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This Question/Answer page has been written to provide parents and staff answers to the ten most asked questions regarding Gifted Education in the Fremont Unified School District . Gifted and talented children make up approximately 2-4% of the students in the United States . Fremont Unified School District is committed to providing a program for gifted and talented students in grades 3-12 in all of its schools.

Hopefully this page answers most of your questions about the GATE program. If you have further questions about the program at your school site, please contact your school principal. If you are interested about how students are selected for testing or about additional information regarding the district wide GATE Program, contact the GATE office at (510) 659-2525

What Does Gifted And Talented Mean?

Gifted refers to a student whose intelligence score falls within the top two percent of the national average (I.Q. 130+). Talent refers to a student whose performance is is in the top two or three percent in one of the following areas: high achievement, specific academic aptitude, leadership, creativity, visual and performing arts.

How Is A Student Identified For GATE?

Students may be referred for screening by the teacher, principal, counselor, or the parent. The following criteria are examined: teacher recommendation, group achievement tests, grades, and/or samples of pupils work. Some may be identified on the basis of this information, while others require an individual intelligence test. Pupils from varying cultural backgrounds, bilingual pupils, or those who are economically disadvantaged may require additional, specialized evaluation. Parents are notified whether their students do or do not qualify for the program once the evaluation is completed. In any of the identification categories, the program is designed for the top two or three out of every 100 students of a nationwide sample.

What Happens After A Student Is Identified?

If a student meets all the qualifications and is identified for the program, he/she has the option of participating in GATE classes available at that grade level. All schools in the district have Gifted Programs, grade 3-12. Registration is ordinarily conducted in the spring for next fall's classes.

Why Should Gifted Students Have A Special Program?

Our school district has a philosophy of challenging all students so they can develop their fullest potential, yet the education system is primarily focused on those youngsters whose ability ranges from low average to high average (approximately 90% of the school population). Pupils who fall at the lowest edge of this group need curriculum modifications to make their program appropriate and those of the highest ability need curriculum adjustments to make their program more challenging. Without special programs to make the curriculum more challenging and allow gifted students to work with each other, we are challenged to provide the educational environment that provides for their maximum growth.

What Kinds of Programs Are Available?

GATE programs at the elementary level include special full-time classes for gifted and high achieving students, part-time gifted classes where students are grouped with other identified pupils, and regular mixed ability classes at different times during the day. At the junior high and high school levels, GATE/HONORS classes are available in various subject areas. Secondary GATE classes must have curriculum that emphasizes higher level thinking skills. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are also available to GATE high school students.

Aren't These Classes A Good Idea For All Students?

Although many people have suggested that achievement standards and expectations should be higher for all students, it is unreasonable to expect standards which are appropriate for the top two or three percent of the population to apply to all above average and high ability students. If curriculum is designed to be challenging to extremely high ability students, it should be too difficult to others. If it is not challenging then it is not sufficiently differentiated for the gifted. All students should be challenged and all students should have the opportunity for creative thinking and enrichment activities, but the appropriate levels of difficulty are different for gifted and talented students.

Don't Gifted Students Become Conceited If They Are Grouped Together In Special Classes?

Parents and staff members have expressed concerns over the possibility that gifted students may develop "elitist" attitudes if they are grouped with others of like ability; therefore, this question has been examined more closely than any other over the past fifteen years. Our surveys, tests and questionnaires have confirmed the research which indicates that students only develop elitist or snobbish attitudes if such values are encouraged by teachers, parents, relatives or other adults. In fact, being in a gifted class tends to be a humbling experience at first, since no individual students is ever the best in everything. Sensitive, well-trained teachers are skilled in reinforcing the idea that being smarter than others doesn't mean being better or more worthwhile than others.

How Successful Are GATE Program Graduates After They Leave High School ?

A survey of GATE graduated from the classes of 1980-95 examined a random sample of students who had participated in the program. Over 50% responded, and the questionnaire showed that they were an extremely productive group. Eighty percent had already graduated from a four year university program and those that had indicated plans to complete degree programs in the future. Two thirds of these graduates gave a very high rating to the GATE classes they had taken, with lower marks for less challenging non-GATE classes. It was their impression that the GATE program had definitely contributed to their success.

How Can Parents Help Their Gifted Students?

Parents can help by providing their gifted children with the love and support that ALL children need. It is important to remember that a gifted child is a child first and foremost. Parents can expand their child's horizons by taking him/her to such places as parks, libraries, zoos, museums, theaters, ball games etc. Parents should get involved in school activities and maintain good communication with the teacher. Parents should not expect perfection. A gifted child may have problems while growing up, just as any other child can. Gifted children should have rules, chores and responsibilities, just as every child should. Parents should relax and enjoy the child.

What If One Child Is Identified As Gifted And Another In A Family Is Not?

Each child in a family should be accepted for who he/she is, not what he/she can do. Every child has some areas of strength and/or talent. Parents should nurture and value each for their individual differences. Parents must remember that "gifted" does not mean better. Everyone in the family should understand that.

Further information about giftedness or any other aspect of the Fremont Unified School District GATE program can be obtained by calling the GATE office at (510) 659-2525.