Gifted and Talented Education Program at La Cañada Unified School District

The Gifted and Talented Education Program is an integral part of education in La Canada Unified School District (LCUSD). Providing enriching educational opportunities for GATE students is a responsibility and a privilege. Addressing GATE students’ academic potential both inside and outside the classroom continues to be a priority in our schools.

GATE Program at LCUSD 2020-21

Site contact information can be found on the staff link to the right.

• In grades 3-8, the school counselors are the GATE site coordinators.
• In grades 9-12, the Assistant Principal overseeing Advanced Placement Assessments is the GATE site coordinator.

LCUSD identifies gifted and talented students at the end of third grade. All students are given the opportunity to be assessed. Students who perform at the 98th and 99th percentile rank are invited to participate in the GATE program. GATE identified students make up more than 14% of the overall LCUSD student population.

The GATE Program offers students quality experiences designed to enlarge their intellectual horizons and stimulate their curiosity for learning at the highest levels. The cornerstone of the GATE Program is differentiated instruction that takes place within the classroom at all grade levels. Teachers have been trained in differentiated instructional strategies to address the learning needs of the gifted student. They strive to provide activities, projects, homework and assessments that are complex, abstract or open-ended to cause gifted students to stretch intellectually. Gifted students are sometimes provided with more interest-based assignments when they have demonstrated their proficiency in what is being studied in class. Gifted students are often asked to use higher order thinking skills such as synthesis and evaluation.

While differentiated instruction is evident at all grade levels, the GATE Program contains several other components.

GATE Components at Elementary Schools

Pull-out Program – An enrichment class taught by a credentialed GATE teacher meets 45-minutes each week starting at the end of August. For the 2020-2021 school year, the program will take place virtually, outside of the students’ am or pm cohort time. Grades 4, 5 and 6 have separate sessions. Students engage in standards-based interactive lessons, projects and activities designed to target the four pillars of gifted education: acceleration, depth, complexity, and novelty. Students also set goals and gain insight about their learning styles.

Math Olympiad – Students at all three sites have the opportunity to participate in Math Olympiad–an after-school math competition team for students in 4th through 6th grade. This program challenges students who love math, and allows them to compete with students across the nation.

After School GATE Gatherings – Students have the opportunity to meet once a month after school for an hour to listen to guest speakers and participate in project-based and service-based learning. The GATE teacher facilitates these sessions.

GATE Components at LCHS 7/8

After School GATE Gatherings – Students have the opportunity to meet once a month after school for an hour to listen to guest speakers and participate in project-based and service-based learning. The GATE teacher facilitates these sessions.

1. MATHCOUNTS – Students meet once a week after school to collaboratively or individually solve complex math problems to enhance their math skills.
2. GATE Club – Seventh and eighth graders may participate in this online enrichment course focused on project-based and service-based learning. Each cohort is offered one live 30-minute session per week, plus additional asynchronous content differentiated by interest. The GATE teacher facilitates these sessions.
3. 7th and 8th grade GATE students who perform above grade level in mathematics have access to higher level math classes at the high school. They must demonstrate proficiency on site assessments in order to be placed in higher level math classes.

GATE Components at the High School

Honors Classes – There are many honors classes offered at La Canada High school which present curriculum of a greater breadth and depth than general education classes. The level of rigor in these courses is significantly higher than in general college preparatory courses. Honors courses are available in Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, English, French, Geometry, German, Physics, Pre-Calculus and Social Science.
Advanced Placement – These courses are guided by a national curriculum targeted at the college level. At the culmination of these courses, students take the AP exam aligned with the course. Students who perform at an advanced level in AP exams may receive college credit. La Canada High School offers AP courses in the following subjects:

AP American History
AP Biology
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Chemistry
AP Computer Science
AP Economics
AP English Language
AP English Literature
AP Environmental Science
AP European History
AP Government
AP Music Theory
AP Physics
AP Psychology
AP Spanish
AP Statistics

La Cañada Unified School District, 4490 Cornishon Ave., La Cañada, (818) 952-8300 or visit







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