Gifted and Talented Education in GUSD is based on the belief that every child is entitled to the opportunity to develop his/her full potential through a variety of services based on standard-based instruction, the California State Frameworks and the California State Standards for Gifted and Talented Education. 


Goals for GATE services are based on California State GATE Program   Standards and California Content Standards. These goals are: 

· Provide an appropriate education for gifted learners suited to assessed needs and abilities which will enable him/her to realize optimum potential

· Search for and identify students of all ethnic and economic populations who demonstrate a capacity for excellence which exceeds that of their chronological peers using an identification process that commences in second grade and continues through high school

· Seek out and include students from all ethnic and economic backgrounds

· Provide appropriate services which include differentiated curriculum, support special interests, and foster high academic expectations.

· Provide staff training which assists in meeting the challenge of teaching the gifted in the regular classroom

· Provide support services for families of gifted students at the site and district level with general meetings on specific topics related to issues of parenting gifted students and regular communication through school site councils and newsletters

Definition of Gifted

In 1993, the U.S. Department of Education define gifted and talented students as “Children and youth who perform at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience or environment.”

A gifted person is someone who shows, or has the potential for showing an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression.  Some of these abilities are very general such as leadership skills or the ability to think creatively.  Some are very specific talents and are only evident in particular circumstances, such as a special aptitude for mathematics, science or music.  It is generally recognized that approximately five percent of the student population in the United States are considered gifted.  These children and youth exhibit high performance capability in intellectual, creative and/or artistic areas, possess an unusual leadership capacity, or excel in specific academic fields.  Outstanding talents are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor.

Characteristics of Gifted Children

  • Asks lots of questions.  Wants to know how or why something is so.  Not satisfied with simple answers to questions.

  • Has lots of information on many things May show more interest in “big ideas” than in basic skills knowledge.

  • Remembers things that have only been heard or seen once.  Seems to understand easily.

  • Becomes unusually upset at injustices.  Interested in adult concerns

  • Has high expectations of self and others.

  • Seems restless if given unchallenging tasks.

  • Likes solving puzzles and problems.

  • Reads books that are normally read by older children.

  • Enjoys meeting or talking with older children or adults. Tries to do things in different, unusual, imaginative ways.

  • Has an unusual or quirky sense of humor.

  • Likes variety and novelty, unusual questions; has a vivid imagination.

  • Responds emotionally to stories or events.

  • Invents new ways of doing things.


All GUSD students have one or more opportunities to be tested for GATE.  All second grad students are given the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Plus (SPM+) test in the spring.  Students in third, fourth or fifth grade that are new to the district are tested in the fall.  Students new to the district in middle school can be referred to the District GATE Office for testing by teachers or administrators.

Multiple measures are used to determine GATE eligibility.  Students scoring at or above the 95th percentile are referred for a Case Study and possible certification for GATE services.  The parent is notified and requested to complete a parent survey and sign a permission form to build the Case Study.  If permission is given, a Case Study is built to include the following:

  • Scores on the Raven’s Progressive Matrices (SPM+)

  • Scores on benchmark testing

  • Parent questionnaire

  • Teacher list of observed behaviors

  • List of health and environmental risk factors 

School sites and parents have the option of requesting an appeal of the GATE certification process for students who score in the 90th-94th percentile.  The process is the same as above with the addition of the following requirements for consideration:

  • Scores on recently administered achievement tests

 A request to re-screen a student may be made two years after the initial participation in the screening process.


Members of the GATE Certification Committee may include:

  • School principal

  • District GATE Administrator

  • Teacher

  • Other personnel, as appropriate

This committee reviews the data to determine a student’s qualification for GATE services.  If the GATE Certification Committee determines the students to be eligible, their certification form is approved.  Once certified, the student’s parents and school are notified, and the student is identified as GATE in the District Student Database.  All Case Study forms are retained in the District’s GATE office files until students reach 21 years of age.  A purple folder sent to the school for identified students should be placed in the cumulative file.  Parents may request that identification information from the District GATE Office be provided to another district. 

Raven’s Progressive Matrices Plus

How was the SPM+ chosen?

A committee composed of parents of GATE students, the District GATE Administrator, and a GATE Consultant conducted a search for assessment instrument to use in identifying giftedness among all ethnic groups and learning styles.  The SPM+ was determined to be the best available measure of general intelligence for all populations.  The recommendation for use of this instrument was reviewed and accepted by the GUSD Board of Education.

Does the SPM+ only test visual skills?  What about the child with excellent verbal skills?

The SPM+ is a non-reading test that contains many elements necessary in work usage, decoding, abstract reasoning and language acquisition.

Do other Districts use the SPM+?

Yes, the GATE Identification and Review Committee researched other districts in California with populations similar to GUSD.  Many have used the SPM+ for several years and have found it to be equitable and accurate in providing one indicator of GATE eligibility.

GATE Program and Services in GUSD

GUSD submits a written plan to the California Department of Education based on the most current GATE standards.  The Department of Education evaluates the plan and provides funding for between one and three years depending on the quantity and quality of standards met in the plan.

All schools in GUSD receive state funds for Gifted and Talented Education services.  Each school includes GATE services in the school plan.  Services are based on the State GATE Standards, student assessment needs, and current research on the needs of gifted students.  The school plan must is submitted to the GUSD School Board through the District Office.  Each school should include a parent of a GATE student on the School Site Council.

Meeting the Needs of Gifted and Talented Students

Since it is likely that all teachers will have GATE students in their classrooms, it is essential to continue to develop the GUSD staff’s knowledge and skills in implementing differentiation strategies and instruction to meet the needs of the gifted. The continuum of services provided by the district begins at the elementary level and continues through high school as part of the regular classroom and appropriate groupings.  Each of the eight elementary sites has a unique population and offers a variety of services   The three junior high schools and two high schools provide grouping according to academic achievement and interest