Gifted Education

Gifted children have special educational and social and emotional characteristics, and the responsibility for educational planning falls upon the individual family. Parents need to become advocates for their gifted children by ensuring that each child's particular needs are met throughout his or her educational career. Parents should gather information and plan ahead rather than assuming that a "good" school or school division will do all that is required for a smooth educational and social transition for each child.

There are allowances in place under the DSSR 270 Education Allowance that allow for supplementary instruction for gifted and talented students. Read more on the Allowances web site page Frequently Asked Questions on the Supplementary Instruction Allowance.


Traditionally, international schools have not offered a separate program for gifted students. Contact the Office of Overseas Schools for questions regarding Gifted and Talented programs and resources while posted overseas.

Reentry to U.S. Schools

Schools in the United States offer a wide range of programs for students who are gifted in academic areas, the arts, leadership, and sports. It is not always easy, however, to navigate the many programs or to decide among private schools and various public school divisions. Also, a child may need to go through a lengthy identification process to qualify for certain gifted services, even if s/he has been identified as gifted elsewhere by a school or by a psychologist in private practice. Other magnet programs, such as language immersion, may have a long waiting list. The waiting list is usually open only to those actually living in the school divisions so planning ahead is not always possible for those moving back from overseas. Get in touch with your local school as soon as you know you’ll be coming back to the States.

Summer Programs

Participation in a special residential summer program for the gifted can be attractive to the Foreign Service family for several reasons. The time spent living and learning with US based students can help provide a cultural foundation for Third Culture Kids (TCKs) that will later ease a reentry. 

Some programs require special testing such as the SAT in seventh grade or have other academic requirements for admission. Many have early application deadlines.

Please remember, there is no allowance available for summer instruction programs.



Suggested Resources for Parents and Teachers

District of Columbia Residents

Maryland Residents

Virginia Residents

  • Mary Baldwin College: Governor's School for the Gifted – The Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, established in 1985, offers an opportunity for bright and accomplished young women between the ages of 13 and 16 to bypass all or some of their high school grades to pursue an undergraduate degree. PEG students live in a fully supervised, state-of-the-art residence hall with their true peers on the beautiful campus of Mary Baldwin College. (Staunton, VA)
  • Alexandria
    Gifted and Talented Program
    (703) 824-6680
  • Arlington
    Coordinator, Gifted and Talented Program
    (703) 358-6160

National Resources for Any U.S. Resident


Social, Emotional, and Educational Guidance Needs of the Gifted

  • College Planning for Gifted Students - Sandra L. Berger
  • The Gifted Kid’s Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook - Judy Galbraith & Jim Delisle
  • The Gifted Kid’s Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under – Judy Galbraith
  • Smart Boys - Barbara Kerr & Sanford J. Cohn
  • Smart Girls - Barbara Kerr
  • Managing the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted - Connie C. Schmitz & Judy Galbraith
  • School Power: Strategies for Succeeding in School - Jean Shay Schumm & Marguerite Radencich
  • Perfectionism and Gifted Children – Rosemary Callard-Szulgit
  • What Do you Really Want? A Guide for Teens - Beverly K. Bachel
  • The Teenagers' Guide to School Outside the Box - Rebecca Green
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens - Sean Covey

Parenting the Gifted

  • Parent's Guide to Raising a Gifted Child - James Alvino
  • Raising a Gifted Child: A Parenting Success Handbook – Carol Fertig
  • Expert Approaches to Support Gifted Learners – Margaret Wayne Gosfield
  • Designing Services and Programs for High-Ability Learners – Jeanne Purcell


Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
Contact the Family Liaison Office