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Gifted And Talented Education (GATE)

The California Legislature first established a program for gifted students in 1961 when they enacted the mentally gifted minor (MGM) program. This program targeted a narrow range of students who scored at the 98th percentile or above on standardized intellectual ability tests. Recognizing that this narrow focus left out many gifted and talented students, new legislation was enacted in 1980.

The Fontana Unified School District’s GATE program started in 1989 and soon became district wide in 1990. The GATE program offered district advisory groups and informational meetings to its parents and students. GATE certification classes were offered to Fontana teachers to better serve our students. The Fontana GATE program is ever changing and evolving to meet the educational needs of our students and parents.

The Governing Board believes that all students deserve an education that challenges them to meet their full potential.

The Board shall provide gifted and talented students opportunities for learning commensurate with their particular abilities and talents. (Board Policy 6172)

GATE and Common Core

The Common Core State Standards neatly align with the critical components of gifted education. Depth and complexity, rigor and relevance are important in both common core and gifted education. The common core standards serve as a starting point for teaching gifted students. Mathematics and the emphasis on problem- solving as well as argument in Language Arts allow for higher –level thinking skills and concepts for our gifted students. The research standards in Language Arts and the data interpretation standards in mathematics allow for differentiation in order to meet the interests of gifted students. The project work that our gifted students already participate in can easily be revised and/or extended to meet the standards of research and interpretation as students use multiple sources of information to arrive at a plan of action. (Adapted from the National Association of Gifted Education)

Classroom Configurations


At the elementary level, students are blanket tested at the end of 2nd grade and GATE programming begins in 3rd grade for identified students. Starting in 3rd grade, students identified for GATE typically receive differentiated instruction to meet their needs within the regular education classroom. Depending on numbers, students are either clustered into regular education classrooms (no more than 1/3 of the class being GATE students) or, if there are sufficient students, a special day class may be formed for them.

Middle School

In middle school, specific core courses are identified for clustering GATE students or, if enrollment permits, special day classes for GATE students are created. These classes are especially designed to meet the academic needs of gifted pupils for enriched or advanced instruction of the grade-level core curriculum and are appropriately differentiated from other grade-level course classes in the same subject.

High School

In grades 9 and 10, GATE students should be placed in specific class sections set aside for meeting the needs of highly capable learners based on their identified academic strength(s). Counselors will work with students in subsequent years to steer them toward Honors, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.

Students with sufficient credits for graduation may request to be authorized to enroll as a special part-time student in a local community college. In order to do so, students must demonstrate adequate preparation in the discipline. Any costs associated with attendance at the community college are the responsibility of the student’s parent/guardian.

GATE Program Resources:

Online Resources:

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