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Novato Unified School District 2007-2008 Parents Guide to GATE

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					      Novato Unified School District                                           2007-2008                                    Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E

The Parents’ Guide to GATE is intended to provide information that will be helpful to you. If you
need further information or clarification of topics, please feel free to contact any of us listed below.
We appreciate your continuing support of the GATE program.

  Director of Assessment, Accountability and                                                                  GATE Teacher Liaison
              Specialized Programs                                                                           Kate McDougall (892-5642)
           Iishwara Ryaru (897-4294)


Lynwood Elementary School (897-4161)                                                       Hill Middle School (893-1557)
Ivy Morritt, Principal                                                                     Louise Koenig, Principal
Pam Baker, Office Manager                                                                  Nancy Ferretti, Office Manager
4th Grade – Lisa Nyquist                                                                   6th Grade – Suzanne Calmels
5th Grade - Sandra Murdoch                                                                 7th Grade - James Chester
                                                                                           8th Grade – Debbie Hanks


San Jose Middle School (883-7831)                                                          Sinaloa Middle School (897-2111)
Dale Ravazzini, Principal                                                                  Kit Gabbard, Principal
Lynn Dragonette, Office Manager                                                            Mary O’Keeffe, Office Manager
6th/7th Grade – Karen McKeown                                                              6th Grade - Elizabeth Dunlavy
6th/7th/8th Grade – Elizabeth Meyers                                                       7th Grade - Karen Kenyon
8th Grade - Dania Massey                                                                   8th Grade - Janet Lucas



Hamilton Elementary School (883-4691)                                                      Olive Elementary School (897-2131)
Ruthanne Bexton, Principal                                                                 Raquel Rose, Principal
Patty Ravetti, Office Manager                                                              Stephanie Rugani, Office Manager
4th/5th Grade – Brian McCoy                                                                4th/5th Grade – Vicki Brown


                                                       GATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Parents                                                                                       Teachers
Cheryl Messner                                      Hamilton                                  Lisa Nyquist/Sam Murdoch                             Lynwood
Berta Campos-Anicetti                               Lynwood                                   James Chester                                        Hill
Carrie Cassee                                       Olive                                     Vicki Brown                                          Olive
Karen Dalrymple                                     Hill                                      Elizabeth Meyers                                     San Jose
Ashley Grimm                                        San Jose                                  Elizabeth Dunlavy                                    Sinaloa
Jan Hoffmann                                        San Jose
Gretchen Tara                                       Sinaloa                                   Principals
                                                                                              Kit Gabbard, Principal                               Sinaloa
                                                                                              Ivy Morritt, Principal                               Lynwood




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      Novato Unified School District                                           2007-2008                                    Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E


                                                                 TABLE OF CONTENTS



Purpose ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3


Goals ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3


Differentiated Curriculum -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4


Assessment and Grading -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4/5


NUSD Current GATE Program Classes --------------------------------------------------------------- 5


Homework --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5


Personnel Selection and Training
              Teacher selection --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6
              Teacher training ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6


Screening and Identification of the Gifted and Talented ------------------------------------------- 6
             Screening ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 7
             Eligibility ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 7
             Placement Committee --------------------------------------------------------------------- 7
             Parents’ Decision --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8
             Declined Enrollment ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8
             Eligibility Pool ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8
             Choice of Program ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8
             Student placement during the academic year ------------------------------------------- 8
             Student short or long-term removal from GATE -------------------------------------- 9


Timeline for student placement (Grade 4 and 6) ----------------------------------------------------- 9


Parent Participation--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10


NUSD GATE Advisory Committee By-Laws ---------------------------------------------------- 11-13




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      Novato Unified School District                                           2007-2008                                    Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E




                                                                             PURPOSE

The Novato Unified School District Gifted and Talented Program is designed to meet the needs and
learning styles unique to gifted children. The differentiated curriculum provides experiences and
activities that vary in acceleration, depth, complexity, and degree of novelty. It is a program
designed to foster enthusiasm for learning, insight into ideas and problems, responsible citizenship,
leadership, critical and creative thinking, and career awareness.


