Union School District

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Gifted and Talented Education

Union School District strives to maximize the level of student achievement through the establishment of challenging and measurable standards that accommodate the needs of all student population.

Future Ready Classrooms
Our classroom curriculum and instructional practices address the rigorous state standards and teachers are trained to provide an appropriately differentiated and challenging instructional program to meet the specific needs of all students, including those who have demonstrated an exceptional capacity for academic achievement.  Utilizing the latest technologies and Common Core curriculum, teachers employ a variety of instructional strategies and groupings structured so that individual student experiences and activities can vary in acceleration, depth, complexity or degree of novelty.
 
Meeting the Needs of GATE Students
Union School District offers a variety of program modifications that are particularly designed to meet the needs of gifted and talented students. Instructional strategies accommodate different learning styles and support collaboration and self-reflection. Differentiation of course content is achieved through added depth, complexity, novelty, or acceleration of pace. As in all classes, interdisciplinary, learning-centered curriculum featuring hands-on, collaborative learning activities and materials with real-world applications increase the power and relevance of learning for students.  
 
Beyond the Academics
Students in the Union School District are encouraged to take on leadership roles in their classrooms. They contribute to problem solving, participate in discussions, and challenge themselves beyond what is required. Opportunities such as student government, theatre arts, music and after school enrichment also provide a wealth of opportunities for both gifted identified and others to be challenged and engaged beyond the core curriculum.
 
GATE Enrichment Opportunities 2016-17
Elementary GATE students may participate in the District’s after-school GATE enrichment activities planned and facilitated by our three GATE Teacher Leaders. The teacher leaders will send parents information about the dates and locations of the sessions in late October.  Parents are responsible for transportation for the after-school sessions.  
  • A monthly enrichment session held at the school site
  • A monthly STEAM enrichment session held at Dartmouth Middle School’s STEM lab (Dates will be announced).
  • A District-sponsored field trip to the Tech Museum of Innovation during the school day. 
  • The District spring STEAM Showcase, in which GATE students will be given the opportunity to present one of their projects developed during their GATE sessions.
 
GATE Identification
Formal identification of GATE students begins in third grade. There is not a formal identification process for kindergarten, first, and second grades. The GATE test is administered to all third graders and all new students to the district in late spring. Fourth and fifth grade students who are referred by the school may also be tested. Notification letters are sent home to parents prior to initial GATE testing to explain the testing process and allow for opt-out.  
 
While CAASPP and local benchmark testing measures student academic achievement and depth of knowledge on the California State Standards, the GATE screening test is a nonverbal reasoning and general problem-solving assessment that measures overall intellectual abilities and behaviors associated with giftedness and multiple intelligences. 
 
Eligibility Criteria
As stated above, while many students have academic strengths and abilities, not all meet the eligibility criteria for our gifted program and services.  Students qualify for placement in our elementary GATE program by meeting all of the following criteria:
  • Scoring at/above the 95th percentile on the Initial GATE test (NNAT2) or scoring at/above the 90th percentile for retesting on SOI test.
  • SBAC Overall Achievement Score “Exceeds Standard” on either ELA or Math OR, standardized test scores from student’s former school showing high achievement. This criteria is adjusted for students that are English Learners or Special Education.
  • Teacher Indicators of Behaviors - for referrals and students being retested
 
Eligibility Notification is done by the Department of Educational Services.
  • Spring Initial Testing: GATE eligible letters are mailed to parents in August/September. Parents are not notified if their child did not qualify.  
  • Retesting: Parents will receive a letter 2-3 weeks after testing with information about their child's results and whether their child met or did not meet eligibility. 
 
If the student is eligible for GATE:
  • Parents are notified through the mail and permission to participate in the program is obtained.
  • The student’s status is placed on the district’s database and remains with the child throughout his/her school years.
  • In addition to the classroom setting, the District provides opportunities that are offered outside of the regular school day. Information is sent out to GATE parents in the fall about the opportunities available. 

 

Referrals/Requests for Retesting:  

  • Students who do not meet the criteria on the initial GATE assessment, may be referred by either the teacher or parent for retesting, but may not be tested more than once per school year.
  • A minimum of 6-months must have elapsed between initial testing and retesting.
  • Retesting for GATE is only done in the winter and spring testing windows. 
  • Student referrals received outside of the testing window, will be held until the next testing window. 
  • Students who meet the eligibility in the winter testing window, will have the opportunity to participate in the spring GATE enrichment activities.
  • There are no referrals for spring testing of 5th grade students.
 
GATE Testing Windows:  *Winter referrals must have met the SBAC/standardized test criteria
  • Winter (Deadline 1/13) - 4th/5th grade school/parent referrals for initial or retesting 
  • Spring (Deadline 5/20) - 3rd grade initial testing; 4th grade initial/retesting referrals