• What is AIG?

    North Carolina state law (NC General Statutes, Chapter 115C, Article 9B) states “academically or intellectually gifted students perform or show the potential to perform at substantially high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment. Academically or intellectually gifted students exhibit high performance capability in intellectual areas, specific academic fields, or in both intellectual areas and specific academic fields. Academically or intellectually gifted students require differentiated educational services beyond those ordinarily provided by the regular educational program. Outstanding abilities are present in students from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor.”

    • How does Watauga County Schools identify students as gifted?

    Through the use of a wide variety of data, including an aptitude assessment provided to all WCS students in third grade, school-based teams known as Excel Teams identify students in need of gifted services. Excel Teams are led by AIG Specialists (or, at Watauga High School and Watauga Innovation Academy, by the AIG Director) and meet as necessary throughout the year to evaluate referrals on a rolling basis.

    Students may be identified in the following areas:

      • Academically Gifted in Math and/or Reading
      • Intellectually Gifted -- students showing exceptional aptitude and potential without corresponding academic achievement
      • Academically and Intellectually Gifted -- students showing extremely high levels of both aptitude and achievement
      • Watauga County Schools is committed to equitably screening for, referring, and identifying giftedness within all races, ethnicities, cultural and linguistic groups, socio-economic levels, and other backgrounds and identities. Our practice of universal screening in third grade is one component of equitable practice, as is the use of alternative assessments to obtain accurate data (e.g. using non-verbal aptitude assessments for students who do not yet speak English).
    • What if a student is already identified as gifted in another district within NC or state?

    Students entering Watauga County Schools who have been previously identified as gifted must meet the criteria as presented in the Watauga County AIG Plan for formal identification. Excel Teams will reach a decision when all required documentation has been received and reviewed but no later than 45 school days from the date of transfer.

    • What academic opportunities are available for AIG students in grades 9-12? 

    Students enrolled in Watauga High School (WHS) and Watauga Innovation Academy (WIA) are able to choose from a wide range of classes; most core classes are offered in both Standard and Honors sections, and we offer about 12 AP courses, most of which are available for students to begin taking their junior year. Students may also begin taking Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) classes in their junior year, which count for credit toward both their high school and college transcripts. 

    For students interested in pursuing a specfic field of study, WIA aligns their curriculum with pathways offered by CCC&TI. Ask your counselor to learn more about WIA. 

    Lastly, whether a student belongs to WHS or WIA, there are a wide range of electives to choose from. Students are encouraged to use elective spaces in their schedule to pursue and develop their interests. 

    For more information about how to select classes and make the most of your high school career, see your school counselor. 

    • What social-emotional supports are available for AIG students in grades 9-12?

    Students at the high school have access to a wide range of suports; your grade level counselor is a great place to start. If more support is needed, students also have access to the ASC (Assessment, Support, and Counseling) Center and School Based Therapy. Both these services provide weekly sessions during which time students can work on personal goals and have individualized support. 

    • Who is in charge of the WCS AIG Program?

    For further questions about the WCS AIG Program, please contact AIG Director Ike Smith at smithi@wataugaschools.org or 828.264.7190.

    For more general questions about Gifted Education across the nation, visit the National Association for Gifted Children FAQ page