South Washington County Schools

Cluster Classrooms

Grades 3-5

A cluster classroom is a regular mainstream classroom in which a small group or cluster of students with gifted identification are placed together. The classroom teacher has the skills necessary to meet the needs of gifted learners. The size of the cluster may be as few as two or as many as ten students. The rest of the cluster classroom is composed of students of varying ability, not everyone in a cluster classroom has gifted identification.
Gifted Education services in District 833 are curriculum based. The curriculum for students in the cluster classroom is based on our district's core curriculum which is differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. Able learners may progress at an accelerated rate or at an in-depth level. A primary objective of the cluster classroom is to place greater emphasis on high level cognitive abilities. The cluster classroom also provides the students with an opportunity to interact with their intellectual peers. All students benefit when teachers focus on expanding, extending, and enhancing classroom learning opportunities.
Gifted Education services are provided at all District 833 elementary schools through the Levels of Service approach. These levels are based on the individual programming model developed by Dr. Donald Treffinger of the Center for Creative Learning, Inc. in Sarasota, Florida. For more information about opportunities at your school, please contact your child's classroom teacher.



Gateway is a “program within a school” for students who are highly gifted and have exceptional abilities. The "program within a school" is comprised of five classrooms serving selected students in grades 3 through 5. It is located at Valley Crossing Elementary.  
Gateway has been successful in challenging highly gifted students who have demonstrated needs beyond the Cluster Classroom model. Transportation is provided for students who come from any of the sixteen elementary sites across the district.
This program:
  • Establishes rigorous academic goals that meet and exceed District 833 curriculum
  • Incorporates multiple learning styles and  intelligences by compacting and differentiating instruction
  • Fosters higher level thinking in a community of academically astute minds
  • Creates a cohesive peer community of gifted learners

See below for more details on Gateway interest forms and supporting information: 

Gifted Education is available to all gifted learners in a cluster classroom in all District 833 neighborhood schools. Please Note: Gateway cluster classroom placements are initiated when families request a review of a student’s cluster classroom placement, but are not essential to receiving gifted education in District 833.

Dates for current 833 families considering Gateway for 2018-2019

Important information for non-resident families

Fall 2017

Gateway Interest Form available on Gifted Education website - see below

Between Now-
January 19

If you are submitting a Gateway Interest Form, and would like your child(ren) to participate in Kids Club for next year

·         Place an online enrollment request for your child(ren) for your needed enrollment schedule at their current school.  Upon receipt of your request Kids Club staff will review your request in the order it was received and approve enrollment based on space availability.

·         As a follow-up to your enrollment request you will then contact Kids Club either via email at kidsclub@cecool.com or call Sherrie at
651-425-6637 to be placed on a waiting list at Valley Crossing for the scheduling that you would need at this location (based on Valley crossing school hours). 

·         Transfer of your enrollment from your neighborhood school to Kids Club at Valley Crossing will be based upon space available with the KC group at Valley Crossing.

January 11, 2018         5:00-6:00 PM

Gateway (Grades 3-5) Information Session at Valley Crossing: This event is focused on parents.  A tour of the school will not be available during the evening.

*For parents of students identified as gifted learners in 833, currently in grades 2 and 3

January 19, 2018


Family Gateway Interest Forms due to Gifted Education at District Service Center no later than 4:00 p.m.

*7362 E. Point Douglas Rd. S., Cottage Grove, MN 55016

February 12,

Learning Environment Recommendations for fall will be mailed to families who submitted Gateway Interest Forms

February 28, 2018

Family Confirmation of Gateway Learning Environment for 2018-2019 due

The Gateway Interest process has been completed for the 2017-2018 school year.

2018 - 2019 Information: Updated forms are now available



Middle Schools (Grades 6-8)

Developing critical, creative and complex thinkers is the foundation for gifted middle school instructional design.
Gifted learners are placed together into cluster classrooms for their core classes: language arts, social studies, science & math with teachers who have been identified and specifically trained to meet the needs of a gifted young adolescent. 
Each middle school has a gifted education specialist or coach on staff to support students and families.
Gifted education services are provided at all District 833 middle schools through the Levels of Service approach. These levels are based on the individual programming model developed by Dr. Donald Treffinger of the Center for Creative Learning, Inc. in Sarasota, Florida. To learn more about our district middle schools, see the school website, contact the building gifted education specialist, gifted coach or the principal of your child’s middle school.
Further details regarding middle school may be found in the Middle School Brochure.