Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)


The Orange Unified School District offers qualitatively differentiated programs for students possessing the capacity for excellence beyond that of their chronological peers. The curriculum is differentiated to provide a variety of instructional strategies structured so that individual student experiences and activities can vary in acceleration, depth, complexity or degree of novelty. These programs are available at all levels of the District's curriculum for the purpose of challenging and developing the academic and creative abilities of identified gifted learners.

Important Dates

GATE Parent/Teacher Referral Window Opens - October 14, 2019

3rd Grade Universal GATE Screening - January 27 - 31, 2020

2nd & 4th-6th Grade GATE Screening - February 3-28, 2020

2nd & 3rd Grade GATE Screening for Private School - February 1 & 8, 2020

4th-6th Grade GATE Screening for Private School - February 8, 2020




GATE Screening

GATE Qualification Criteria

OUSD utilized multiple measures to determine GATE qualification.  Below you will find the links to the detailed criteria utilized by grade level.

3rd-6th Grade Criteria

2nd Grade Criteria

Frequently Asked Questions


How does my child get screened for GATE identification?

Students may be referred for screening by parents or teachers. Parents are encouraged to discuss student potential for possible GATE identification with their child’s teacher. In order to be tested, parents must fill out the online referral by the testing deadline, which is December 6, 2019.

What criterion qualifies my child for GATE?

Students qualify for GATE utilizing multiple measures: Ability Scores (CogAT/OLSAT), Achievement Scores (SBAC/RI/MI), Teacher Input (TABs), and Impact Factors are all components of the team's decision.

What is the timeline for GATE screening?

Screening starts the last week of January and is completed by the end of February. Testing takes place at the school sites and the schedule will be shared with you by the school site. If a student should be ill during the designated testing time, make-ups will be arranged with the principal by the GATE office.

The testing for private school students will be facilitated over two days (Saturdays).  Due to the length of the exam, 2nd and 3rd graders must attend both testing dates, while 4th-6th graders will be tested on one day.  There is a $35.00 testing fee, payable by cash or check, for all private school students. A reminder email will be sent out to all registered private school families in January.

How many tests will my child need to take?

Students will take one test, but the test for 2nd and 3rd graders consists of three batteries, which is taken over the course of three days. The 4th-6th grade test is a timed test and consists of approximately 70 questions.

What happens if my child does not meet GATE identification criteria?

Students who do not meet the eligibility criteria may be re-evaluated in future grade levels.

Is it possible to see my child’s results after the test?

Test scores will be mailed to the parents from the Curriculum Office by the end of April. These are percentile scores and have been normed on a national scale.

What kind of test is the GATE identification test?

Orange Unified School District uses national normed cognitive abilities tests to assess the verbal and nonverbal reasoning potential. The reasoning potential is strongly related to school success. However, this is a not a test for which a student can study. To assess reasoning potential, the test uses tasks such as detecting likeness and differences, recalling words and numbers, defining words, following directions, classifying, establishing sequence, solving arithmetic problems, and completing analogies. This is done because these tasks have been shown to be a valid measure of an individual’s ability to reason logically.

What are the differences between Ability Tests and Achievement Tests?

An Ability test is a test of general reasoning skills, which is the type of test used for identifying gifted students. An Achievement test is a test of developed skill or knowledge, such as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), former California Standards Tests (CSTs), or those used in classrooms to check progress.

GATE Identification

Does my child lose identification if he/she does not attend a GATE Magnet school?

Once a child has been identified for GATE, they will keep the identification even if they do not choose to attend a GATE Magnet school. The majority of our students do not attend a Magnet school.

If my child was identified in another school district or state or by a private licensed psychologist, does he/she automatically qualify for the GATE Program in Orange Unified School District?

GATE is not a mandated program in California. Therefore, each district develops its own criteria for evaluation. For a student who has been identified as a GATE student in another California public school district, a record of the school ability test results must be sent to the GATE Office to be reviewed by the Administrative Director of Curriculum and Instruction prior to enrollment. Students are expected to meet the same rigorous criteria noted above. Orange USD does not accept out of state GATE identification of students or results from a private clinical or licensed educational psychologist.

