Gifted & Talented Education
Gifted and Talented Program Mission, Vision, and Values
West Fargo Public Schools’ GATE program supports and encourages the growth, interests, and social-emotional needs of gifted and talented learners through rigorous curriculum and instruction focused on critical and complex thinking, high level questioning, and collaboration.
West Fargo Public Schools’ GATE program employs equitable identification practices that support a diverse group of learners who are engaged in high-level instruction and social-emotional development through highly skilled professionals committed to continuous growth and inspiring life-long learners.
Equitable Identification Practices
Proportional Student Representation
Social Emotional Development
High Level Questioning
Exploration of Interests and Ideas
Real World Analysis
Critical and Complex Thinking and Reasoning
GATE and Enrichment Curriculum
GATE and enrichment services provide systematic programming that emphasizes depth and complexity while making meaningful connections to the general classroom curriculum. Through this work, learners are exposed to tasks that require high levels of critical thinking and engagement.
Services are provided to K-2 students on an informal basis with formal identification occurring in the spring of 2nd grade.
All K-2 learners receive whole group thinking skills lessons from the GATE teacher throughout the year using the Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS) curriculum which provide opportunities for the GATE teacher to encourage critical thinking for all. Throughout the lessons, the GATE teacher and classroom teacher observe learner engagement and responses to guide their selection for additional small group enrichment opportunities led by the GATE teacher.
Thinking skills enrichment services focus on the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They offer opportunities for learners with various cognitive strengths as they engage in tasks and activities that support convergent analysis, divergent synthesis, visual/spatial thinking, and evaluative thinking.
K-2 learners performing well above the class average may be considered for math enrichment services. Teacher observation, classroom performance, and assessment data is used to match learner needs with the services and units provided.
Small group math enrichment is led by the GATE teacher during a learner’s math block and is centered around their ability to reason with numbers and engage in algebraic thinking. Learners are exposed to problems and activities that deepen their understanding of numbers as they work through big ideas such as proportional reasoning, computation, and variables.
West Fargo Public Schools uses the Groundworks mathematics series for their K-1 small group enrichment lessons with the addition of a unit from the Project M2: Mentoring Young Mathematicians curriculum for 2nd grade. These experiences are correlated to a learner’s grade level standards, as well as standards one to two grade levels above.
3-5 GATE Services
3-5 learners who have qualified through the verbal portion of the CogAT, are at or above the 97%ile on STAR Reading or are 30%ile points above their class average may receive reading GATE services which focus on literary analysis with an application to various writing genres.
GATE services occur during a learner’s reading block and use a variety of evidence-based curricula to merge reading and social studies concepts. Learners use specific thinking skills and engage in analysis of literary works and primary source documents to gain a broad understanding of perspectives, big ideas, patterns, and systems.
3rd graders utilize the PETS curriculum as well as the CLEAR Curriculum from the University of Virginia to analyze figurative language, abstract ideas, and cultural context in poetry and fairy tales. 4th and 5th graders utilize the CLEAR Curriculum as well as the William and Mary Gifted Social Studies Curriculum units. 4th graders will focus on analyzing and understanding critical literacy skills through fiction and nonfiction through reading and writing with a social studies emphasis on the systems of Colonial America. 5th graders will focus on learning and using advanced research skills with a social studies emphasis on the cause and effect relationships of the American Revolution.
3-5 learners who have qualified through the quantitative or spatial portion of the CogAT, are at or above the 97%ile on STAR Math or are 30%ile points above their class average may receive math GATE services which focus on fostering inquiry and engagement by thinking deeply about mathematics through rich discussion and in-depth written explanations to justify their thinking. Students are engaged in mathematical investigations, games, and activities that challenge them to dive deeper into their conceptual understanding of mathematics and work to further develop their reasoning abilities to solve problems in a way that mirrors what practicing mathematicians do.
West Fargo Public School uses Project A3: Awesome Advanced Activities for Mentoring Mathematical Minds with their 3rd-5th grade GATE students. These experiences are correlated to a learner’s grade level standards, as well as standards one to two grade levels above.
The CogAT is a series of three assessments that give insight on a learner’s problem-solving abilities through their verbal, quantitative, and spatial reasoning. A screener is given to all 2nd grade learners in the spring. Those in 3rd-5th grade who are new to the district will be screened in the fall or spring, depending on their date of enrollment.
- Learners who obtain the necessary score on the screener, are at or above the 97th percentile on STAR, or are recommended by either the classroom or GATE teacher will take the full CogAT. The full CogAT contains a series of six additional assessments with two additional assessments in each of the verbal, quantitative, and spatial subsections.
- Learners who obtain the necessary score on the verbal portion of the CogAT may receive reading GATE services.
- Learners who obtain the necessary score on the quantitative or spatial portion of the CogAT may receive math GATE services.
- Learners at or above the 97th percentile on STAR may receive GATE services.
- Learners 30 percentile points or above their class average may receive enrichment services from the GATE teacher.
- Learners performing well above the class average may be considered for enrichment services from the GATE teacher with supporting data.
Determination for GATE Services
GATE teachers will look at the full CogAT score, STAR scores, and teacher recommendations to match student needs with the services and units provided.
GATE teachers will communicate with classroom teachers to ensure classroom work continues to support the need for GATE services.
Families may elect to have a student “opt-out” of the GATE program as desired. Learners in the GATE program are expected to maintain proficient or advanced scores in academics. Learners who are achieving scores that are novice or approaching in academics or the approaches may no longer participate in GATE as deemed appropriate through the collaboration of the GATE and classroom teacher.
Learners who do not qualify for GATE services may participate in enrichment opportunities and may be reassessed with the CogAT in subsequent years.
Gifted education teachers work with learners during their math and reading blocks. These students go to the GATE classroom for services during the guided or independent practice portions of their math and reading blocks and will not miss classroom core instruction.
General Curriculum Enrichment
Enrichment opportunities are available for all learners in the core curriculum with targeted opportunities for high-achieving learners to take learning deeper and advance their skills through higher-level thinking.
For more information, please contact the Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Heather Sand, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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