PAL (Program for Advanced Learners)

What is PAL?

PAL stands for Program for Advanced Learners and is the foundation for Manara Academy’s gifted and talented program and currently services a small group of students from 4th-8th grade. Beginning in the fall of 2015, the PAL program will expand to serve a highly qualified group of young learners from 3rd-8th grade. Students are eligible for nomination at the end of 2nd grade. PAL is a motivating and challenging experience that lasts over multiple years of a student’s education. The PAL program provides an engaging, creative, and rigorous learning environment to nurture the unique academic and social – emotional needs of students requiring gifted and talented services. The PAL program focuses on gifted academic experiences and personal development.

Definition of a Gifted and Talented Student

A “gifted/talented student” is a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment, and who (1) exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area; (2) possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or (3) excels in a specific academic field (Texas Education Agency, 2014).


Identification Process

  1. Nomination
    1. MAP results: top 90% in Reading, Math, or both
    2. Teacher Referral
  1. Data Collection – Before a student can be determined as gifted/talented, evidence or data must be provided to prove one’s ability compared to his/her peers. Three types of data will be collected:
    1. Quantitative (Objective)
    2. Quantitative (Subjective)
    3. Cognitive Abilities Assessment (Reasoning Abilities)
  1. Selection – Gifted and Talented coordinator and campus selection committee will review individual student data portfolios:
    1. MAP results
    2. CogAT results
    3. Teacher Observations

Notification of Results

Results will be sent home by your child’s classroom teacher. The goal of gifted assessment is to gather important information not only about what a student knows, but how a student learns.

Transfer Students, Appeals, Furloughs, and Exiting the Program

Transfer Students

Transfer students identified as gifted and talented in previous district must provide documentation from their previous school district acknowledging that the student did receive gifted and talented services. Gifted and Talented assessment data and documentation from previous district will be reviewed by the gifted and talented coordinator to determine the eligibility of the transfer student within five to six weeks that the documentation portfolio is complete. If a transfer student does not have the proper documentation, he/she may test to be in the program at the next testing cycle. Students not formally identified as gifted and talent in another district are assessed according to the regular identification.

Appeal Process

Students who do not meet qualifying expectations may requalify for the gifted and talented identification process after one school year or initiate the appeal process. Parents or guardians may submit an appeal for non-qualified students within seven days that the results are sent home. The gifted and talented coordinator, superintendent, and campus selection committee, will review the data automatically and use professional judgment to determine which of these students will benefit from the program.


Furloughs are given to gifted and talented students who must exit the PAL program for a short period of time. To receive a furlough, the parent/guardian must meet with the campus selection committee to discuss reasons why the student requires the furlough. The gifted and talented coordinator and campus selection committee will determine if a furlough is in best interest of the student.

Exiting the PAL Program

Exiting the program is possible for students who no longer desire to be in the PAL program. However, once exited, a student may not reenter the program without having to go through the Identification Process, as described above, from beginning to end. To receive a valid exit from the program, the parent/guardian must meet with the campus selection committee to discuss reasons for exit.




Tara Healy

Gifted and Talented Coordinator