Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Gifted & Talented and Advanced Placement

All students identified as gifted and talented in the state have the right to an appropriate education. Responding to the concern for educational programming for gifted and talented students, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 106 of 1979. This legislation established the Office for the Gifted & Talented and Advanced Placement. The laws may be found at Gifted and Talented-Related Arkansas Laws. Funds were appropriated to provide financial assistance to school districts operating programs for gifted and talented students. Guidelines were developed to provide information to assist districts in planning, implementing, and evaluating those programs.


The following definition shall guide districts in providing services and opportunities for students identified as gifted and talented:

Gifted and talented children and youth are those of high potential or ability whose learning characteristics and educational needs require qualitatively differentiated educational experiences and/or services.

Possession of these talents and gifts, or the potential for their development, will be evidenced through an interaction of above average intellectual ability, task commitment and /or motivation, and creative ability.

Gifted Program Informational Videos

The following videos provide information about many aspects of gifted services:

Annual Program Approval Application

From Arkansas Code: 6-42-109. Reports by school districts.

Each school district shall report annually to the Arkansas Department of Education, at a prescribed due date, the extent to which it is providing educational opportunities specifically designed to meet the educational needs of gifted and talented children.

Arkansas Governor's School

Arkansas Governor's School (AGS) is a six-week residential, educational summer program designed for upcoming high school seniors with exceptional abilities, creativity, and maturity. Participants attend classes and many special events, including concerts, theatrical productions, lectures, and films. They participate in service projects, recreational activities, and social gatherings. The atmosphere of AGS is charged with intellectual, cultural, and social excitement. Participants take away a heightened appreciation of their own talents, a deeper sense of their relationship to their communities, and a more intense intellectual curiosity.

Students must be nominated by their schools to apply. Counselors, gifted and talented coordinators or teachers should be working through the nomination criteria with interested students. Completed applications are due from schools at the end of January. They are reviewed by state-appointed AGS selection committees and selections are announced in April.  For more information visit the Arkansas Governor's School official website.

Advisory Council for the Education Gifted and Talented Children 

Arkansas Code Ann. § 6-42-104 established the Advisory Council for the Education Gifted and Talented Children to advise and consult with the Commissioner of Education and the Administrator of the Office for the Education of Gifted & Talented Children. The Advisory Council prepares an annual report for the Governor, the General Assembly, the State Board of Education, and the Education Commissioner that informs the general public about educational programs for gifted and talented students. The Council also recognizes three educational programs for gifted and talented students annually, to receive the Act 56 Outstanding Gifted Program Award.

Visit for the Governor’s Advisory Council Annual Report for 2014.

To apply for appointment to the Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education, please visit to fill out the online application.

Act 56 Award Recipients 

Act 56 award recipients are selected based on program standards, background information, community involvement, staff development, program options, curriculum and innovation.

Programs are judged in one of three categories: Average Daily Membership (ADM) less than 1,000; between 1,000 and 3,000; or greater than 3,000.

2015 Outstanding Gifted Programs

  • School Districts less than 1,000: Scranton; Certificate of Merit: South Side Bee Branch
  • School Districts between 1,000 and 3,000: Heber Springs; Certificate of Merit: Booneville
  • School Districts larger than 3,000: Rogers; Certificate of Merit: Bentonville

Education Service Cooperative News

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Mary Kathryn Stein, Director of Gifted & Talented and Advanced Placement

Krystal Nail, Program Advisor
Connie Storey, Program Advisor

Arkansas Department of Education

Office of Gifted & Talented and Advanced Placement

Four Capitol Mall, Room 405-B

Little Rock, AR 72201

Phone: 501-682-4224

Fax: 501-682-4220
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