Gifted And Talented Education (GATE)

Who are gifted students and what is a GATE Program

U.S. Department of Education:
Gifted and talented students are those who, by virtue of outstanding abilities, are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and services in order to realize their contribution to themselves and others.

California State Department of Education:
(Taken from Meeting the Challenge: A Guidebook for Teaching Gifted Students)

The California State Legislature’s goal is to provide gifted and talented children with appropriate learning opportunities based on their unique needs and extraordinary potential. The learning opportunities provided by a Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program consist of:

  • Differentiated opportunities for learning
  • Alternative learning environments
  • Elements for developing sensitivity and responsibility toward others
  • Elements that help develop a commitment to constructive ethical standards
  • Elements for developing self-generating problem solving abilities
  • Elements for developing realistic, healthy self-concepts

How is MSD’s GATE Program Designed?

The MSD GATE program is designed to meet the needs of those children who demonstrate the capacity for high levels of thinking and/or scholastic achievement. The goal is to nurture their unique talents, abilities, and interests, and to extend their educational experiences so that they may reach their fullest potential.

Formal GATE programs are offered to identified students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. Our elementary schools meet the needs of gifted students via the home school cluster grouping model.

Home School Cluster Program

In this educational setting, groups identified students are clustered together within a general education classroom. GATE  teachers provide this group of gifted students a differentiated core curriculum that is designed to allow for acceleration, novelty, more complex student products and research.

Benefits of GATE Clustering

  • Gifted students receive appropriately differentiated curriculum at their home school sites.
  • Research suggests that grouping gifted students benefits ALL students! When teachers learn how to provide what gifted students need, they also learn to differentiate learning experiences for the entire class - raising achievement for all.

How are students identified for GATE?

The district’s identification procedures are equitable and comprehensive. Students are identified for participation in the GATE program using the following informational data:

  • Intellectual Ability
  • Academic Achievement
  • Gifted Student Characteristics (e.g., creativity, leadership, task commitment, extraordinary development in the arts)
  • Impact Factors (e.g., English language acquisition, medical history)

Formal assessment is initiated in one of two ways:

  • 3rd Grade Screening (students who score at the proficient level or above on the English Language Arts and Math California Standards Test are tested in the winter of each school year)
  • Teacher Referral and/or Parent Request (students recommended for GATE screening are tested in early March)
  • Note on Transfer Students:
    Transfer students who have been previously identified in another district are admitted to the GATE program during the interim school year. However, prior to continuing to the next grade level, students must be screened and meet the MSD identification criteria

How does the GATE program meet gifted students’needs?

The challenge for every educational program is to assure that ALL students, including those who are highly and uniquely capable, are challenged to operate at increasingly complex levels of thinking and production.

MSD GATE teachers receive specialized training and use the district’s core curriculum and the California State Standards as the basis for providing a qualitatively different program. Students acquire grade-level concepts differentiated to include depth, complexity, novelty, and acceleration (where appropriate). This differentiation is provided through the following:

  • Enrichment (challenge) components integrated in the reading/language arts and mathematics programs
  • Special projects
  • Variations on classroom assignments
  • Study trips
  • Dedicated instructional materials
  • Specialized technology training

How can I learn more about GATE?

  • Contact your local school office and ask for additional information regarding the GATE program and identification procedures

Become a member of the District GATE Advisory Committee (DGAC). The DGAC meets three times each school year to coordinate district-wide information, provide input on program improvement, parent education, and program evaluation. The Board of Trustees, the Superintendent, and all district and school staff strongly believe that positive gains result from educators and parents who take an active interest in their schools. If you are interested in participating on the DGAC, please contact your school’s principal.