Gifted and Talented Education
Philosophy, Identification & Program ElementsLAUSD GATE Program Goal
The goal of the Gifted and Talented Education program in the Los Alamitos Unified School District is to offer the gifted learner opportunities to develop skills in critical thinking and leadership; to create self-expression; and to develop skills and processes at a rate and extent that are characteristic of the student's individual ability.
In the Los Alamitos Unified School District, teachers, administrators and support staff recognize that gifted and talented students possess unique learning characteristics. These characteristics might include the student's need to delve deeply into a given subject, a desire to spend longer periods of time researching a topic, the ability to quickly master designated grade level content, an extremely strong sense of fairness, sensitivity and empathy, and the need to interact with mental peers on a regular basis.
Research shows that because of these characteristics, gifted students require some alteration to the regular classroom program in order to reach their full academic, social and/or physical potential. In Los Alamitos School District, gifted and talented students will experience a differentiated program in the following areas; learning environment, teaching/learning processes, student products, assessment, and curriculum content.
Screening & Identification
As part of the LAUSD Universal Screening all students in the third grade are screened for GATE identification, with parent consent. The GATE program in LAUSD begins in fourth grade. During fall parent conferences teachers will present third-grade parents with a from grating the district permission to administer the Otis Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT), which is part of the GATE screening process.
Students in grades four and five are eligible to be re-screened for the GATE program annually via parent or teacher request. Parents of fourth and fifth grade students who would like their child screened for the GATE program should request the screening at their fall teacher-parent conference.
LAUSD uses a multiple measures form to identify students for the GATE program. This form awards points towards GATE identification in the following areas:
- Verbal, non-verbal and total percentile scores on the OLSAT
- ELA and Math scaled scores on the California Standards Test (CST)
- Grade point average
- Student work sample
- Teacher Survey
- Parent Survey
- Areas of special consideration: exceptional leadership ability, visual and performing arts excellence, special education, second language learner, significant scoring influence, under represented minority, and other.
The OLSAT is given district-wide during January and February. Parents are notified prior to testing dates. The OLSAT is given in two parts, exactly one week apart. The first part is the OLSAT pre-test, which consists of approximately 15 questions, is untimed, and is self-corrected by students. Students are encouraged during the pre-test administration to ask questions regarding how to correctly solve problems. The second part, given one week later, is the actual OLSAT examination. This test is timed and students work independently.
Notification of Screening Results
Once results of the OLSAT are received by the school site the GATE team will begin analyzing data and gathering supporting documentation to complete the multiple-measures form. Parents are notified of screening results during the first week of June. Students will bring screening results home in a sealed envelope that is addressed to parents.
For more information on the GATE program or the screening and identification process you may visit the LAUSD GATE web page or contact Mrs. Garcia.
GATE Program for Identified Students
The program for identified GATE students includes a focus on the following elements:
- A counseling, guidance and teaching staff who acknowledge and respect each student's uniqueness.
- A flexible classroom structure which meets the needs of the gifted learner through a variety of learning situations including small group instruction, cooperative learning, and independent research.
- A school day which provides opportunities to: (a) interact with intellectual peers, (b) interact with other gifted students who share the same learning needs, (c) learn and practice being a leader as well as a follower, (d) engage in divergent thinking, (e) develop social as well as academic skills.
- A risk free environment in which freedom of thought and divergent thinking is encouraged, expected and valued.
- Opportunities to understand, experience and appreciate intellectual and cultural diversities.
- Teachers who have the desire, skill and commitment necessary to provide for individual GATE student's intellectual, social and emotional development.
- Opportunities to interact with teachers and other adults about topics of personal interests.
- Opportunities to operate at the higher cognitive levels for a portion of the school day.
- Opportunities to evaluate individual growth and achievement.
- Strategies to guide students toward a greater tolerance of other's skills and strengths.
- Use of higher levels of thinking skills and a variety of teaching styles to promote critical/creative thinking.
- Opportunities for students to consider their personal and academic growth.
- Use of a variety of teaching modes: (a) cooperative learning (b) discussions (c) hands-on experiences (d) simulations (e) inquiry (f) lecture format.
- Opportunities to be both a leader and a follower and to participate in both homogeneous and heterogeneous ability and skills groups.
- The work of the gifted student often shows an intellectual engagement with processes and products of learning; i.e., a commitment to the knowledge and insights that education has to offer. Because of this, student products will reflect the following: (a) an ability to grasp cognitive concepts quickly and in-depth, and to appreciate and comprehend interdisciplinary connectedness, (b) high levels of critical thinking (evaluation and synthesis), (c) evidence of an individual response to information and ideas (creativity), (d) an original approach to an assignment in content and/or presentation format, (e) an ability to address solutions to real personal, environmental or community problems.
- Opportunities to pursue in-depth academic studies.
- Opportunities to reflect and consider the relationship of new information to existing knowledge.
- Opportunities to understand, experience and appreciate the cultural diversity within our society.
- Opportunities to move from the cognitive to the affective domains to explore moral and ethical issues and values.
- Opportunities to discuss ideas with teachers and other students and to suggest original solutions or viewpoints.
- A curriculum which is integrated throughout content areas and which encourages student interactions and creative thought.
GATE Students at Hopkinson
GATE identified students in the fourth and fifth grade are clustered into classrooms to be stimulated by their intellectual peers and receive differentiated instruction. This program is designed to promote higher level thinking skills, cooperative learning and leadership.