                                                                                GOALS

                                              To provide differentiated opportunities for learning
                                              To develop critical thinking skills
                                              To promote sensitivity and responsibility to others
                                              To foster a commitment to constructive ethical standards
                                              To encourage a healthy self-concept
                                              To inspire life-long learning




                                                                   Program Guidelines


                             Standards, Assessment & Accountability
  We seek and identify students for the gifted and talented program using a comprehensive process.
                          Evaluation of the program is conducted annually.

                                          Teaching & Learning
     Students are provided research-based differentiated instructional models and strategies that are
                   aligned with the state academic content standards and frameworks.

                                   Staffing & Professional Growth
      Teachers are provided specific professional development opportunities to enhance instruction
                                           for gifted students.

                                 Parent & Community Involvement
Participation on the District GATE Advisory Committee gives parents an opportunity to be involved
                            in the planning and evaluation of the program.

                                                   State Funding
                       State funding determines the level of support for district programs.
             Identified priorities and goals for student learning are implemented using these funds.




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      Novato Unified School District                                           2007-2008                                    Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E


                                                  DIFFERENTIATED CURRICULUM

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One
cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous
structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every
day. Never lose a holy curiosity. – Albert Einstein


The California state standards and the Novato Unified School District core curriculum is presented
to all students and differentiated to meet the individual needs and learning styles unique to gifted
students. Teachers are trained to focus and engage students using their experiences, interests,
abilities, and readiness to learn as a guide in their presentation of the core curriculum. The
curricular focus provides opportunities for all students to interact with content information, construct
meaning, and demonstrate knowledge and understanding often through a final product or project.


Differentiation for advanced learners involves using instructional strategies to adjust the core
curriculum using one or more of the following dimensions:
             Acceleration refers to altering the pace of learning and compacting the curriculum.
             Depth refers to challenging learners by enabling them to venture further, deeper, and more
             elaborately into the area of study.
             Complexity refers to broadening the understanding of an area of study through questioning
             techniques that make connections and associations between, within, and across subjects and
             disciplines.
             Novelty refers to constructing an individualized and personal understanding of knowledge in
             the area of study.

             Parallel Curriculum – A strategy for designing curricular approaches to content, teaching,
             and learning to ensure a rich curriculum for all students.




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      Novato Unified School District                                           2007-2008                                    Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E


                                                                           Assessment


Most students who are enrolled in the GATE program have the intellectual capacity to earn top
grades. Grades follow board policies and accurately reflect students’ efforts and achievement
against a commonly accepted standard. (Board Policy 5121)
To ensure that all students will be successful learners, a variety of instructional and assessment
strategies will be used that include teacher evaluation by tests and project evaluative rubrics, peer
evaluation, student self-evaluation, and standardized tests.



The homework plan for the GATE Program is guided by NUSD Board Policy 6154 for Homework.

Homework reinforces and extends classroom-learning objectives and is related to individual student
needs and abilities. Each school site has a homework plan in place, which ensures that major
assignments and assessments are scheduled so that an undue burden is not placed on students. The
frequency and appropriateness of homework is evaluated periodically by GATE teachers and site
administrators.

Please consult with your child’s teacher regarding more specific information about the Homework
Program.


                                                                                  Classes



GRADES K-3                             potential students are targeted, nurtured, and provided with support in the
                                       regular classroom.
GRADES 4 & 5                           meet all day with one teacher in a self-contained/cluster classroom.
GRADE 6                                consists of a core program in English Language Arts and Social Studies, and
                                       may include science, math, and physical education.
GRADE 7                                students meet for a two-period block for English Language Arts/Social
                                       Studies.
GRADE 8                                students meet for a two-period block for English Language Arts/Social
                                       Studies.
GRADE 9-12                             students have the opportunity to take honors and advanced placement courses.


GATE classes, self-contained or cluster, match the Novato Unified School District goal of a
maximum of 30 students per class.

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                                                    Personnel Selection and Training


Teacher Selection
Teachers and long-term substitutes will be selected by the site principal. The principal will be
responsive to the goals of the GATE Program in the selection of teachers.
Teacher Training
GATE teachers will be provided opportunities for professional growth. The cost will be written into
each year's budget. Teachers will attend staff meetings and stipends will be paid for individual
research when teachers submit plans, outcomes, and costs.




