Gifted & Talented Education - Laurie Kardish

I have been teaching Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) since 1999 and have had the pleasure of working at Drachman since 2009. This job is a dream for me as I love to learn and have so much fun seeing how kids think!

The purpose of GATE is to build students’ abilities in critical and creative thinking while championing their uniqueness. One year Drachman students wrote their own pledge. We now all recite it at the beginning of class:

“As a GATE student I will keep my mind open to new ideas and be willing to evolve them. I will think creatively and have the courage to take risks. I will be my own person and contribute my own powerfully unique ideas. I will continue to set goals and not stop until I reach them. I will dare to dream. I am a proud and intelligent student!”

The GATE pull-out program provides services at Drachman once a week on Tuesdays for students in 1st through 6th grades.

Next year, GATE Clustering will begin at Drachman! What does this mean? In this model, identified students are clustered into a classroom with a teacher who is trained in gifted methodologies. Not all the students in the classroom have been identified as gifted, but all students will have access to gifted education strategies. Gifted students participating in the clustering model also receive pull-out services, once a week, in a block of 3.5 hours. The GATE itinerant teacher will team with the classroom teacher to support this program in the classroom.

Each year we focus on a theme, which connects the lessons in a broader context. Themes include: Cause and Effect, Change, Systems, Aesthetics, Interdependence or Power. Students are taught Thinking strategies to extend their creativity (FFOE & SCAMPER). Bloom’s Taxonomy, called Blooms Thinking Mountain or Traffic Light Thinking, is used to talk about Critical Thinking. In a cluster model groups can focus more on literacy, problem solving, and independent study projects.

“Extension projects” are offered to students to bring their learning process home and involve interested parents. Some students enjoy doing them on their own. Extensions may include science experiments, physics demonstrations, electrical wiring, dioramas, or examples of systems. One time a student completed one of a heart that actually pumped fluid! Students are graded on their work and receive a GATE report card in addition to their classroom report card. Report cards are given at 2nd and 4th quarters, and a Progress Report at 1st and 3rd quarters.

If you have questions about GATE in general you are welcome to contact the GATE office. If you would like to talk about GATE at Drachman, feel free to contact me by email or at the school on Tuesdays.


TUSD GATE office: 731-4005