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Gifted & Talented Education (GATE)

Due to the elimination of funding for the GATE by the State, PAUSD has suspended the identification of GATE students. The District remains committed to serving the individual needs of high achieving and gifted students regardless of GATE identification.

Palo Alto Unified school district’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) provides educational opportunities that recognize the performance capabilities of gifted students as well as addresses the unique needs and differences associated with having these abilities. The goals of Gifted and Talented Education can be defined as follows:

  • To provide students with opportunities for learning that maximize each students' abilities.
  • To assist and encourage students to acquire skills and understanding at advanced academic and creative levels.
  • To aid students in expanding their abilities to communicate and apply their ideas effectively.
  • To engender an enthusiasm for learning.

Program Model
In elementary and middle school, all students receive differentiated instruction within the mainstream classroom. Teachers enrich and extend the core curriculum for gifted students by differentiating instruction, content, and process. Through differentiated assignments developed to meet their academic and intellectual needs, GATE students are able to explore and expand to their maximum potentials. These differentiated opportunities are available to all students, not just those who are formally identified. Advanced math courses are available in 7th grade and continue through 12th grade. In high school, gifted students are able to take advanced, honors, and advanced placement courses in a wide variety of subjects.

Identifying Gifted and Talented Students (Identification Process Suspended)
The district’s identification procedures are equitable, comprehensive and ongoing. Formal identification for GATE begins in the spring of 3rd grade. Nominations may come from teachers, parents or others who know the student. Once students are nominated, a combination of multi-measures must be used to identify students as gifted and talented:

  • Standardized test scores
  • Checklists of Indicators of Giftedness
  • Multiple Intelligences Checklist
  • Teacher judgment, including class work and grades
  • A non-reading test of cognitive processing skills (the Ravens Progressive Matrices),
  • Individual Test scores
  • Out of district data

The GATE standards and the Ed. Code require us to use information from many sources before identifying a student for GATE. These standards do not allow us to identify based on only one of the above measures. Parents are notified by letter if their child qualified as a GATE student. Parents can request that their child not be identified.

GATE Resources for Parents and Students

A list of resources for gifted children used by Palo Alto parents and teachers includes:

  • Organizations for the Gifted
  • Summer Programs
  • Enrichment Programs
  • Contests for Kids



Revised July 2013