Will my elementary school child need to be re-tested upon entering middle school? High school?

No, once a child is identified, the identification remains valid through grade 12. All traditional OUSD high schools have Honors and Advanced Placement classes open to all students. Eighth grade students who were not previously GATE identified and apply to high school Honors courses will be accepted according to academic performance and standardized achievement tests in eighth grade. Depending on space available at each high school site, GATE identification is not required for acceptance into Honors and advanced level high school classes.


If my child is offered a seat in one of the GATE Magnet Schools, which school would he/she attend?

Crescent Elementary 5001 Gerda Drive. Anaheim, CA 92807 - Principal: Shele Tamaki

     Feeder Schools: Anaheim Hills, Canyon Rim, Crescent, Imperial, Running Springs

La Veta Elementary 2800 East La Veta Avenue. Orange, CA 92869 - Principal: Lydia Roach

     Feeder Schools: Chapman Hills, Esplanade, Jordan, La Veta, Linda Vista, Panorama, Prospect

Nohl Canyon Elementary 4100 Nohl Canyon Road Anaheim, CA 92807 - Principal: Heather Bosworth

     Feeder Schools: Fletcher, Nohl Canyon, Olive, Serrano, Taft, Villa Park

Palmyra Elementary 1325 E. Palmyra Ave. Orange, CA 92869 - Principal: Brenna Godsey

     Feeder Schools: California, Cambridge, Fairhaven, Handy, Lampson, Palmyra, Sycamore, West Orange

*Please Note that GATE identified students are not given priority at any of the above noted magnet programs on the basis of the magnet being their home school. Students are placed in each of the magnets based on their percentile ranking and multiple measures analyzed.

What happens if my child is GATE identified in 2nd grade, but the GATE magnet for my home school does not begin until 4th grade?

Your child will receive differentiated instruction and placed into a 3rd grade GATE/high achieving cluster if possible.  Placement in the 4th grade GATE class will be determined in the spring of their 3rd grade year utilizing their abilities test percentile rank and current achievement data.

Can my child be waitlisted for another GATE magnet school if we don’t want to go to our designated magnet school?

Yes. However, all feeder school students will be placed there before openings are offered to waitlisted students.

If my child is offered a space in the GATE Magnet and declines it, will he/she have an opportunity for a space in future years?

Yes, if space in the magnet is available. If there is no space, students will be placed at the bottom of the waitlist despite their percentile ranking. This allows for equity and access for all GATE identified students. It is imperative that families understand that there are waitlists for most magnet programs thus, the decision on accepting a magnet placement when offered is critical.

Is transportation provided by the district for my child to the GATE Magnet school site?

No, parents are responsible for providing transportation to and from the GATE school location.

Can siblings of GATE identified students attend the same school site?

Siblings of GATE identified students may enroll in the same school site as long as space is available. Parents will need to work with the school principal on placement.

Will my child have the opportunity to visit the GATE magnet school?

Qualified students and their parents will receive an invitation to the GATE orientation at their designated GATE magnet school with their acceptance letter. The letter will denote if the student has secured a seat in the classroom or has been waitlisted. Please note that some waitlist parents do not feel that it is in the best interest for their child to attend the orientation, as they may be disappointed if they do not secure a place in the GATE Program. So we ask that families use their best judgment.

What happens if my child qualifies for the GATE program but is waitlisted because the class if full?

The vast majority of GATE Identified students in grades 3-6 are served in clusters within the general education classroom. Students receive grade-level appropriate differentiated instruction.

How do you decide who gets into the GATE classes and who is waitlisted?

In a situation where there are more qualified GATE students than openings in a GATE Magnet class, priority goes to students in order of their percentile score and multiple measures analyzed.  Additionally, students who are identified in 2nd grade are given priority over the 3rd grade students when placed in a 4th grade GATE class.


How is a GATE class different than a general education class?

In GATE classrooms, instruction is differentiated. Differentiation does not mean more of the same work. Rather, it is an extension of the core curriculum. Four popular ways to accomplish this differentiation are acceleration, adding depth, increasing complexity, and providing opportunities for novelty. While the same district adopted textbooks are used, additional materials are incorporated to enhance the curriculum. Instructional decisions are made by the classroom teacher based on the needs of the students in the class.

