Gifted and Talented

Mesquite Independent School District strives to provide the gifted with a nurturing environment, a differentiated curriculum and a trained, enlightened staff. By encouraging gifted students to become autonomous learners through a challenging program, future generations will have the socially and ethically responsible leaders, producers, inventors, philosophers, and visionaries who can make valuable contributions to our world as well as our community.

Needs of the Gifted Child

While gifted children share with all children the same basic need for love and acceptance, they also have a powerful need for a differentiated curriculum. Gifted students have abilities that allow them to move at a faster pace and to retain knowledge in greater depth when compared with other students. Gifted students also have the ability to make insightful connections between pieces of information and events.

Because of their unique abilities, gifted students require access to a challenging curriculum as well as learning opportunities and interactions with their intellectual peers. They need to be exposed to varied subjects, to share and discuss their ideas verbally, and to explore their own interests. Mesquite ISD offers special programming for gifted students in order to meet their need for a differentiated curriculum.


Gifted students are identified through a four-step process:

  1. Referral

  2. Screening

  3. Identification

  4. Placement

The final selection for placement is made by a committee of at least three local district educators who have received training in the identification and assessment of gifted students.

Screening involves the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. Achievement tests; educational abilities tests; student performance as recorded with grades, portfolios, and interviews; teacher/parent checklists; and district testing are considered during the screening process.


Evaluation of the Mesquite Gifted Program is based on student growth as determined by testing (standardized and criterion referenced) and/or evaluation of student products. Input from students, teachers, administration, and parents is gained through conferences and evaluation rating instruments.

Curriculum Processes

The curriculum for the academically gifted focuses on research/study skills, along with critical thinking and creative/productive thinking, while enhancing student leadership skills through group dynamics.


The student will:

  • Select and define a topic and/or research question

  • Identify an audience

  • Gather and organize information

  • Present a creative, original product.

Critical Thinking

The student will analyze, question, infer, reason, and evaluate.

Creative/Productive Thinking

The student will exhibit fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration, complexity, curiosity, imagination, and risk taking.

Group Dynamics

The student will:

  • Participate in cooperative group problem-solving

  • Participate in collaborative group presentations

  • Experience various roles in group activities

  • Model trustworthiness and acceptance of others.


Program Goals

Students will:

  • Apply their general intellectual abilities through performance of complex mental tasks

  • Further develop their creative/productive thinking abilities through the generation of original products reflecting the use of higher level thought processes

  • Further develop their specific subject matter aptitudes through the utilization of advanced content and processes to produce original complex products

  • Seek original solutions to self-selected problems reflecting use of higher level thought processes

  • Become self-directed learners

  • Become more aware of and cope more successfully with their giftedness in relation to themselves and others.


ABLE (Alternatives for Brighter Learner Experiences) is our campus-based program serving students in kindergarten through first grade. Students identified for this program are placed with teachers trained in gifted education. Students receive instruction in all academic areas as well as instruction in the use of higher-order thinking skills. Students are also clustered with other identified students to ensure they have authentic peer interactions and learning experiences.

QUEST is designed as a pull-out program for gifted students in grades two through five. Identified G/T students attend QUEST in addition to being placed in a trained teacher’s classroom and clustered with other identified students. It serves students from all elementary campuses who have met specific criteria. QUEST offers students a differentiated curriculum through interdisciplinary, concept-based teaching and learning experiences. MISD provides transportation to central locations where students attend one day a week and receive instruction in critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making.

G/T (Gifted and Talented) classes are offered for identified secondary students. The classes offer appropriately differentiated learning experiences and advanced curriculum and instruction in the areas of English, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Other Opportunities

Mesquite ISD provides many other opportunities for further talent development.

  • Destination ImagiNation

  • Academic Decathlon

  • Science Fair

  • National History Day

  • National Elementary Honor Society

  • National Junior Honor Society

  • National Honor Society

  • Student Council

  • UIL Competitions

  • All City Boys/Girls Choirs

  • Fine Arts Festival

  • Elementary Orchestra Festival

  • Theatre Productions

  • Solo and Ensemble Contest

  • All Region Music Groups

  • All City Middle School Honors Music Groups

  • Honors District-Wide Art Exhibit

  • PTA Cultural Arts Competition

  • Mentorship

  • Pre-Advanced Placement

  • Advanced Placement

  • Peer Mediation

  • Community Service Opportunities

We strive to provide the gifted with a nurturing environment, a differentiated curriculum, and a trained, enlightened staff. By encouraging gifted students to become autonomous learners through a challenging program, future generations will have the socially and ethically responsible leaders, producers, inventors, philosophers, and visionaries who can make valuable contributions to our world as well as our community. Mesquite ISD's Quest program is housed at Rugel Elementary School.

Additional information for Quest parents

Quest Faculty

Mrs. Rhonda Johnson
5th Grade
Mrs. Johnson has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a MEU degree in Education from Texas A&M-Commerce/Mesquite ISD . She received her Reading Certification from TWU. Mrs. Johnson has worked with MISD for 20years. She has three wonderful daughters and an amazing husband who has taught/coached for 30 years in MISD. She loves spending time with her family and their eclectic group of animals enjoying nature and making memories.
faculty photo
Ms. Sheena Flores
3rd/4th grades
Mrs. Flores earned a Bachelor's in English from The University of Texas at Arlington and a Master's degree from Texas A&M-Commerce. She earned her gifted certification from The University of North Texas. She has worked for MISD since 1996. She has three lovely children. She enjoys going to movies, music concerts, art shows and sports events.
Mrs. Christy Campos
6th grade
Mrs. Campos has a Bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Dallas and a Master's degree and gifted/talented certification from Southern Methodist University. She has been teaching since 2005. Mrs. Campos enjoys an exciting life full of cooking, traveling, reading, drawing, and spending time with family. She and her husband, Carlos who is also a teacher, love to spend family time with their three young daughters.
Mrs. Ginger Griffis
6th grade
Mrs. Griffis has been teaching upper elementary students since 1986, joining MISD in 1993. She has a Master's Degree in Elementary Education from Texas A & M - Commerce and also has certification in Gifted Education, having continued her graduate work in gifted education at University of North Texas. She and her husband have three adult children and five awesome grandchildren.
Mrs. Michele Richards
3rd/4th grade
Mrs. Richards has a Bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University and a Master’s degree from Texas A&M at Commerce. She also has a gifted certification from the University of North Texas. Mrs. Richards has been teaching since 1999. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their young son. Her hobbies include traveling to different countries, playing board games, and scrapbooking.
Mrs. Sue Snider
5th grade
Mrs. Snider has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from Texas A & M University-Commerce. She has a gifted certification from University of North Texas. She began her MISD teaching career in 1993. She and her husband have three adult children, and five fantastic grandchildren. Her hobbies include shopping, going to movies and concerts, and traveling to visit relatives all over the world.
Mrs. Lynda Benavides
Mrs. Benavides is a graduate of Mesquite schools. She began her career with MISD in 1993. She and her husband have two adult children and seven grandchildren. Mrs. Benavides enjoys movies, music, and spending time with family and friends.

Quest Curriculum

Click on the image below to view the Quest curriculum diagram at full size.