Katy ISD chooses students for its Gifted and Talented Program by allowing parents to propose inclusion of their child themselves. 

Putting the onus on the parent removes the school district from direct responsibility for identifying those students themselves.

Why would they do that?  Well, first to protect themselves from criticism and maybe a lawsuit.  If they miss someone, they could be held accountable down the road.

Secondly it's just less trouble for the administrators and teachers.

In my opinion, some sort of a screening process should be in place that includes REAL achievement test scores and/or an IQ test (and that's a problem since they no longer give many or any of those), teacher recommendations, parent recommendations, and other true diagnostic instruments that are available.

I notice that the District is advertising for parents to submit applications for kindergarten students.  Smart students are indeed recognizable at that level, but care should be taken to not mistake reading ability for high intelligence.  Some children who cannot read in kindergarten are still GT students. 

Sometimes early readers are just that.  They become over-achievers early on, but then they don't keep ahead of the pack as everyone else learns to read.  Think how disappointing it must be to those students (and their parents) when they find out that they are not that gifted.

Care must be taken to avoid such situations.

Here is the KISD notice:

Parents of kindergarten students in Katy ISD may refer their children for Challenge (Gifted & Talented) screening starting September 15, 2014. The deadline for submitting the referral form (parent checklist) is Oct. 8, 2014. The deadline will be enforced so that students can be tested on the testing days designated for this purpose. All kindergarten parents will receive information in their child's take-home packet on how to refer him or her beginning the week of Sept. 15.

The State of Texas defines a gifted and talented student as a child or youth who performs or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment.

Parents of referred and screened students will receive placement notification during the last week of February, and service will begin March 1, 2015. The kindergarten program emphasizes the development of critical and creative thinking skills. Students attend for 60 minutes each week in the Challenge classroom. Students identified in kindergarten move into the elementary pullout program in first grade. If you have questions, please contact the counselor at the home campus or the campus Challenge teacher.

Three information sessions for parents will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2014. The day sessions beginning at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. will be held at the Leonard Merrell Center located at 6301 S. Stadium Lane between Interstate 10 and Katy High School (use the West Entrance of the Merrell Center). The evening session will take place at Stephens Elementary cafeteria located at 2715 Fry Road beginning at 7 p.m.  An interpreter will be available at the evening session for Spanish-speaking parents. All sessions will last approximately one hour, and students do not need to attend.

For more information, visit the Gifted and Talented website or contact the counselor at any home campus. 

I think it's disappointing that the District drags its feet and does not serve these children in a pull out program until March 1 of the kindergarten year.  They are supposed to accommodate all gifted and talented children, and that SHOULD mean ALL year!