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GIFTED AND TALENTED EDUCATION (GATE) IN THE SAN MATEO - FOSTER City School District

(updated information as of  November 8, 2019)

The SMFC School District offers a self-contained GATE class in grades 4-5 at College Park Elementary School and grades 6-8 at Bayside Academy. Students in grades 3 and 5 are offered an assessment in late fall for the GATE class. Results of that assessment lead to invitations to the GATE class. Any student whose parent wants them to take the assessment is welcome to do so. The assessment is online and occurs at the school during school hours. The assessment, and therefore entry to the class, is only offered to students who are enrolled in SMFC schools. If your child is currently enrolled in another school, you must register for the 2020-2021 school year first. The GATE assessment will be administered in the spring to students entering SMFC in 2020-2021.

What is GATE?

GATE stands for Gifted and Talented Education. In SMFC we have a self-contained class for 4th - 5th graders at College Park. That program continues at Bayside Middle School for 6th - 8th graders who are identified for the program. There is not one way to assess giftedness and it is not our intention to do so with one test. We provide a standards-based assessment in ELA, Math, and Science which contains nationally leveled questions of high difficulty for the grade level.  We find this accurately identifies students who are a good fit for the program structures and goals.

When is the GATE assessment?

The GATE assessment will occur on November 20th-22nd. There will be a make-up day for students who are absent, determined by school sites.

Are students selected to take the assessment or can I opt my child in?

It is our goal to ensure that any 3rd or 5th grader who might do well on the assessment has the opportunity to take it. Any parent/guardian can sign up their child to take the test.

How do I sign my child up for the assessment?

Contact your child’s school by either emailing or calling the school office before November 19th  so that the school can prepare for the correct number of students.

Which assessment is being administered?

We use a nationally-normed, secured, online assessment.  The assessment will be the same one that we used last year and is different than the assessment in prior years.  The assessment is administered on the Chromebooks at school, in a separate classroom, and should take approximately 1.5 hours.  

What if I don’t want to send my child to the GATE class but I just want to see if they are gifted?

There is no one way to define a child who is gifted, in fact as educators, we believe that all students have gifts. The test we administer is a cognitive assessment that only considers one aspect of a child’s abilities. Your child is welcome to take the assessment and we will share the scores with you.

How can I prepare my child for the GATE assessment?

The best thing to do is to ensure your child is happy and healthy. There is no test-prep. The more stressed your child is, the harder the test will be for them.

When will I get the results?

Because it is an online assessment, the Education Services department will analyze the results within 7-10 days of the assessment and we will notify parents as soon as possible.

What if my child is invited to the GATE class and I want them to go? Do they need a transfer?

A tour of College Park and Bayside will be held in early December for parents/guardians of students who are invited. We will invite students until the class is filled to the district average (28-30 students). Admission to the GATE program is separate from the SMFCSD transfer process. If your child is invited to the class, and you decide it is the best placement, you will be given directions on how to enroll. 


General Information about GATE services and funding in California

Our students are prepared to positively impact a dynamic and diverse world as they:

  • Develop life and career skills through academic excellence and personal wellness
  • Become critical thinkers while taking responsible risks in their learning
  • Acquire and exchange knowledge through collaboration and effective communication
  • Utilize creativity and technology to maximize their potential
  • Demonstrate socially responsible citizenship

Prior to 2001, GATE was seen as a program that offered a different curriculum to students who met a particular set of criteria (determined by each district as GATE has not been a mandated program in California).  At the beginning of this millennium, a new paradigm emerged from the passage of AB2313, and services for gifted students became an integral part of the core curriculum, resulting in improved teaching and learning for everyone. 

A decade and a half later, the adoption of the Common Core State Standards promises to enhance that core curriculum with literacy standards aimed at developing students who are college and career ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language.   From the California Department of Education Website, Students who are college and career ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language:

  • Demonstrate independence
  • Build strong content knowledge
  • Respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline
  • Comprehend as well as critique
  • Value evidence
  • Use technology and digital media strategically and capably
  • Come to understand other perspectives and cultures

Similarly, math standards call for content to be connected as students engage in mathematical tasks.  These connections are essential to support the development of students’ broader mathematical understanding (to develop mathematical giftedness in students).  The Standards for Mathematical Practice are summarized as:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

References

Information in this website is based on the following resources

1Booster, M., Clark, B., Gosfield, M., Kerr, J., & Littrell, B.  (2006). CAG Position Paper: Highly and Profoundly Gifted Children.  Sacramento:  California Association for the Gifted.

1Booster, M., Clark, B., Gosfield, M., Kerr, J., & Littrell, B.  (2008). The Leadership Challenge: A Guidebook for Administrators.  Sacramento:  California Association for the Gifted.

Additional References:

Clark, B. (2008).  Growing up gifted (7th ed.).  Columbus, OH: Merrill/Prentice-Hall.

Davis, G., & Rimm, S. (2004) Education of the gifted and talented (5th ed.).  Boston:  Allyn & Bacon.

Gross, M. (1993).  Exceptionally gifted children.  New York:  Routledge.

Kaplan, S. & Gould, B. (2003).  Depth and Complexity Icon Cards.  Los Angeles:  Educator to Educator

Silverman, L. K.  (1993).  Counseling the gifted and talented.  Denver, CO:  Love.