes offered. The program runs or four Saturdays in the Fall and is offered again in Winter. Children ages 5 to 15 and adults participate in educational, hands-on learning opportunities. Brochures are available at all Utica Schools and from:

Midwest Talent Search
Started in 1982, Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search is a program of the Center for Talent Development that offers above grade-level testing for high-performing students in grades 3 through 9. This Talent Search approach is a well-researched and respected program model in gifted education. For more information, visit

Gifted Resources at Macomb Intermediate School District
The Macomb Intermediate School District’s website for gifted and talented children includes resources that will guide you in learning more about about gifted children and their education.

For more information regarding the ATG Program, email [email protected].