» G.A.T.E. Tips for Parents

PUSD Gifted and Talented Program (GATE)

Karen Sampson, Teacher/Coordinator
BA Liberal Studies Minor in Spanish, Teaching Credential San Jose State University, CA; Early Childhood Ed Endorsement, SEI Endorsement, Provisional Gifted Endorsement | 2000 Educator of the Year El Camino Academy, Bogota, Colombia; 2014 Yavapai County Teacher of the Year PreK-3rd grade; 2015 AEF Nominee Arizona Teacher of the Year

GATE teachers are certified in elementary education and have a gifted endorsement. “All school districts shall provide to gifted pupils special education commensurate with their academic abilities and potentials.” -Arizona Law Mandate

Benefits of Gifted Education

  • Challenges children to reach their potential
  • Promotes academic rigor
  • Helps develop and maintain an interest in school
  • Improves creativity and problem solving abilities
  •  Broadens experiences and horizons
  • Creates a positive atmosphere for learning
  • Provides appropriate pacing
  • Allows for association with children of similar interests and abilities
  • Expands and focuses goal-setting and career expectations
  • Encourages active participation in class
  • Provides a context for application of classroom learning to real life problem solving
  • Scholarships to summer programs for participating students


  •  To provide each identified gifted student with an appropriate program commensurate with his/her potential
  •  To challenge students to operate at higher cognitive levels
  • To focus on abstract concepts and advanced thought in each discipline
  • To develop and demonstrate skills in methods of inquiry and research
  • To provide opportunities for students to clarify their own goals and to pursue their own academic interests
  •  To develop independent, intuitive, discriminating, and creative learning processes
  • To integrate all elements of the academic disciplines and curricula for the gifted student in such a manner that the student will recognize these interrelationships

General Needs of the Gifted and Talented

  • Time and opportunity to learn more than is offered in the standard curriculum
  • Training and practice in planning, completing, and evaluating  personal independent projects
  • Time and opportunity to share ideas and projects with others of similar ability or interest
  • Help in understanding the physical intensity that often accompanies their emotions, learning styles, and interests
  • Opportunities to ask questions: questions with answers, and questions with no answers–only viewpoints

Referral Procedures

Students are referred for gifted assessments by their teachers or parents.

Qualifying Criteria

Students who score in the 97%ile or higher on a state adopted test that measures logical / creative thinking skills are eligible to receive gifted services.

Students in 5th-12th grades may also qualify through academic subject test scores and teacher recommendations.

Gifted Services

Cluster Grouping Model grades 1 & 2
Modified Cluster Grouping Model grades 3 & 4 (cluster grouping in departmentalized rotations)
TIP (Thematic Interest Project) grades 3-4 with biweekly enrichment
and culminating field trips

Services provided on an as-need basis and requested by the classroom teacher.

Clustering gifted students in the regular classroom

Independent Research (PIP-Personal Interest Project) group meeting twice a month) as requested by the classroom teacher.

Grades 3-4
Clustering gifted students in the regular classroom

Independent Research (TIP-Thematic Interest Project) group meeting twice a month that emphasize research skills, higher level thinking skills, creativity, organizational skills, computer skills, presentation skills.

Each thematic unit of study includes a seminar/field trip to further develop that unit.

STEAM curriculum
Honors cLasses

STEAM curriculum
Honors Classes

Honors classes, advanced placement classes, dual credit high school/college, academic competitions