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General Meetings held at:
 Simi Valley Unified School District Office
in the Floyd Binns Room
875 E Cochran St.
Simi Valley, CA 93065

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

All parents are welcome

For further information

Call 306-4500 x4213


The Advisory Committee is

Suspended Until Further Notice



If your child was identified GATE in another district, we need the following information to assess if they are eligible for GATE in SVUSD:

  • Results/Test type for all previous GATE tests.
  • STAR Testing/ Standardized testing results for last 2 years.
  • Copy of last 2 years of report cards.

Please provide this information to:


875 E. Cochran St.

Simi Valley, CA 93065

Email: kathryn.petersen@simivalleyusd.org

Fax:  808-520-6596

Overview of GATE/Honors Program

The SVUSD has an array of groupings and structures in grades 3-12 to meet the needs of GATE identified students. All programs and services for students are provided during the regular school day to ensure all students equal access to the curriculum. At the Elementary Level (K-6), SVUSD has six GATE Cluster School programs. GATE identified students residing within the attendance area of an elementary school without a GATE Cluster program may apply to attend the GATE Cluster School program designated for their attendance area. Transportation to these schools is the responsibility of the parents. GATE students are clustered within general education classrooms at each grade level. This structure provides the opportunity for students to interact with GATE and non-GATE identified students on a daily basis. The core curriculum provides the basis for instruction but differs in pacing, complexity, depth, and novelty.

The following programs are offered at all Middle Schools and High Schools:


Middle Schools: At each of the three middle schools, the GATE Program in 6th grade mirrors the program in the elementary schools. In 7th and 8th grades GATE identified students who are excelling academically may enroll in Honors courses. Honors classes have distinct features in terms of extended content. Because participation in the Honors Program is based on student achievement, GATE identification does not automatically ensure admission. Non- GATE identified students who are excelling and meet additional criteria, will be considered for placement in the honors courses. Honors course will be offered in the three core content areas, social studies, English and science. Mathematics placement will be determined using alternate criteria.

High Schools: At the three comprehensive high schools, GATE identified students may enroll in a variety of Honors and Advanced Placement courses. Honors/AP courses have distinctive features in terms of extended content and additional workload that set them apart from regular high school courses. Because the program at the high school level is based on student achievement, GATE identification does not automatically ensure admission to Honors/AP courses.

Program Goals and Philosophy

The GATE Program in the SVUSD is founded on a philosophy developed to meet the unique needs of our gifted learners. Program Goals include:   

  •  To provide and offer a specialized learning environment based on differentiated learnin opportunities

  •  To develop a commitment to constructive ethical standards 

  •  To foster intellectual growth through the emphasis on higher order thinking skills, problem solving, critical thinking, and the teaching of investigation and inquiry techniques     

  •  To assist with the social development of gifted learners both in and out of the classroom

  •  To develop an appreciation for task commitment and a “can do” attitude

  •  To foster the development of creativity within the gifted learner and an appreciation of 

      individual thinking and uniqueness

Characteristics of GATE Students

Students that have been identified GATE often possess similar characteristics. This list is often quite extensive, but the most often cited are:

  • Has large background of information on a variety of subjects
  • Grasps and retains knowledge without drill and repetition
  • Asks higher level questions
  • Easily understands abstract or difficult concepts
  • Possesses intellectual curiosity
  • Transfers previously learned information to new situations
  • Researches areas of personal interest
  • Possesses advanced vocabulary and is verbally fluent
  • Possesses a heightened sense of justice

The Nomination and Identification Process

In the SVUSD, all students (Grades 2-5) are eligible to be recommended for an assessment to determine eligibility for the GATE program.  Referrals for assessment can be submitted by a teacher, administrator, and/or parent. Students who do not qualify in a given year may be recommended for assessment the following year. Our district uses multiple measures to determine eligibility. The measures used include California Standards Test Scaled Scores in mathematics and English/language arts, their performance on the Otis Lennon Test, and grades. New students to our district, who have previously been identified GATE, are eligible to participate in our programs upon enrollment if identification criteria meet our district’s standards.

The identification process usually occurs during the spring for placement in the fall. Once identified, students remain GATE identified regardless if they choose to participate or not participate in the GATE Program.


GATE Curriculum

All GATE curricula meet or exceed the state standards and focus on depth, complexity, acceleration, and novelty. Intellectual growth is fostered through the emphasis on higher order thinking skills, investigation and inquiry techniques, and the utilization of various questioning techniques designed to elicit higher-level responses. Metacognition, where students are encouraged to analyze and evaluate their own thinking, is emphasized.

Through a differentiated curriculum, teachers utilize a variety of instructional strategies designed to promote inquiry, self-directed learning, abstract thinking, and the development of big ideas. Technology is often used as a tool to enhance the student’s educational experiences. All schools and classrooms are connected to the Internet and possess a variety of software/presentation programs and hardware products that provide students the opportunity to extend their knowledge in areas of interest or academic strength.


Teacher Training

It is our intention, as funding allows, to have all GATE teachers participate in training that prepares them to teach our GATE identified students. Our goal is to have teachers obtain one of two levels of GATE Certification. They are:

  • A District GATE Certificate – This four-day institute is presented by a GATE consultant who is a recognized expert in the field of GATE education
  • A University or California Association for the Gifted (CAG) GATE Certificate – This certificate is presented to those that participate in a University or CAG sponsored program. This requires teachers to attend numerous college level courses.

GATE teachers are encourage to periodically attend workshops and/or conventions in order to remain current regarding trends and best practices related to GATE education. 


Parent Involvement

The SVUSD encourages parent participation in the planning and evaluation of the GATE Program. Parents of identified students are invited to attend GATE Advisory meetings. A GATE Newsletter is published three times per year highlighting activities and events at the various schools. We strive to communicate and educate parents concerning our program and about recent developments in GATE education using the newsletter, offering parent education opportunities and encouraging parents to participate in the GATE Advisory meetings.


Who To Contact

If you have questions concerning the GATE Program at your student’s school, please contact the principal or call the District’s GATE Clerk:

Kathy Petersen at 306-4500 x 4213

Castleman, Dr. Pam
Coordinator of Curriculum & Assessment K-12
Petersen, Kathy
Administrative Services Asst II


GATE Testing: GATE testing is 2 - 5 grades only, and will be in Spring. Requests for testing should be placed through student's teacher by December 15, 2015.  Assigned test dates and times will be mailed to parents. Unscheduled "walk-ins" will not be accepted. Please bring your assigned test date letter and Parent Rating Scale with you at test time.  *Late requests will be accepted  throught the GATE Desk by calling 306-4500 ext.4213, and will be placed on a waiting list.

Results of GATE Testing: The results from the GATE testing will be mailed to parents approximately 8 weeks after the testing date.