On Beyond Program


At MSES, our Gifted and Talented programming reaches beyond the identified student. We work with students over time in hopes of igniting curiosity, developing foundational skills, and facilitating talent development in both high achieving and underperforming students Kindergarten through 5th Grade. To reach these students, teachers collaborate with the GT Specialist to design individual or flexibly grouped extension and enrichment opportunities that grow and change every year. We believe interdisciplinary activities and the integration of core academic skills with project-based and inquiry learning helps students reach the higher levels of critical thinking-- the analysis, synthesis, evaluation of information. Some current extensions include a 5th Grade Advanced Math class, a Primary Thinking Skills group, and an Online Magazine group.



Kristen Kanaga, Gifted Specialist

I have been enjoying the sport of teaching in public education since 2002. It has been an exciting journey from working with 5th grade to 3rd grade to K-5 Gifted and Talented students. As I have changed my role from classroom teacher to specialist, I have developed a passion for helping students generate their own excitement for learning, growing, and sharing their gifts with others. Every day I am thankful to have found Manitou Springs Elementary and be a part of their unique impact on kids and families. If I am not working with a class, you may find me supervising a club or creating learning experiences for my students. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family doing activities like hiking, skating, snowshoeing, building sprinkler systems, cooking creative meals, and gardening. I believe in never being idle…and that frequently trying something new is the most important part of continuing to grow.
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