Gifted and Advanced Learners

GATE Program Overview

IUSD's GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program is designed to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of advanced learners. Research tells us that gifted children demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or achievement in one or more domains while possessing unique and diverse learning characteristics. They often have highly creative abilities, strong memories, and subtle or mature senses of humor. Some, but not all, gifted students love the learning process and crave knowledge and understanding across a broad spectrum of topics. IUSD’s GATE program is committed to providing a comprehensive educational model that meets the diverse and varied needs of each gifted student. IUSD program options serve students in 4th through 8th grades and are grounded in current research and best practice in the field of gifted education.

Instructional Approach

Teachers of gifted learners are provided with professional learning specific to meeting the academic and social/emotional needs of gifted and advanced learners. GATE teachers assess each student's current knowledge and skill level and make adjustments to instruction and curriculum to meet individual needs. Students participating in GATE cluster groups receive differentiated instructional opportunities designed with elements of depth, complexity and content imperatives across the grade-level core curriculum. Differentiated instruction is provided within the school day and general education classroom through the use of flexible groupings, supplemental materials, and varied learning activities. Differentiation is not accomplished by assigning GATE students more homework or special at home projects.

Elementary Cluster Class Option

Each IUSD Elementary School provides cluster classes for GATE-identified students in 4th through 6th grades. Cluster classrooms include 6 or more GATE program students within a mixed ability, general education classroom. This model allows the classroom teacher to more effectively differentiate instruction and provides GATE students interaction with both their intellectual and age peers.

Middle School Program Options

Middle School GATE programs can include GATE cluster courses, Honors/GATE courses, and/or academic enrichment opportunities. Please check your middle school’s website for further information.

The Cluster Model


GATE Multiple Criteria Measures Screening Process

IUSD conducts an annual Multiple Criteria Measure screening process for all students in 3rd through 6th grades (and 7th grade beginning the 2016-17 school year) to identify students for placement in the GATE program. Parents do not need to apply for GATE Program placement. The process takes place automatically for students within the school day and over the course of the school year. To qualify, students must score within the top 20% of his/her grade level. Parents are notified of GATE placement in mid-June.

Link to GATE Frequently Asked Questions


APAAS Advanced Learner Program Option

The APAAS, Alternative Program for Academically Advanced Students, is an elementary school program option for students in 4th through 6th grades. The program is designed to meet the needs of a unique population of highly intellectual learners who consistently prefer creative outlets to demonstrate their understanding of content. Students successful in the program are individuals who have an innately high level of curiosity, think outside the parameters of conventional ideas, and are motivated by complex, open-ended options. The program is constructed for students who independently handle high-level assignments, collaborate with others, and have a strong foundation in math and reading, and can express ideas in writing. A student does not need to be GATE-identified to participate in APAAS.

Instructional Approach

Students are taught in a self-contained classroom and are provided with opportunities to make choices about how to personally engage with and demonstrate their understanding of the core content. Curriculum and instruction spring-board from the grade-level content and are designed for students to learn grade level standards in greater depth and with advanced perspectives. Learning focuses on creative and unique application of the core content. Program instruction does not include acceleration into subsequent grade level content standards.

Application and Placement Process

To be considered for APAAS participation, families who reside within the IUSD attendance boundaries may submit an application for their student in February. Criteria considered in the application process include achievement, creativity and learner characteristics components. APAAS application criteria are compiled and compared. Program placement is offered to the highest scoring students in order of score until all classes are filled. This placement process is conducted annually in May and students begin participating in the program in 4th grade at one of six school sites: Brywood, Deerfield, Eastshore, Santiago Hills, Turtle Rock, and Westpark (the year-round option). The program is designed as a 3-year option; therefore, there are limited spaces for 5th and 6th grade students.

An APAAS Informational Meeting will be held on Monday, January 23rd, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Woodbridge High School's MPR, 2 Meadowbrook, Irvine.

The APAAS Model

Link to APAAS Frequently Asked Questions

Community Advisory Committee - CAC-GATE

CAC-GATE serves as an important vehicle for parent and community involvement in the educational program of gifted and advanced learners. The committee is comprised of parent representatives from each school within our district. Three committee meetings are held annually to promote open communication between district administrators, school staff, and parents. Meetings also provide parents with information and opportunities related to gifted education. If you are interested in volunteering as a parent representative, please speak with your school’s GATE site teacher representative.Meetings are open to all IUSD community members.

2016-2017 General Meetings

September 12, 2016 ~ Overview of IUSD Program Model
Click here for: Presentation
Click here for: Meeting Summary

Tuesday, February 7, 2016 ~ TBD
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, IUSD Learning Center, 3387 Barranca Pkwy

Tuesday, May 9, 2016 ~ TBD
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, IUSD Learning Center, 3387 Barranca Pkwy

Community Advisory Committee Board

Seth Grossman, 2016-17
Yvonne Mansouri, 2016-17
Anuradha Raghavan, 2016-17

Meetings are held before General Meetings, starting at 5:15 pm.

Parent Resources


Otis-Lennon School Ability Test

The OLSAT assesses student's verbal, nonverbal, and quantitative abilities. Students in 3rd-7th grades may take the OLSAT one time each year. IUSD will continue to offer OLSAT as a courtesy for community members. However, based on national and international research, IUSD will no longer consider a one-time assessment as an indicator of giftedness. As of 2016-17, for students interested in taking OLSAT, IUSD will consider the scores as one component of IUSD's Multiple Criteria Measure screening process. Students do not need to take OLSAT to be considered for GATE. If taken, OLSAT scores become a permanent part of the child's record in IUSD. OLSAT scores are not used for APAAS placement.The OLSAT is intended to be taken without any preparation. IUSD only offers OLSAT to students currently residing within the Irvine Unified School District boundaries. 

2016 Fall testing dates: Wednesday 11/30, Saturday 12/3, Wednesday 12/7

Online registration is now open and will only be available between October 3-November 11.

To register, fill out the application here: OLSAT


September 2016

Additional Resources

Ian Byrd (OCC-GATE in conjunction with OCDE, FSD & IUSD, 2/17/16)


If you have further questions after reviewing our Frequently Asked Questions, please contact