Gifted & Talented Education

  • Gifted and Talented Program Mission, Vision, and Values 


    Mission Statement

    West Fargo Public Schools’ GATE program supports and encourages the growth, interests, and social-emotional needs of gifted and talented students through rigorous curriculum and instruction focused on critical and complex thinking, high level questioning, and collaboration. 


    Vision Statement

    West Fargo Public Schools’ GATE program employs equitable identification practices that support a diverse group of students who are engaged in high-level instruction and social-emotional development through highly skilled professionals committed to continuous growth and inspiring life-long learners.​ 



    Student Growth 

    Equitable Identification Practices 

    Proportional Student Representation 

    Social Emotional Development 

    Rigorous Curriculum 

    High Level Questioning 

    Exploration of Interests and Ideas 

    Life-Long Learning 

    Real World Analysis 

    Critical and Complex Thinking and Reasoning 


    GATE and Enrichment Curriculum 

    GATE services provide systematic programming that emphasizes depth and complexity, while making meaningful connections to the general classroom curriculum. Through this work, students are exposed to tasks that require high levels of critical thinking and engagement. 

    Reading services focus on literary analysis with an application to various writing genres. Students learn about and use specific thinking skills and engage in analysis of literary works and primary source documents to gain an understanding of complex systems and concepts. 

    Math services focus on fostering inquiry and engagement through critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. Students 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. 

    Services are provided to K-2 students on an informal basis with formal identification occurring in the spring of 2nd grade.  

    K-2 Math 

    Small group math enrichment is centered around a student’s ability to reason with numbers and engage in algebraic thinkingStudents 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-2 small group enrichment lessons. 

    K-3 Thinking Skills 

    Thinking skills lessons are aligned to the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They offer opportunities for students with various cognitive strengths as they engage in tasks and activities that support convergent analysis, divergent synthesis, visual/spatial thinking, and evaluation. 

    West Fargo Public Schools uses the Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS) curriculum for their K-2 whole group lessons, K-2 small group enrichment lessons, and 3rd grade pull-out reading services. 

    3-5 Math 

    Pull-out math services are focused on students thinking deeply about mathematics through rich discussion and in-depth written explanations to justify their thinking. Students are engaged in mathematical investigations, games, and interactive activities that challenge them and encourage critical and creative thinking. 

    West Fargo Public School uses Project A3: Awesome Advanced Activities for Mentoring Mathematical Minds with their 3rd-5th grade GATE students. 

    4-5 Reading 

    Pull-out 4th and 5th grade reading services are focused on developing a broad understanding of historical concepts and perspectives through high-level content and primary source analysis. GATE services are an extension of a student’s core social studies curriculum. 4th graders work through an in-depth study of Colonial America and 5th graders work through an intensive document analysis and exploration of the American Revolution. 

    West Fargo Public Schools uses William and Mary Gifted Social Studies Curriculum units with their 4th and 5th grade GATE students. 


    K-2 Enrichment Services 

    Thinking Skills 

    All K-2 students receive whole group thinking skills lessons from the GATE teacher throughout the year. These lessons provide opportunities for the GATE teacher to encourage critical thinking for all students. Throughout the lessons, the GATE teacher and classroom teacher observe student engagement and responses to guide their selection for additional small group enrichment opportunities. This enrichment is led by the GATE teacher during Daily 5 rotations in a general education classroom. The classroom is determined by grade level teams and some students will travel to that classroom for the small group enrichment. 


    K-2 students performing well above the class average may be considered for math enrichment services. Teacher observation, classroom performance, and assessment data is used to triangulate information to match student needs with the services and units provided. Small group math enrichment is led by the GATE teacher during math rotations in a general education classroom. The classroom is determined by grade level teams and some students will travel to that classroom for the small group enrichment. 


    Identification Process 


    The CogAT is a series of three assessments that give insight on a student’s problem solving abilities through their verbal, quantitative, and spatial reasoning. A screener is given to all 2nd grade students in the spring. Students in 3rd-5th grade who are new to the district will be screened in the fall or spring, depending on their date of enrollment.  

    • Students 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. 
    • Students who obtain the necessary score on the verbal portion of the CogAT may receive reading GATE services. 
    • Students who obtain the necessary score on the quantitative or spatial portion of the CogAT may receive math GATE services. 

    STAR Scores 

    • Students at or above the 97th percentile on STAR may receive GATE services. 
    • Students 30 percentile points or above their class average may receive enrichment services from the GATE teacher. 

    Teacher Recommendation 

    • Students 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 triangulate the information 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. 

    Students 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 qualified 3rd-5th grade students during their math and reading blocks. These students go to the GATE classroom for their 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 also available for all learners in the core curriculum with targeted opportunities for high-achieving learners that take learning deeper and demonstrate advanced skills through higher-level thinking. 


    For more information, please contact the Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Heather Sand, at  


Staff Directory

  • Aurora Elementary, Legacy Elementary, Osgood Elementary
  • Brooks Harbor Elementary
  • Freedom Elementary, Independence Elementary
  • Harwood Elementary
  • Horace Elementary
  • South Elementary, L.E. Berger Elementary
  • Westside Elementary, Eastwood Elementary
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