What if we want our GATE identified student to stay at their home school?

Students identified as GATE may decide to remain in attendance at their home school. In fact, a large majority of identified GATE students do remain at their home schools due to the high caliber of instruction that is provided. Every attempt is made to cluster GATE students together by grade level at their home school. Differentiation of instruction is facilitated to meet the needs of each GATE student within the clustered classroom.

Do GATE Magnet students stay in the same classroom all day?

Each GATE teacher is a specialist in a certain content area (i.e. Math, Science, Social Studies) and the students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade rotate between GATE teachers for these subjects. 3rd grade GATE is self-contained.

Are the GATE Magnet students isolated or do they get to associate with other general education students?

GATE students are not isolated and share the same recess and lunch times as general education students. They also attend the same field trips and assemblies as their grade level peers.

My child is involved in several extracurricular activities.  Will the added rigor of this program be too much for him/her?

Many successful GATE students participate in extracurricular sports, music, and other programs. However, most students find they need some unscheduled time during the day and/or week to maintain a healthy attitude and perform at their best.

How much homework will my child receive?

Several factors influence the amount of time a child will spend on homework including whether a student is involved in a long term project, in addition to the daily assigned work; the accelerated pace of the program; and how well the student uses class time to complete assignments during the day. In any given GATE classroom, some students will finish homework in a relatively short time, while other will take much longer. In general, students with good time management skills find the amount of homework to be fair.

If a child does not do well in the GATE class, can they go back to their home school?

Occasionally, teachers and parents working together determine that the GATE Program is not a good match for a particular child. If a student is struggling in the GATE classroom, the parents, teacher, and principal should collaboratively determine what next steps would be in the best interest of the student.

GATE Community Advisory Committee

The GATE Community Advisory Committee is composed of stakeholders who meet voluntarily to receive information and provide input regarding GATE in Orange Unified.  All of our meetings are held at 9:00 am at the District Office in rooms J2/J3. 

Printable Meeting Flyer

2019-20 GATE Community Advisory Committee Meetings

Agenda/Handouts Minutes
September 30, 2019


The "State of GATE"

December 9, 2019    
March 16, 2020    
May 11, 2020    

Elementary GATE

GATE Clusters

The elementary schools in OUSD create clusters for GATE-identified students in 3rd through 6th grades. Clusters include a small group of GATE identified students within a mixed-ability, general education classroom. This allows the classroom teacher to more effectively differentiate instruction, and provides interaction for GATE students with both their intellectual and age peers.

Teachers of gifted learners are provided with professional learning specific to meeting the academic and social/emotional needs of gifted and advanced learners.  Our teachers assess each student's current knowledge and skill level and make adjustments to instruction and curriculum to meet individual needs. Students receive differentiated instructional opportunities designed with elements of depth and complexity across the grade-level core curriculum. Differentiated instruction is provided within the school day and in the general education classroom through the use of flexible groupings, supplemental materials, and varied learning activities.  


GATE Magnet Schools

GATE Identified students may be served at one of our four GATE Magnet Schools.  

Crescent Elementary - 5001 Gerda Drive. Anaheim, CA 92807

Feeder Schools: Anaheim Hills, Canyon Rim, Crescent, Imperial, Running Springs


La Veta Elementary - 2800 East La Veta Avenue. Orange, CA 92869

Feeder Schools: Chapman Hills, Esplanade, Jordan, La Veta, Linda Vista, Panorama, Prospect


Nohl Canyon Elementary - 4100 Nohl Canyon Road Anaheim, CA 92807 

Feeder Schools: Fletcher, Nohl Canyon, Olive, Serrano, Taft, Villa Park


Palmyra Elementary - 1325 E. Palmyra Ave. Orange, CA 92869

Feeder Schools: California, Cambridge, Fairhaven, Handy, Lampson, Palmyra, Sycamore, West Orange

Middle School

Honors Classes in English, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science are offered at each middle school. Students are provided cluster group enrichment and accelerated learning activities.

