Educational Services » Gifted and Talented Education

Gifted and Talented Education

The purpose of the Banning Unified GATE Program is to provide an enriched and differentiated curriculum to gifted and talented students.  The program provides a standards-based core curriculum supported with elements of depth, pacing, complexity, novelty and acceleration. Gifted learners should be provided with challenging learning experiences regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

Our philosophy involves the belief that gifted learners need and require educational opportunities which will take them beyond grade level expectations so that they may reach their potential in areas of their giftedness.  Participation in a differentiated curriculum provides GATE Students with experiences and activities that will enable them to become analytical thinkers, creative producers and problem solvers.

Students meeting the criteria in one or more of the GATE categories will qualify for acceptance to the GATE program.  Final identification and qualification for the program is determined by the District GATE Office.  Notification to parents and site of this final determination shall be in writing from the Multilingual/Categorical Programs office.

Teacher Qualifications and Professional Development
The special needs of gifted and talented students require the services of certificated teachers who have the knowledge, training in providing a differentiated curriculum, and an understanding of the unique characteristics of gifted students including their social and emotional needs.  BUSD is continuing, professional development opportunities for GATE teachers. 

Parent Involvement
Banning Unified School District provides GATE parents an opportunity to participate in all the components of the GATE program.  Through district/site GATE parent meetings, parents are given information regarding GATE programs and services. 

Brochures, newsletters, parent meetings, back-to-school nights, school report cards, and other methods of dissemination are used to ensure parental involvement in the education of their gifted students.  Surveys are conducted at least once a year to provide the District and site with valuable feedback regarding the GATE program and services

All GATE parents are encouraged and sought out to join GATE advisory committees that are regularly scheduled at each school site.

Principles of a Differentiated Curriculum for the Gifted and Talented Learner

Differentiating the Content/Topic
Content can be described as the knowledge, skills and attitudes we want children to learn. Differentiating content requires that students are pre-tested so the teacher can identify the students who do not require direct instruction. Students demonstrating understanding of the concept can skip the instruction step and proceed to apply the concepts to the task of solving a problem. This strategy is often referred to as compacting the curriculum. Another way to differentiate content is simply to permit the apt student to accelerate their rate of progress. They can work ahead independently on some projects, i.e. they cover content faster that their peers.

Differentiating the Process/Activities
Differentiating the processes means varying learning activities or strategies to provide appropriate methods of students to explore the concepts. It is important to give students alternative paths to manipulate the ideas embedded within the concept. For example students may use graphic organizers, maps, diagrams or charts to display their comprehension of concepts covered. Varying the complexity of the graphic organizer can very effectively facilitate differing levels of cognitive processing for the students of differing ability.

Differentiating the Product
Differentiating the Product, means varying the complexity of the product that students create to demonstrate mastery of the concepts. Students working below grade level may have reduced performance expectations, while students above grade level may be asked to produce work that requires more complex or more advanced thinking. There are many sources of alternative product ideas available to teachers; however sometimes it is motivating for students to be offered choice of product.

Differentiating by Manipulating the Environment or Through Accommodating Individual Learning Styles
There has been a great deal of work on learning styles over the last 2 decades. Dunn and Dunn focused on manipulating the school environment at about the same time as Joseph Renzulli recommended varying teaching strategies. Howard Gardner identified individual talents or aptitudes in his Multiple Intelligences theories. Based on the works of Jung, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Kersley's Temperament Sorter focused on understanding how people's personality affects the way they interact personally, and how this affects the way individuals respond to each other within the learning environment.  The work of David Kolb and Anthony Gregoric's Type Delineator follows a similar but more simplified approach.

Even though these approaches look at learning styles in vastly different ways they all have merit for some children. However, an amalgamation or blending of these concepts is probably more effective than any one approach. The Dunn and Dunn approach would be most effectively applied in a building designed to accommodate environmental changes-lighting or sound levels, to eliminate visual distracters, or to provide a more casual seating arrangement for students. Varying teaching strategies makes sure that students will occasionally learn in a manner compatible with their own learning preference but also expands their repertoire of alternative learning strategies in turn.
The Multiple Intelligences Theory is very helpful for helping teachers recognize that students have differing aptitude in different subject areas, but is still requires the application of the kinds of learning strategies to be effective. The MBTI and Gregorc's Style Delineator help teachers recognize how personality differences can either enhance or distract from communication between individuals.
  • 1-2 repetitions for mastery
  • Is highly curious
  • Has wild, silly ideas
  • Plays around, yet test well
  • Discusses in detail elaborates
  • Constructs abstractions
  • Shows strong feelings and opinions
  • Is mentally and physically involved
  • Asks questions
  • Prefers adults
  • Is keenly observant
  • Beyond the group
  • Initiates projects
  • Is intense
  • Creates a new design
  • Enjoys learning
  • Good guesser
  • Already knows
  • Thrives on complexity
  • Is highly self critical
A Gifted learner may demonstrate:
  • Advanced vocabulary for his or her age or grade level
  • Ability to make generalizations about events, people and things
  • A large storehouse of information about a specific topic
  • Ability to grasp underlying principles
  • Insight into cause and effect relationships
  • Understanding of complicated material through analytical reasoning ability
  • A large storehouse of information about a variety of topics
  • Ability to deal with abstractions
  • Recall of factual information
  • Keen and insightful observations
  • Ability to transfer learning from one situation to another