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Gifted and Talented Education (GaTE)


Chelsea Cekutis
GaTE Coordinator
GaTE Strategist

Amanda Robson
GaTE Strategist
Henri Moser
GaTE Strategist


Academic Program Philosophy
RSU5 recognizes the special abilities and talents of gifted students that allow them to excel beyond their peers and perform at exceptional levels. Therefore, we will encourage, nurture, and provide for them in a manner that will develop their unique capabilities. Services will be based on a variety of instructional strategies. Individual needs will be met through flexible, challenging, and creative learning opportunities. The program will engage identified students in services designed to support their unique academic, social and emotional needs. The program philosophy complements the overall system philosophy, which strives to provide students with an education that will challenge minds, engage creativity, develop self-discipline, and advance inherent strengths.

Academic Identification
All students in grades 3 and 5 are screened using a universal screening form completed by classroom teachers and NWEA MAP assessment data. Select students then participate in CogAT testing to provide an additional data point. The selection evaluation team will review all of the data to make a determination. A student being identified as needing gifted services typically has standardized test scores in the 98th percentile or higher, CogAT scores of 135 or higher, and strong teacher recommendations. Based on the data and recommendations/referrals, a student may be identified in a specific subject area, or generally identified across all subjects. GaTE students who are identified at the end of grade 3 will be formally re-screened at the end of fifth grade. 

If a student qualifies for services, GaTE teachers will work with classroom teachers to determine the level and area(s) of need. If a child meets most of the criteria, but not all, the selection evaluation team may place the student on a high ability watch list. Watchlist students are monitored closely by the GaTE teacher and may participate in enrichment services as needed.

Academic Services
Services for students in GaTE will look different for each level and for individual students according to academic and social-emotional needs.

Grade K-2:
Students at the primary level have their needs met primarily through consultation, however there may be some pull-out groups as needed. GaTE teachers also provide resources, materials, and lessons that are purposeful yet related to the classroom units of study.

Grades 3-5:
Students at the elementary level will receive services from the GaTE teachers in the form of push-in lessons and/or pull-out groups. Services are provided in the student’s identified area(s) of need. 

Grades 6-8:
Students at the middle school level have the above services, as well as the opportunity to take advanced courses in math, and participate in ELA extension projects. 

Grades 9-12:
Students at the high school are on a consultation basis. Students may opt to meet with the GaTE teacher to discuss course selection, other outside opportunities, and ways to advocate for their education. The GaTE teacher is available for appointments via email. The GaTE teacher also consults with guidance counselors to monitor student programming. 

Arts Program Philosophy
The Arts program educates, informs, and involves students and the school community in meaningful, child-centered experiences that develop artistic behaviors, critical thinking, creative thinking, and production. Individual needs will be met through flexible, challenging, and creative learning opportunities.

Artistic Identification
The process has multiple steps to help the identification team identify gifted art and music students. The first step is the universal screening form by the classroom teachers and the nomination form from the teachers, parents, and/or students. After this group is determined, they are given an artistic and/or musical task, which is then scored, as well as a test; for art, the Torrance Test of Creativity; or for music, the Gordon Audiation Test. This filters the group down further and the remaining students create either an art or musical portfolio as the final assessment.

The art and music student portfolios are judged as a body of work by a committee according to several criteria. Points are then awarded for each step of the process, culminating in up to 5% of students being identified as gifted in visual and/or performing arts.

Identification will lead to the development of goals for each student. Students will be expected to set goals and work with their GaTE advisor, art/music teacher, parents, and community to achieve these goals through continued practice and learning.

Artistic Services
Services for students in GaTE art or music will look different for each level and for individual students according to artistic, musical, and socioemotional needs.

Grade K-12:
Students will have their needs met through consultation, as well as differentiation in the regular classroom for identified arts students. Teachers of the gifted will consult with arts teachers to assist in creating an art/music classroom that is enriched, challenging, and differentiated for the artistically and/or musically gifted child. There will be opportunities for enrichment activities as well, such as weekly sessions, visiting artists and musicians, and field trips.

Process for Appeals:
After determinations have been made, any student or parent can appeal the decision of the evaluation committee. Parents can initiate the appeals process by emailing the assistant superintendent.

Process for Transfer Students:
All new students entering RSU5 schools who have previously been identified as GaTE will have their file reviewed by the GaTE teacher at their school. Determinations about identification and/or further testing will be made on a case by case basis.