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Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)

In accordance with the HBCSD Board’s philosophy to develop the special abilities of each of our students and the Strategic Plan for 2022-2027, the Huntington Beach City School District provides a program in Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) for qualifying students. GATE students in grades two through five are offered the cluster program at their home school. 

GATE students are grouped by grade level and receive differentiated instruction in all curricular areas. In the cluster program, students attend their neighborhood school and are grouped by grade level within specific classes. Instruction is differentiated using depth, complexity, acceleration, curriculum compacting, and enrichment. Students enrolled in the GATE program are expected to complete projects and reports that reflect higher-level thinking skills.

GATE testing takes place in February and March this year. Qualifying students are placed into the GATE program the following school year. HBCSD offers Universal GATE testing in first grade.  Students may be assessed twice during their elementary school career in grades one through four. 

Our identification procedure incorporates multiple measures, including the analysis of:

  • Performance on the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT)
  • Teacher Inventory of Gifted and Talented Characteristics 
  • Most Recent District Benchmark in English-Language Arts & Mathematics
  • Classroom Achievement in English Language Arts & Mathematics (report cards)
  • Articulated Writing Prompt
  • Special Considerations

Parent Resources: 

Website Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why do I need to submit a GATE Placement form if my child qualifies for GATE? 

The form is a confirmation that you would like your child to participate in the GATE program at their school.

How is individualized acceleration implemented in the clustered programs?

Teachers use several methods to individualize acceleration (i.e. student grouping, pre-assessments, differentiation of curriculum, and student choice and interest).

For cluster programs, are GATE-identified students in classes with non-GATE-identified students?


Are cluster classroom teachers trained in GATE methods?

Yes, all of our GATE teachers are GATE-trained.

Is the class size for the centered program different from standard class sizes?

No, all classroom sizes are similar across the district.

Once a student is GATE-identified, does the student stay GATE-identified, or do students get evaluated each year?

Once a student is GATE-identified, the student remains GATE-identified for the duration of his/her/their time in HBCSD. 

Can I opt my child out of 2nd Grade GATE and have him/her enter GATE in 3rd grade?

Yes, as long as the GATE classroom has room the following year for your child.

Is there a possibility that my child would be the only GATE student in a cluster class?

This is an extremely rare possibility that we have not experienced before in HBCSD. 

How does GATE work at the middle school level? Are they automatically put into accelerated classes?

Middle school students are placed in honors/accelerated courses based on middle school honors and accelerated requirements.

How many cluster classes per grade are there per school?

There is usually one to two cluster classrooms per 2nd-5th grade per school.

At cluster schools, are GATE students in the same grade level placed together in the same class?


When will families learn the GATE placement decision for their child for the next school year? 

HBCSD will inform you of your child’s GATE placement before the start of summer break. 

Will GATE students in a cluster participate in different field trips? Virtual or in-person?

All GATE students participate in grade-level school-sponsored field trips. 

How many students are in a GATE clustered class?

This number varies from year to year, school to school, and class to class. 

Will we know who is a GATE student within a clustered class?

Due to student confidentiality laws, this information is not shared.

Will there be a GATE combination class?

Combination classes are determined by enrollment numbers and are subject to change.