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GATE Program


The Newport Mesa Unified School District offers a Gifted and Talented Education Program for eligible students in grades 4 – 12. The programs are designed to meet the needs of high ability and intellectually gifted students. Classroom instruction begins with the grade level core curriculum and is differentiated based upon student need and ability. The development of critical thinking is emphasized.


When participating in a differentiated curriculum, bright, talented students will become analytical thinkers, creative producers, and practical problem solvers.  It is our goal to provide unique learning opportunities for the gifted learner to develop individual potential, explore interests, and develop sensitivity and responsibility, ethical standards, and a healthy realistic self-concept.

All schools in Newport-Mesa Unified School District are proud to offer the GATE program for eligible identified students in grades 4 – 12. Students are identified for GATE participation based on assessed intellectual abilities and overall school performance.

Elementary Schools

Students in K – 3 are observed for demonstration of gifted characteristics by their teachers and can be identified as High Potential. These students should be challenged and flexibly grouped according to their assessed need and interest.

4th-6th grade students are placed in cluster groups within the regular classroom with a teacher who is participating in Gifted Education professional development and who understands the needs of the gifted. These teachers are university authorized or have completed the NMUSD certification to teach gifted students.

Middle/High School

At the middle school level, identified students are clustered in Social Science or English and have the opportunity to participate in the appropriate level of mathematics.

All high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses, special academics and honors. The Advanced Placement classes consist of college level coursework and exams. Over 90% of the colleges that most AP candidates attend give credit and/or advanced placement to students whose examination scores are considered acceptable. In addition, college admission officers view a candidate taking AP courses and the College Board exams favorably. AP classes – when compared to other high school courses – often take more time, require more work, and give greater opportunity for individual progress and accomplishment.

Students enrolled in middle/high school enhanced classes and AP/IB classes have met the District's criteria for placement in those classes. High school accelerated and AP/IB classes consist of a combination of both GATE and non-GATE students. For specific criteria for enhanced classes and AP/IB classes, please call your child’s academic advisor at his or her middle/high school.

As determined by Newport-Mesa Unified School District GATE Plan, students enrolled in a Newport-Mesa school will have the opportunity to take the GATE test in 3rd grade. Throughout the year, teachers will begin to collect data and complete forms identifying those 3rd grade students who demonstrate gifted characteristics. All schools test only once per school year during the month of January (please talk with your site GATE Coordinator about the specific test date for your child). The entire identification process is completed by May. All students who have been tested will receive results in the mail.

If a student is eligible for re-testing, they will need to wait until the next testing cycle which will take place the following January.

1.  How has GATE funding changed?
With the passage of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) legislation and subsequent implementation beginning in the 2013-14 school year, all aspects of the Gifted & Talented Education or GATE funding are now under the control of local governing school boards.

2.  Has the State of California eliminated GATE funding?
GATE as a categorical funding stream was eliminated with the passage of the LCFF. Local education agencies (LEAs) who were already receiving GATE funding now receive GATE and some other categorical program funds in a single block grant. LEAs now create a local control and accountability plan (LCAP) to allocate expenditures based on local need. Many LEAs have continued to fund their GATE programs under the LCFF, but whether to expand, maintain, or suspend GATE programs is a local decision.

3.  How has LCFF legislation affected the California Education Code?
In response to LCFF legislation, California Senate Bill 971 (signed into law September 2014) repealed all previous California Education Code (EC) that referred to GATE as a categorical program. The language contained in EC sections 52200-52212 is no longer in effect, but Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations has not yet been modified to reflect this change.


GATE operations and student placement differ slightly at each school site within NMUSD.

Please contact your GATE Coordinator or Principal for more information about your school's GATE program.

Visit the School Directory to find contact information for your school.


Lori Hernandez
Director of Teaching & Learning-Elementary

Tracey Nelson
Administrative Assistant