MISD Pre-K and Head Start pre-registration are just around the corner! The Head Start online application for new students opened on March 4th, and online applications for Pre-Kindergarten take place from April 1 – June 7. Learn more


ALPHA Services

Elementary School


The entire MISD kindergarten population is screened in December for placement in ALPHA classes beginning March 1st as mandated by the State Plan. These newly-identified students are serviced on their campus once a week for one hour.

First and Second Grade

The 1st & 2nd grade students meet with the ALPHA teacher for differentiated and extension activities approximately one hour, once a week. Two gifted-endorsed primary educators travel to two campuses per day. Curriculum incorporates scientific thinking, problem solving, creativity, and complexity based on Dr. Sandra Kaplan’s research.

Curriculum for our K-2 students for the current school year will incorporate creative and critical thinking. The students will research “biomes” and the “ologies”. Scientific thinking, discovery, investigations and explorations will provide these gifted students an opportunity to understand science from real-world problem-based learning opportunities.

In order to support regular classroom teachers, the two ALPHA teachers provide low-prep, teacher- friendly differentiation strategies weekly for all K-2 teachers to incorporate into their lesson plans.

If you have any questions regarding the K-2 ALPHA curriculum or services, please contact either Lisa Sutton or Nikki Dressel.

Third Grade

Third grade ALPHA students receive services on Monday of each week at Webb Elementary.  The third grade curriculum is designed to provide learning experiences modified through a variety of strategies of flexible pacing, advanced and complex concepts and abstract creative thinking opportunities.  The ALPHA teachers promote self-directed and self-initiated opportunities within in their classrooms encouraging students to develop a growth mindset.

Fourth and Fifth Grade

Gifted students are tenacious and active learners, requiring content that allows academic challenges. In order to meet these intellectual and social needs, our Alpha program provides academic rigor, encouraging students to reach beyond their current knowledge and develop the love of learning.

ALPHA students are exposed to curriculum to develop the mindset that knowledge and learning is constantly changing. Problem solving and in-depth study of major ideas, themes or problems encourage ALPHA students to think both critically and creatively. Fourth and fifth grade ALPHA students receive services two days per week at Webb Elementary.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments regarding Alpha 3-5, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Alpha teachers.

Middle School

Beginning in middle school, gifted and talented services transition from pull-out services to subject-specific differentiation in the classroom. Please see the descriptions below to learn more.

English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR)

The middle school English Language Arts and Reading courses are the only “sheltered” course in the district, meaning that this course is only available to students that have been identified as gifted and talented learners. These courses utilize William and Mary curricular units to offer complex learning experiences to meet the needs of verbally gifted students through authentic learning opportunities, providing creative production and enhanced engagement. They will read and understand a wide variety of literary and informational texts, compose a variety of written texts with a clear controlling idea, coherent organization, and sufficient detail, know how to locate a range of relevant sources and evaluate, synthesize, and present ideas and information, listen and respond to the ideas of others while contributing their own ideas in conversations and in groups, and learn how to use the oral and written conventions of the English language in speaking and writing.

In order to broaden the curriculum beyond the classroom walls, McKinney ISD GT students will engage in several activities meant to encourage them to view issues from multiple perspectives. Eighth grade students will incorporate elements of the thinkLaw curriculum into the classroom as they prepare for the winter Collin County Mock Trial Competition.


Advanced mathematics students are served in two ways. First, advanced mathematics students are offered the ability to accelerate their mathematics curriculum one year beginning in their sixth-grade year. This path allows students to complete Algebra 1, a high school course, while in the 8th grade.  *Note – high school courses taken during middle school do not count toward a student’s GPA

Social Studies and Science

In both Social Studies and Science, gifted learners are clustered together in classes with other advanced learners. Teachers in these courses are trained in the socio-emotional needs of gifted learners and curricular differentiation. Examples of such differentiation will be evident in greater amounts of student-led learning, research and primary source analysis, extension projects, and academic writing.

High School

High school students are served in both sheltered gifted and talented classrooms, Advanced (formerly Pre-AP) courses, clustered Advanced Placement (AP) courses and can enroll in Dual Credit courses. Advanced Placement courses culminate in AP exams which can be used to receive college credit in most colleges and universities. You may find out more on what the policy on AP credit is for each university here.

The following information is an overview of gifted and talented services at the high school level. For more information on each course and grading policies, please review the McKinney ISD High School Academic Planning Guide.

English Language Arts

GT Advanced English I & II are interdisciplinary courses in which students recognize writing as an art form. Students read widely to understand how various authors craft compositions for various aesthetic purposes. This course includes the study of major historical and cultural movements in World History and their relationship to literature and the other fine arts. Humanities is a rigorous course of study in which high school students respond to aesthetic elements in texts and other art forms through outlets such as discussions, journals, oral interpretations, and dramatizations. Students read widely to understand the commonalities that literature shares with the fine arts. In addition, students use written composition to show an in-depth understanding of creative achievements in the arts and literature and how these various art forms are a reflection of history. All students are expected to participate in classroom discussions and presentations that lead to an understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of critical, creative achievements throughout history.

GT AP English Language and Composition (11th grade) and GT AP English Literature (12th grade) are clustered classes that prepare GT students for the associated AP exams.

Social Studies

GT AP Human Geography
Grade Level: 9
AP Human Geography is an introductory college-level human geography course. The course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences.

GT AP World History
Grade Level: 10
AP World History is an introductory, college-level modern world history course. Students cultivate their understanding of world history from c. 1200 CE to the present through analyzing historical sources and learning to make connections and craft historical arguments as they explore concepts like humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation.


Students are clustered with GT certified teachers in their Advanced (Formerly Pre-AP) and AP classes.

9th Grade: Advanced Geometry or Advanced Algebra 2
10th Grade: Advanced Algebra 2 or Advanced Pre-Calculus
11th Grade: Advanced Pre-Calculus or AP Calculus AB/BC
12th Grade: AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC
Additional Courses: AP Statistics, AP Computer Science


Students are clustered with GT certified teachers in their Advanced (Formerly Pre-AP) and AP classes.

9th Grade: Advanced Biology or AP Biology*
10th Grade: Advanced Chemistry or AP Chemistry*
11th Grade: AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and/or AP Physics 1
12th Grade: AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Environmental Science

*seek counselor and science teacher recommendation

Need Help?

If you need additional assistance with the content on this page, please contact McKinney ISD team member Leslie Reins by phone at 469-302-4109 or by email here .