GIFTED AND TALENTED EDUCATION PROGRAMGATE ProgramThe Panama-Buena Vista Union School District Elementary Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program is designed to extend and enrich the identified fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students' educational experience through special teacher-prepared units of study. The units are created to meet the special needs and correspond to the unique learning styles of gifted children. Three GATE teachers generate a challenging curriculum designed to extend the core curriculum, expose students to new and different topics of study, and offer a wide range of experiences to foster creative talents and develop critical thinking skills. (GATE flyer for parents: GATE Flyer)Identification Process
Qualification to test for the elementary gifted education program is based on students' STAR (Renaissance Learning) Reading and Mathematics Achievement Test results from the third quarter benchmark exam of the previous school year. Those students who have scored at the 80th percentile or above on both assessments are eligible for further testing. Qualifying students are invited to take the Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test (OLSAT) which is administered at various district school sites in August. Students are ranked on a combination of the OLSAT and STAR test scores. The highest scoring students are placed in the available openings in the GATE classes. GATE instruction begins in September, typically the third week of school. GATE Parent Night (2017-18), for parents with students presently enrolled in GATE, is October 4, 2017, at the Stockdale Elementary GATE Center, from 7-7:30 PM. GATE Parent Night Flyer
The Elementary Program
The Panama-Buena Vista Union School District Elementary GATE Program is designed to extend and enrich the identified fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students' educational experience through special teacher-prepared units of study. The units are created to meet the special needs and correspond to the unique learning styles of gifted children. The GATE teachers generate a challenging curriculum designed to extend the core curriculum, expose students to new and different topics of study, and offer a wide range of experiences to foster creative talents and develop critical thinking skills.
Identified students from all of our 19 elementary sites are bused to the Stockdale GATE Center for one full day of enrichment instruction each week. Last year we served 377 students, which are 6.44% of the District’s enrolled 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.
The GATE staff continually strives to stay current on the state’s requirements and adjusts the curriculum and teaching strategies to meet the GATE standards. Teacher training is ongoing through attending the annual California Association for the Gifted (CAG) Conference and local San Joaquin Regional informational meetings, and participation in CAG sponsored Summer Institutes. Each of the GATE instructors is actively involved in GATE advocacy and dedicated to the advancement of expertise in working with the District’s advanced learners.
The GATE instructors participate in the DonorsChoose program and have been quite successful in getting numerous projects funded. We have acquired eight new laptops and a variety of math, art and science materials. Several of the GATE teachers’ projects have been fully or partially funded by Chevron through its partnership program with non-profit organizations.Fourth graders engage in the study of the History of the World, an across-the-disciplines unit encompassing geography, geology, archaeology, paleontology and anthropology. The 5th graders participate in the study of Space Science, a unit specifically designed to extend and enrich the 5th grade earth science core curriculum. This unit integrates the study of our universe, the history of space flight and exploration, and exposes our students to career options in the fields of science, engineering, and advanced mathematics. Our 6th grade students are involved in studying the Art of Photography, a specially-designed unit which integrates art and technology and promotes experimentation, creativity, and observation skills. The 6th graders also experience a hands-on approach to learning about Economics and Finance by participating in an on-line Stock Market game. Students discover the real-world applications related to what they are learning in the classroom while competing with teams of students at other schools across the state. In the Stock Market Game Competition, Fall 2012, the 6th grade GATE students placed in the top three teams in the Southern California Region. This ranks our students in the top 1% of the nation!
Student learning is enhanced further by participation in educational field study programs related to the GATE curriculum. Each grade level takes part in two out-of-town field trips each year. In the fall, all grades participate in educational field trips related to their units of study. Fourth graders visit the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles to extend their study of Archaeology and Paleontology. To enhance their study of Space Science, fifth graders travel to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. To extend their study of Aerodynamics, our sixth graders enjoy a tour of the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino. Spring field trips include a tour of the George C. Page Museum in Los Angeles where 4th graders extend their study of Archaeology and Paleontology. The 5th grade students travel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to expand their knowledge of Art History and the Visual Arts. To extend their study of The Art of Photography, our sixth graders will tour the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Funding for all field trip experiences are provided by GATE parents.