                     Screening, Identification, and Placement in the Gate Program


The process for identification of gifted and talented students in the Novato Unified School District is
ongoing. Most nominations take place in the third and fifth grades. New students, previously in a
GATE program, may be considered for placement during the school year. Students may be
nominated for screening by a teacher, principal or parent. Referral forms and more detailed
information on the process may be obtained from the Instructional Services office.
Criteria that may be used by the Placement Committee for GATE identification:
Intellectual
Students who demonstrate intellectual development that is markedly advanced in relation to
chronological peers
        An intelligence quotient of 132 or above on an individual IQ tests as administered by a
        licensed psychologist, or
        132 composite score on the district group ability test.
High Achievement
Students who consistently function at highly advanced levels in multiple academic areas
       Advanced level in STAR English Language Arts Content Standards for two years with a
       scaled score of 456 or higher, and
       Proficient level in STAR Mathematics Content Standards, or
       For out-of-state or private schools students: Stanford Achievement scores in two of the major
       core areas (total math, total reading, total language) for two years at or above the 97th
       percentile
Other
Students whose limited English abilities, cultural background, or unique circumstances challenge
them to fully demonstrate their abilities in the previously mentioned categories
       Students may be placed by teacher-written description of observed gifted characteristics,
       portfolio for student’s work/art, and/or letters of recommendation from principal or
       psychologist.




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Search and Serve K-3
An identification packet is available to all K-3 teachers to assist them with potentially highly gifted
students in their classrooms. The GATE Resource Teacher provides teacher trainings throughout the
school year, and also works with individual teachers to provide appropriate instructional materials as
needed.

Screening
The screening process includes:
       a)     Parent request for GATE referral
       b)     Completion of teacher referral form
       c)     Parent consent for student assessment
       d)     Analysis of available test data
       e)     Evidence of student work through a student portfolio packet
       f)     Consideration by District GATE Placement Committee

Parents are notified if students do or do not qualify for placement in the GATE program.

If a student is not recommended for placement, and a parent has new information regarding
qualifying criteria for placement, he/she may submit this information to the GATE Placement
Committee.

After assessment data has been gathered and a student case study profile has been prepared, the final
decisions on eligibility and placement are made.

Eligibility
The eligibility for GATE placement will be determined on an individual basis with all elements of
the profile of diagnostic information to be considered by committee members using the “whole-child
approach”. This profile will include the following major categories:
        1)      available achievement test data
        2)      ability/intelligence test data
        3)      student portfolios
        4)      other factors:
                a)       referrals, endorsements, and pertinent comments from teachers, psychologists,
                         principals, etc.
                b)       cultural, economic and other factors that may be masking exceptionally high
                         intellectual or academic potential.
Placement Committee
A District GATE Placement Committee will be responsible for decision-making on
placement in the program as well as establishing a waiting list of qualified students. Their decisions
will then become recommendations to parents whose approval is required for actual placement.
Members of the placement committee will be appointed by the Superintendent or designee and will
be expected to serve for a full year and will meet as needed.
                1)       One psychologist
                2)       One elementary principal and/or one middle school principal
                3)       Director of Curriculum and Instruction
                4)       GATE resource teacher
                5)       One parent on the GATE Advisory Committee (not a parent of a student
                         currently being considered for placement)

Parent's Decision
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Parents will make the final decision for placement when their child is declared eligible. School
personnel will provide as much factual information as they can about the implications of that choice.

Declined Enrollment
In cases where parents decide (for whatever reason) not to enroll a student in the GATE Program,
the educational assessment data will be made available to the local school staff. The student’s
teacher will use this information, as well as all other data, to help plan and to provide a learning
program that responds to the child’s unique needs and talents. GATE staff members will be
available as resource persons to assist in this effort. Students who decline placement are eligible for
reconsideration in subsequent years (Pending Space Availability). These students are eligible for
reconsideration by the Placement Committee in subsequent years without further testing. Parents
should contact the GATE Resource Teacher.



Eligibility Pool
Students who are candidates for placement but are excluded due to limited space in the GATE class
will be placed in an eligibility pool. When an opening becomes available in the program, the
Placement Committee will consider all eligible students including students who move into the
district.

