Academically or intellectually gifted students enrolled in Avery County Schools are served through an integrated gifted education program. Academically or Intellectually Gifted Program services are aligned with the regular education program, K-12, where flexible grouping is used to ensure that highly able and gifted students reach their full potential. The NC Standard Course of Study provides a curriculum base on which to build a framework for expanding and/or enhancing curriculum for academically able and motivated students. It is the intent of the integrated program to link and align instructional strategies and assessment instrument with students' talents, interests and needs. The classroom in which critical thinking is encouraged is one where questions are valued, intellectual challenges are welcomed, and one in which education is viewed as a process of teaching what is known, as well as a process of searching answers to what is unknown. The critical thinker is awarded time to deliberate, think of alternate solutions to given problems, weigh evidence and ultimately articulate and defend a logical conclusion.