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Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)

Vista Grande GATE - 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge

Vista Grande Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program supports excellence in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) through a program that enhances the education of all students while addressing the specific needs of the gifted. An equitable identification process, differentiated instruction, and enrichment ensure continuous academic growth. Vista Grande teachers provide GATE students with planned and organized learning experiences that are integrated into the regular school day. They may also be augmented or supplemented with other enrichment activities related to the core curriculum. Differentiated curriculum is one that regularly provides opportunities for gifted students to experience instructional techniques that address one or more of the following questions about instruction:

 
Pace: Is the child moving through the curriculum at a pace that insures continuous progress?
 
Depth: Does the curriculum allow the gifted child to go deeper than the surface of a subject area?
 
Complexity: Is the gifted child challenged by critical thinking and higher order thinking skills in the classroom?
 
Product: Does the child have the opportunity to be creative and to apply knowledge to real life situation

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is GATE?

GATE represents Gifted and Talented Education. The term gifted refers to children who show, or have the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression. GATE is the differentiated and specialized education within the classroom designed for these gifted children.
 
2. How does a student become qualified as GATE?
 
At the conclusion of the second trimester, second grade teachers administer the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test). In order to pass the test, the CogAT age-related composite score must be at the 98th percentile or above OR a student must have an age-related composite score at the 97th percentile with an age-related score at the 99th percentile in at least one of the test's three sections (verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal). Once a student has passed the CogAT, he or she is identified as GATE.
 
3. What is the CogAT?
 
The CogAT is a natural aptitude test that measures a student’s inductive and deductive reasoning abilities as well as their capacities in verbal, nonverbal, and quantitative tasks. Scores on this assessment reflect a student’s ability to identify relationships and demonstrate flexible thinking. The CogAT is frequently used among school districts to identify gifted students. San Ramon Valley Unified School District is one of those districts.
 
4. How does one prepare for the CogAT?
 
Since the CogAT is a natural aptitude test, there is no academic preparation required. Unnecessary studying can actually hinder a child's performance on the test and cause greater disappointment in the case that the child does not pass. Vista Grande teachers recommend a good night's sleep the night before, a hearty breakfast the morning of the test, and plenty of encouragement from parents. Second grade teachers review the test's content with practice tests beforehand and create a conducive test taking environment by teaching the students smart test taking strategies.
 
5. What happens if my child passes the CogAT test?
 
Once your child passes the CogAT, he or she is classified as GATE in the school district and at the child's elementary school site. Administration and classroom teachers are informed of the child's GATE status and this information is entered into his or her school file. Students retain GATE status throughout their educational experience in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Students are placed in "GATE clusters" which means that many are grouped together in one classroom to meet their needs more effectively.
 
6. What happens once my child is identified as GATE?
 
You will receive an e-mail from a Vista Grande GATE Teacher Representative shortly after test results have been released. The email will give you a brief overview of the program and what it entails. For further explanation, you will receive an invitation for a GATE Information Night. It is typically scheduled in October and March. This night will explain the program in detail and answer any questions you may have about the program. Classroom teachers are another great resource for information.
 
7. How does Vista Grande meet the needs of GATE students?
 
GATE instruction begins on the first day of school. Through a variety of good teaching practices and strategies, Vista Grande teachers meet the needs of and provide challenges for GATE students. GATE education is integrated into daily instruction. This ensures that gifted students' needs are being met consistently and constantly. Research shows that ongoing, in-class GATE instruction is far more powerful than sporadic after school GATE enrichment. San Ramon Valley School District and Vista Grande believe that our gifted students deserve the maximum amount of GATE instruction that can be provided. The topic of GATE instruction and its implementation will be discussed in depth at the GATE Information Night. For information on how your child's unique needs are being met in his or her personal classroom, consult the teacher. Just as our gifted children learn differently, teachers present information and modify to meet their teaching styles. There might be slight deviations.
 
8. What happens if a child does not pass the CogAT?
 
Regardless if a child passes the CogAT, his or her needs will be met in the classroom. GATE practices and strategies are not restricted to GATE students alone. If a child excels or shows strength in a particular academic area, the teacher will instruct or challenge him or her accordingly. Vista Grande has many brilliant children that are willing and able to take a challenge. Vista Grande teachers give children what they need whether or not they are classified as GATE.
 
9. Can students take the CogAT again? If so, how do I organize the retest for my child?
 
Yes. Students can retake the CogAT the following year.  If you would like your child to retest, register online with the GATE district office. There is a cost of $60 that covers the registration and administration process. Register at  http://www.srvusd.k12.ca.us/gate
 
10. My child is new to the school district. How can he or she be identified as GATE?
 
If your child was identified as a GATE student in another school district, contact the district GATE office at (925) 552-2916. They will tell you if the other district's assessments are equivalent or if your child must retest in our school district. If your child must retest, please refer to the previous question and answer.
 
11. How can I get additional information about the GATE program in the San Ramon Valley School District and at Vista Grande?
 
For information about the GATE program in San Ramon Valley Unified School District refer to the district's GATE website at http://www.srvusd.k12.ca.us/gate. There is a multitude of information about the district's approach to and support of gifted education. For further information about GATE at Vista Grande, contact a GATE Parent Coordinator. Their information is provided on this webpage.  Your child's classroom teacher can be a valuable resource for information as well.
 
12. How can parents help out with the GATE program? 
 
There are many ways you can help our Vista Grande GATE program and your gifted child.
 
  • Contact the classroom teacher and see if there is any way to assist in GATE instruction implementation.
  • Teach an enrichment class after school. You don't have to be a teacher to provide knowledge, experiences, and challenges for our gifted children. They are eager to listen and learn. Teachers can train you on simple teaching techniques to aid in your instruction if you would like.
  • Volunteer to be a chaperone for one of the enrichment classes when needed.
  • Provide instruction yourself at home. Learning does not end once a child leaves the classroom. The best education comes from teachers and parents working together for children. Take your child to museums, shows, or places of historical value. Ask questions about the trips and connect them to real world applications. You can also provide interest-based projects if your child would like to do them.
  • Join the Parent Teacher GATE Committee and help plan engaging and fun events for our Vista Grande GATE students, parents, and teachers. Contact the Vista Grande GATE parent representative if you are interested in joining.

Contact Information

Parent GATE Coordinator - Christy Tyler and Laura Baldwin

Staff Representative - Adam Liebow

 

Non-Discrimination Statement

San Ramon Valley Unified School District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression; or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

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