Choice of Program
• Parents must apply for an Intradistrict Transfer by the first Monday in April for elementary and
  the first Monday in March for middle school for the following school year.
• Each school will look at its board-approved transfer capacity for that year to determine if there is
  space available for new transfer students. If there is space at the school, then the principal will
  look at capacity within the GATE program to see if there is space in the GATE class.
• If there is space available in both areas, the student may be allowed to transfer to the school’s
  GATE program.
• If there is room in the school but not in the GATE class, the student may transfer to the school
  into a regular education class and be placed on a waiting list should an opening become
  available.
• If there is no space at the school then no transfers of any kind will take place.
• If there are more transfer applicants than there are spaces, then schools will conduct lotteries of
  applications and process transfer applications according to the order of lottery numbers. (Board
  Policy 5116-1)
• Once a transfer is approved, sibling(s) of the student are considered residents of the same school
  as the original transfer student provided the student and sibling will be attending the same school
  concurrently. (Subject to the enrollment priorities listed in the Rules and Regulations for Board
  Policy 5116.1 Intradistrict Open Enrollment)

Due to space limitations, space availability varies from year to year.

Student Placement During the Academic Year
The goal of the Placement Committee is to have all children placed by the first quarter of each
school year. Students new to the district or students with special circumstances will be considered
on a case-by-case basis by the Placement Committee.

Student Short or Long-Term Removal from GATE Classes
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A student may be removed from class if poor achievement or disruptive behavior is sustained or
appears to be related to the special class placement. A decision to transfer a student out of the class
may be determined by the school staff (GATE Resource Teacher, principal, teacher and
psychologist), but only after consultation with parents.

A careful analysis of poor achievement, emotional stress or anxiety, or disruptive classroom
behavior may include a referral for other appropriate services (counseling for underachievers,
speech, ECIA-Title I, special education class, psychological assessment, etc.) while remaining
enrolled in the GATE class.

Behavior management and guidelines for GATE classes will be consistent with district policy and
school rules.


                                                       Timeline for Student Placement
                                                              (Grade 4 and 6)



             MONTH                                                                              ACTIVITIES


              October                       GATE Program information, including K-3 Search and Serve Packets,
                                            provided to elementary school teachers and principals.

            November                        Student Referral Forms are provided to elementary school teachers &
                                            principals. Information letters mailed to all 3rd and 5th grade parents in
                                            both English and Spanish.

            December                        Information meeting for parents of third and fifth grade students.

              January                       Information letters including testing dates and permission slips for
                                            testing sent to all third & fifth grade parents.

              January                       Third and fifth grade teacher referrals due.

      February/March                        Group screening tests for third & fifth grade students.

                                            Placement Committee meets to review scores and referrals.

                 April                      Placement Committee meets and assigns students to grade 4 and grade 6.

            April/May                       Parents notified and asked to sign consent form.

                  May                       Students are placed and schools are notified.


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      Novato Unified School District                                           2007-2008                                    Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E
                                                                  Parent Participation


A number of opportunities to serve in various supportive ways are identified below. If you want to
volunteer for any of the tasks or roles that are mentioned or simply want more information, please
contact the GATE Resource Teacher, any other GATE staff member, or a parent serving on the
District GATE Advisory Committee.

1. The planned structure and function for the GATE Advisory Committee is as follows:

                          a.           Membership is composed of equal numbers of parents and staff and balanced
                                       among participating schools:
                          b.           Members are encouraged to serve for two years.
                          c.           A two-thirds vote shall be necessary to change by-laws.
                          d.           Main functions include planning for parent education, assistance in
                                       completing GATE application, coordinating collaboration among
                                       participating schools.
                          e.           Decision-making processes, parameters of authority, and other major
                                       operating procedures will be spelled out in the Advisory Committee by-laws
                                       as approved by the Board of Trustees.
                          f.           Meetings are generally scheduled for the third Wednesday of the month.

2. One parent serves as a voting member of the District GATE Placement Committee (not a parent
   of a student currently being considered for placement).

3. Parents are encouraged to participate in classroom volunteer activities, career awareness studies,
   and guest presentations in classes. They will be invited to identify subjects and topics in which
   they have special interest and knowledge and to explore with staff a variety of supportive ways
   in which they can contribute their expertise, time and energy.

4. Presentations by outside consultants as well as staff members and parents may be offered during
   the year.




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      Novato Unified School District                                           2007-2008                                    Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E
                                                  Gate Advisory Committee By-Laws


ARTICLE I. - NAME
             The name of this committee shall be the Novato Unified School District
             GATE Advisory Committee.