Cerro Villa Middle School
17852 Serrano Avenue
Villa Park, CA 92861
Principal: Lisa Ogan

El Rancho Charter Middle School 
181 S. Del Giorgio Drive
Anaheim, CA 92808 
Principal: Michele Walker

Portola Middle School 
270 N. Palm Drive
Orange, CA 92868
Principal: Jill Katevas

Santiago Charter Middle School
515 N. Rancho Santiago Boulevard
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 997-6366
Principal: James D’Agostino

Yorba Middle School
935 N. Cambridge Street
Orange, CA 92867
Principal: Tracy Knibb

High School

Each high school offers Honors classes in English, History, Science and Mathematics. Advanced Placement (AP) courses include: English Literature and Composition, English Language and Composition, U.S. History, American Government and Politics, Economics, European History, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Art History, Studio Art, Psychology, French, German, Spanish and Statistics. Course offerings vary among schools based upon student interest. Independent Study is also available upon agreement by the teacher and student. The International Baccalaureate Program is available at Canyon High and is open to all qualified students in the district.

The emphasis of the High School Honors/Advanced Placement Program are: (1) in depth coverage of subject matter; (2) critical analysis and related higher level thinking skills; and (3) fostering student’s responsibility for self-learning and independent study.

Canyon High School 
220 S. Imperial Highway
Anaheim, CA 92807 
Principal: Craig Abercrombie

El Modena High School 
3920 Spring Street 
Orange, CA 92869 
Principal: Dr. Dustin Saxton 

Orange High School 
525 N. Shaffer Street
Orange, CA 92867 
Principal: Dennis McCuistion

Villa Park High School 
18042 Taft Avenue
Villa Park, CA 92861 
Principal: Dr. Ken Miller



California Association for the Gifted (CAG)

A mission driven, volunteer administered, non-profit organization whose membership of parents and educators work to promote the welfare and appropriate education of gifted students.


National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

An advocacy group consisting of parents, professional educators and affiliate groups from the various states to support gifted education at the national level. 1707 L Street, NW, Suite 550, Washington, DC 20036, (202)785-4268, FAX (202)785-4248


The Association for the Gifted (TAG)

A special interest group of the Council for Exceptional Children. An advocacy group which focuses on the needs of the gifted within the broader range of diverse and special needs children. 1110 North Globe Rd., Arlington, VA 22201-5704, (703)264- 9474 American Association for Gifted Children (AAGC) Established in the 1940s, one of the oldest advocacy groups for gifted children. The association has a role in the Presidential Scholars program which recognizes 141 outstanding high school graduates each year. Primarily through their publications and correspondence, this association promotes gifted awareness and supportive systems. Duke University, Box 90270, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0270, (919)783-6152.


Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF)

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum was formed to provide support, resources and community for the growing number of families who have chosen to home school their gifted and twice-exceptional children. P.O. Box 18865 San Jose, CA 95158.


Parents for Able Learner Students (PALS)

Dedicated to informing, educating, and supporting schools, parents, and teachers of gifted and able learner, children and youth. Able learners include gifted and talented children and youth, as well as other high ability learners, who by virtue of their exceptional potential and/or demonstrated excellence require special educational opportunities. Able learners of all ages have special abilities in any number of fields and may or may not be formally identified for gifted programs. PALS is an Affiliate of the National Association for Gifted Children( NAGC ).


Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)

The mission of SENG is to improve the quality of life for gifted individuals so that they might appreciate, understand, and enjoy fully the intellectual and emotional talents they possess and the possibilities that lie within themselves.


World Council for Gifted and Talented Children

An organization that works to network educators involved in gifted education around the world. National Foundation for Gifted and Creative Children A non-profit foundation which provides free information and guidance to parents and educators of gifted and creative children. Incorporated in 1969, they focus on the problems of over-prescription of drugs to gifted and creative children. 395 Diamond Hill Road, Warwick, Rhode Island, 02886, (401)738-0937.

Contact Us

Laura Kresl, Coordinator

K-12 Innovation & Instructional Design

(714) 628-5658


Doreen Kearns, GATE Office

(714) 628-5451