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 Canada 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 or Assistant Principals 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 13% 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 the gifted student.  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 beginning in mid-August.  This program takes place during the instructional day.  Students are pulled out of non-academic part of their school day.  Grades 4, 5 and 6 have separate sessions.  Students engage in interactive lessons, experiments and activities in the areas of biology, physics, chemistry, social influences, etc. They also set goals and gain insight about their learning styles.

  1. Math Olympiad - Students at all three sites have the opportunity to participate in Math sessions held after school and prepare for math competitions by parents.  This activity challenges students who love math and allows them to compete with students across the nation.  
  2. 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 learning.  The GATE teacher facilitates these sessions.  

GATE Components at LCHS 7/8

After School GATE Gatherings - Students have the opportunity to meet as a cohort once a month after school to listen to guest speakers and participate in project-based learning.  LCHS 7/8 teachers facilitate 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. 8th Grade GATE Homeroom - Interested eighth graders may enroll in this homeroom to engage in project-based learning in a homogeneous setting.  They meet twice a week on block days for 35 minutes.  LCHS 7/8 teachers facilitate these sessions.  The 8th grade homeroom has an emphasis on Science.
  3. 7th Grade GATE Homeroom - Interested seventh graders may enroll in this homeroom to engage in project-based learning in a homogeneous setting.  They meet twice a week on block days for 35 minutes.  LCHS 7/8 teachers facilitate these sessions.  The 7th grade homeroom has an emphasis on History. 
  4. 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 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 Canada High school which present 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 Canada 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