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For Gifted & High-Achieving Students

Students pose for a photo at spring fair together

12 Signs of Giftedness | Experienced Teachers


More than one thing. Everything


Your child is a highly capable learner, and perhaps already has been identified as gifted, but there is so much more to them than academic ability.

At The Avery Coonley School, experienced teachers who understand the needs of gifted and high-achieving children build the bonds that enable them to develop an individualized approach for each child. No matter how it is tailored and on what platform it is delivered, an ACS education helps students thrive through intellectual challenge as well as an essential focus on the arts and creative expression, physical health, character, and social and emotional growth.

We must study children and be equipped to take care of, not two hours of their day and one-tenth of their natures, but the whole child.
Queene Ferry Coonley

12 Signs of Giftedness

Although giftedness is most simply defined as having a high IQ, certain characteristics are often more helpful in identifying gifted learners:

  • Early Language Development—uses advanced vocabulary and language; reads at an early age without formal teaching
  • Excellent Memory—recalls events and details accurately
  • Persistent Curiosity—exhibits an insatiable appetite and joy for learning
  • Rapid Learning—masters concepts quickly
  • Creativity in Thinking—thinks outside the box; puts ideas and things together in novel ways
  • Highly Developed Sense of Humor—recognizes and applies humor at an early age
  • Compassion—exhibits an intuitive nature; has as heightened awareness of social and environmental concerns
  • Keen Powers of Observation—considers multiple perspectives
  • Emotional Intensity—demonstrates passion around areas of interest; displays sensitivities with feelings and situations
  • Preference for Older Playmates—chooses to be with older kids or adults
  • Perfectionism—needs to do things correctly the first time; expects a lot of themselves
  • Long Attention Span—demonstrates persistence; attends to areas of interest for long periods

Experienced Teachers

ACS teachers understand the needs of gifted and high-achieving children and are experienced in differentiating their instruction to support individual learners. They not only provide an advanced curriculum, but create a collaborative learning environment that harnesses the energy of students’ curiosity and interests.

All faculty engage in extensive professional development, including seminars at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Teachers College, Columbia University. They have presented and conducted trainings across the United States on everything from gifted education to integrating educational technology into the curriculum. Nearly three-quarters of the faculty hold advanced degrees. The average tenure of an ACS teacher is nine years.

Avery Coonley provides the opportunity to delve deeper into a plethora of topics with highly skilled teachers, and the opportunity to interact every day with other kids who are academically advanced, providing an incredibly rich environment for social, emotional, and academic development.
Parent response from 2020 survey 



For Mind and Body

Our new Outdoor Challenge Course is much more than a natural playground. ACS faculty have been certified to lead groups on the course to develop interpersonal and communication skills and practice problem solving.


The Arts Are Essential

Imagination soars in our comprehensive arts program, with a full curriculum in the visual arts, music, and drama. Whether drawing scientific illustrations, performing a song related to the culture they are studying, or producing a full-length play script, students expand upon the curriculum with creative expression.




Creative Teaching Includes House Calls

During the first spring of the pandemic, our athletic director, Joe Schallmoser, visited each student’s home to lead them in burpees and share a “bad dad joke.” It’s all part of how ACS faculty connect individually with their students.

How We Challenge Them

Avery Coonley offers highly motivated, high-ability learners a curriculum with the depth, pace, and complexity that will challenge them to the fullest.

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Better Together

Imagine your child spending all day with other children who value intellectual curiosity, want to work hard, and are energized by their peers’ creativity. 

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