ARTICLE II. - PURPOSE OR GOALS
              The purpose of this Committee shall be:

                          A.           To advise the Novato Unified School District on the program for gifted and
                                       talented students.

                          B.           To have ongoing responsibility to review the implementation of the GATE
                                       program and to assess periodically the effectiveness of the program.

                          C.           To annually review the program Parent Guide, establish new goals and a
                                       budget consistent with district policy, and suggest to staff that they look at
                                       modifications in the plan to reflect changing needs and priorities.

                          D.           To provide information and education to parents of gifted and talented
                                       children and interested persons.

ARTICLE III. -LIMITATIONS
           A.     All actions of the committee shall be consistent with the policies of the
                  Novato Unified School District Board of Trustees, the Education Code, and
                  the Administrative Code.

                          B.           The committee, or its individual members, shall not direct, prescribe, or
                                       dictate a professional staff member’s teaching methods or materials. The
                                       committee, or its individual members, shall not become involved in the
                                       process or procedures relative to the professional evaluation of individual
                                       school staff members.

ARTICLE IV. - MEMBERSHIP
          A.    The voting membership of the committee shall consist of the following:
                1.     One teacher from the GATE elementary staff, and one teacher from
                       each middle school GATE staff not all from the same grade level.
                2.     Two principals, one elementary and one middle school principal, to
                       rotate yearly between the individual middle schools.

                                                    Note: Staff members shall serve one-year terms but shall not be
                                                    limited to number of terms served.




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      Novato Unified School District                                           2007-2008                                    Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E

ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP (continued)

                                 3. School Psychologist (if available).
                                 4. Parents shall be represented by an equal number of voting members as staff.

ARTICLE V. - OFFICERS

                   A. The officers of the committee shall consist of a chairperson, or co-chairpersons, a
                      GATE Resource Teacher, and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction
                      Accountability.

                   B. The chairperson, or co-chairpersons, shall be selected by consensus, and if
                      deemed necessary, will be selected by secret ballot of the voting members of the
                      committee (staff and parents).

                   C. The chairperson shall serve a one year term.

                   D. Duties of the chairperson shall include:

                                 1. Meeting with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction
                                    Accountability/GATE Resource Teacher to establish an agenda for the
                                    GATE Advisory Committee meeting.
                                 2. Presiding at all regular meetings.
                                 3. Helping to establish and coordinate standing committees of the GATE
                                    Advisory Committee.

ARTICLE VI. -.MEETING AND QUORUM

                   A. Meetings shall be conducted using interactive and consensus-building methods
                      whenever possible and shall be open to the public. School staff members, parents,
                      students, and interested community representatives will be encouraged to attend and
                      share ideas and concerns within the committee. If necessary, standard Parliamentary
                      procedures will be used.

                   B. The Meeting schedule shall be determined by Director of Curriculum and Instruction
                      and Chairperson. Meetings shall be held a minimum of four times a year.

                   C. Voting members shall be limited to staff and parent members as specified in these by-
                      laws Article IV. Members will include: 4 teachers, 2 principals, 6 parents. The
                      resource GATE teacher will vote in the event of a tie.

                   D. A simple majority of the voting members of the GATE Advisory Committee shall-
                      constitute a quorum.

                   E. All efforts for a general consensus shall be attempted. If necessary, votes shall be
                      recorded by a roll call.



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  Novato Unified School District 2007-2008                                                                                  Parents’ Guide to G.A.T.E
ARTICLE VI. - MEETING AND QUORUM (continued)

                   F. Action of the GATE Advisory Committee is to provide recommendation to the
                      superintendent and shall include a record of consensus recommendations and
                      motions made and votes on same.

ARTICLE VII - COMMITTEES: May be established as necessary and are open to all parents
and                       staff.

ARTICLE VIII - BY-LAWS:

                   A.                 A two-thirds vote shall be necessary to change by-laws.

                   B.                By-laws changes shall be presented at one meeting and voted on at the next
                                     meeting.
                   C.                By-laws shall govern the actions of the Advisory Committee.

                   D.                 By-laws shall reflect that the Advisory Committee is not a governing board
                                      and will follow the directive of the superintendent and the Board of Trustees.




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