GATE program undergoes changes

November 20, 2008 — by Synthia Ling and Saniha Shankar

Most students have been unaware of the fact that they are part of the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, which provides funding for education opportunities for individuals identified as gifted and talented. This year, however, the program will change and not everyone will be considered gifted and talented.

According to English teacher Kerry Mohnike, who is acting the coordinator of the program, the school’s previous program wasn’t doing what GATE is intended for.

Said Mohnike, “It was great, but if you have money that you’re supposed to use on a specific population, it is hard to say, ‘Ok everybody in the school is GATE.’”

Starting this year, an identification program will determine which students are eligible to participate in a GATE trial program. Incoming classes will be identified from their 8th grade CSAT scores or from a teacher referral program. As of now, according to Mohnike almost 50 percent of the incoming freshman class is expected to earn scores high enough to participate in GATE.

“The one thing about GATE students that a lot of people don’t understand is that there are people who are really gifted and talented in things that you can’t test for,” said Mohnike. “So we’ll have a referral system to help people get into the program that way.”

The program has around $16,000, of which $6,000 has been used. However, the amount has been inflated since it hasn’t been used as efficiently before, so the amount available for next year is expected to be around $5,000, she said.

Before, the funding from GATE only went to help fund AP and honors classes. This year the gate funding for the school is about $11,700. Mohnike said the school is hoping to use this money add some enrichment activities for GATE students, such as going to Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the da Vinci exhibit at the Tech Museum, college tours, theater tours, or campus activities.

“I don’t know much about the GATE program, but it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun for the people that participate in the enrichment activities,” said freshman Anoop Galivanche.

Although this program is mostly for the incoming freshmen, upperclassmen will still benefit from the funding that still goes toward honors and AP classes.

According to Mohnike, this program isn’t designed to separate GATE students and non-GATE students but instead help those who are truly gifted and talented.

“There are always the students who are smart, but may not do their homework,” said Mohnike. “Our goal is to find these kids and make sure they don’t fall through the cracks.”