La Cañada Unified School District

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Gifted & Talented (GATE)

The Gifted and Talented Education Program is an integral part of education in La Cañada Unified School District.  Providing enriching educational opportunities for GATE students is a responsibility and a privilege.  Addressing GATE students' academic potential both inside and outside the classroom continues to be a priority in our schools.  




Site contact information can be found on the staff link to the right.

  • In grades 3-8, the school counselors are the GATE site coordinators.
  • In grades 9-12, the Assistant Principal overseeing Advanced Placement Assessments is the GATE site coordinator.


LCUSD identifies gifted and talented students at the end of third grade.  All students are given the opportunity to be assessed.  Students who perform at the 98th and 99th percentile rank are invited to participate in the GATE program.  GATE-identified students make up more than 11.9% of the overall  LCUSD student population. 

The GATE Program offers students quality experiences designed to enlarge their intellectual horizons and stimulate their curiosity for learning at the highest levels.  The cornerstone of the GATE Program is differentiated instruction that takes place within the classroom at all grade levels.  Teachers have been trained in differentiated instructional strategies to address the learning needs of gifted students.  They strive to provide activities, projects, homework, and assessments that are complex, abstract, or open-ended to cause gifted students to stretch intellectually.  Gifted students are sometimes provided with more interest-based assignments when they have demonstrated their proficiency in what is being studied in class.  Gifted students are often asked to use higher-order thinking skills such as synthesis and evaluation.

While differentiated instruction is evident at all grade levels, the GATE Program contains several other components.     

GATE Components at Elementary Schools

Pull-out Program - An enrichment class taught by a credentialed GATE teacher meets 45 minutes each week starting at the end of August.  Grades 4, 5, and 6 at each school site have separate sessions.  Students engage in standards-based interactive lessons, projects, and activities designed to target the four pillars of gifted education: acceleration, depth, complexity, and novelty. Students also set goals and gain insight into their learning styles.

Math Olympiad - Students at all three sites have the opportunity to participate in Math Olympiad--an after-school math competition team for students in 4th through 6th grade.  This program challenges students who love math and allows them to compete with students across the nation.  

After-School GATE Gatherings - Students have the opportunity to meet once a month after school for an hour to listen to guest speakers and participate in project-based and service-based learning.  The GATE teacher facilitates these sessions.  

GATE Components at LCHS 7/8

After-School GATE Gatherings - Students have the opportunity to meet once a month after school for an hour to listen to guest speakers and participate in project-based and service-based learning. The GATE teacher facilitates these sessions.  

  1. MATHCOUNTS - Students meet once a week after school to collaboratively or individually solve complex math problems to enhance their math skills.
  2. GATE Class - This class will be offered to students one day a week after school as a 7th-period class on Wednesday (7th grade) and Thursday (8th grade). 
  3. 7th and 8th-grade GATE students who perform above grade level in mathematics have access to higher-level math classes at the high school.  They must demonstrate proficiency in on-site assessments in order to be placed in higher-level math classes.

GATE Components at the High School

  1. Honors Classes - There are many honors classes offered at La Cañada High School that present a curriculum of a greater breadth and depth than general education classes.  The level of rigor in these courses is significantly higher than in general college preparatory courses. Honors courses are available in Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, English, French, Geometry, German, Physics, Pre-Calculus, and Social Science.
  2. Advanced Placement - These courses are guided by a national curriculum targeted at the college level.  At the culmination of these courses, students take the AP exam aligned with the course.  Students who perform at an advanced level in AP exams may receive college credit. La Cañada High School offers AP courses in the following subjects:



    AP American History

    AP Biology

    AP Calculus AB

    AP Calculus BC

    AP Chemistry

    AP Computer Science

    AP Economics

    AP English Language

    AP English Literature

    AP Environmental Science

    AP European History

    AP Government

    AP Music Theory

    AP Physics

    AP Psychology

    AP Spanish

    AP Statistics