An important part of the GATE curriculum for all students (4th - 6th) is the study of Art History and Appreciation. The GATE staff is aware that the arts are an essential part of a child’s education and thoughtfully plan artistic experiences that are challenging and that meet the State Content Standards in Arts Education. Throughout the school year, all GATE students are exposed to the arts of different cultures and various art history periods. Students examine the lives and work the world’s famous artists and not only learn to appreciate the arts, but actively participate in the creative process. Students in all grade levels produce an extensive assortment of projects using a wide variety of mediums. Our advanced learners also are given the opportunity to experience the Dramatic Arts through participation in musical plays that are tied to the core curriculum. The GATE instructors were introduced to curriculum-based plays at the CAG Conference and the District provided funding for the purchase of grade level appropriate works such as Gold Dust or Bust and the American Revolution. Experiences in educational theatre aid in the development of students’ self-esteem and are ideal for children with advanced verbal skills, imaginative ideas, and physical energy.
In an effort to promote cultural literacy and expand language arts skills, elementary GATE students at all grade levels are exposed to Foreign Language. Students practice writing and speaking in Italian (4th grade), Spanish (5th grade), and French (6th grade), and learn vocabulary, grammar, and a variety of dialogues, songs, and poems. All students are given instruction in Greek and Latin word cells and learn the history and etymology of a number of English words. Students are led to discover that the major part of our words, especially in the fields of mathematics and science, are derived from Greek and Latin roots. Teachers provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences that help students acquire knowledge that is essential in the development of advanced vocabulary skills.
Mathematics enrichment is also a large part of the GATE curriculum, where all strands of the discipline are explored. Again this year, our main focus for all GATE students is on the disciplines of algebra and geometry. Students learn the history of the development of mathematical ideas and principles through a study of famous mathematicians in our Historical Connections in Mathematics Program. The teachers have developed a challenging and interactive math curriculum that continues to build students’ skills as they progress through the grade levels of the GATE Program. The instructors work as a team to find innovative ways to enhance and extend students' study of the District's core mathematics curriculum. The teacher-made units of study incorporate advanced hands-on learning activities based on the California Mathematics Content Standards.
The GATE teachers continually strive to improve the curriculum to appropriately meet the needs of these special-needs learners. The instructors are committed to creating a supportive learning environment where students with exceptionally high intellectual abilities are challenged, yet feel safe to take risks in their academic explorations. The GATE team is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of the District’s gifted children.
Spring Field Trips (2017-18)Grade 4 - Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - Castle, Loudon, Miller, Old River, Panama, Van Horn, Seibert, Buena Vista, Laurelglen, Lum, Williams, Stine, McAuliffe, Hart, Stockdale
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - Reagan
Grade 5 – Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
- Monday, March 12, 2018 - Castle, Loudon, Miller, Old River, Panama, Van Horn, Buena Vista, Laurelglen, Lum, Seibert, Williams, Stockdale
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - Berkshire, Hart, McAuliffe, Sandrini, Stine, Reagan
Monday, March 19, 2018 - Castle, Loudon, Miller, Old River, Panama, Van Horn, Buena Vista, Laurelglen, Lum, Seibert, Williams, Hart, Stockdale, Berkshire, McAuliffe
- Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - Reagan
Junior High Above Grade Level/Accelerated ProgramThe junior high school above grade level/accelerated program is offered at each individual school site. Students follow a regular junior high school schedule taking above grade level/accelerated Math and/or English/Language Arts daily. Students are placed in junior high above grade level/accelerated classes based on STAR Achievement Test results, CAASPP, GPA, and teacher recommendation.