Frequently Asked QuestionS
What is the GATE qualification process?
The district provides an opportunity for students to be screened regardless of gender, socioeconomic, linguistic, cultural background, or disabilities. Students in 3rd and 4th grade may be referred for GATE evaluation by parents and/or the classroom teacher at the beginning of the school year. Students who are recommended for GATE will be assessed with the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT). Testing takes place in Feb/March. The results of the OLSAT, along with standardized test scores, and teacher and parent questionnaire responses will be used to determine GATE eligibility. Parents will be notified in April/May if their child has qualified for the program. Once identified, students will be clustered in GATE classes throughout their elementary school experience. All students, regardless of GATE identification, have access to Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes at the middle and high school levels.
My child is not yet in 3rd grade. How can I get them tested for GATE?
In San Marcos Unified School District, students are tested for GATE in 3rd grade. Please wait until your child is in 3rd grade to receive the application for testing. Applications are given out during parent teacher conferences.
My child is in 4th grade. How can I get them tested for GATE?
Students in 4th grade may be referred by parents and/or classroom teachers at the beginning of the year. This is a good conversation to have at parent conferences if you are interested in having your child tested for GATE. Testing is usually done in the spring. If students qualify, they will be part of the program in 5th grade.
My child is in 5th grade. How can I get them tested for GATE?
Students in 5th grade cannot be tested. We must do all testing the year before as a budget is created based on the number of students enrolled in the beginning of the school year.
We have received GATE results and our child did not qualify. Is there any way to reconsider?
Unfortunately, we follow district protocol when qualifying students. We set guidelines that are consistent throughout the district. If your child is a 3rd grader and came close to qualifying, we recommend you speak to your child's 4th grade teacher. Your child can be retested in 4th grade with parent or teacher recommendation. This testing is usually done in the spring.
My child has been designated GATE. When does this start?
If your child recently qualified for GATE, services will begin next school year. In the fall, students are provided an interest survey and parents a volunteer interest form. Our programs are built around input from students and families and implemented throughout the school year.
What are the time requirements for GATE?
GATE is an enrichment program with two separate components. First, students who have qualified for GATE are placed in a classroom with a teacher specially trained in providing instruction to gifted students. Since this is the general education classroom, this does not require any additional time commitments. Secondly, we are able to offer after school enrichment opportunities throughout the year through funding from our GATE budget. Every activity is optional and students are not required to attend. There are typically 1-2 after school activities per month, and all end no later than 4:15.
When does GATE start in the classroom?
There isn't a specific GATE class during the school day. Students are not pulled from class for special learning classes. ALL students at SEES benefit from flexible learning groups and differentiated instruction based on individual student needs, beginning on the first day of school. Regardless of GATE status, students may receive remedial or enrichment opportunities throughout their school day based on pre-assessment and observations. Sometimes the differentiation isn't even noticed by the students. Often teachers target the type of questioning to specific students according to their abilities to respond in depth. Difficulty of text or math problems are leveled for students while addressing the same learning standard. Some students are offered individualized learning contracts based on pre-assessment or enrichment work once mastery is shown.
My child is bored in class. What should I do?
One of the common signs of a gifted student is boredom with typical classroom tasks. Along with gifts and talents, GATE students often have their own challenges. A common goal for gifted students is to work on the life skill of being able to complete tasks. In order to work ahead or receive higher instruction, students must first be evaluated on their mastery of required standards. If they don't complete their assessed work "because they're bored", they will need to continue work on that skill until mastery is shown. By working through what they perceive as tiresome, they open the door to more interesting opportunities for learning. If they ARE showing mastery and still feel like they aren't being challenged, have your child take the initiative for their own learning. What would they like to do for learning? Have your child take the initiative to propose a project to work on in class when they finish their required work. Teachers and parents are often overwhelmed trying to challenge and interest their gifted children; when students propose their own ideas of interest, they benefit from being able to work on something they will enjoy and the teachers and parents won't have to guess at what will excite them.
My child has been designated GATE. Should we commit to the program?
We highly recommend that if your child has qualified for GATE services, that they be part of the program. This will provide opportunities to attend enrichment activities that are not open to all students. Their 4th and 5th grade teacher will also have proper documentation to differentiate learning activities within the classroom.