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Gifted & Talented Education

Information and resources related to implementation of Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs.

Since the passage of the 2013–14 Budget Act, Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) is no longer considered a categorical program in California. All funding for GATE programming is now included in the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which replaced the previous kindergarten through grade twelve (K–12) finance system. Therefore, all funding for services and programming related to gifted and talented students is now determined at the local level. See Principal Apportionment for more information about how funds are distributed to local educational agencies (LEAs).

Recommended Standards for Programs for Gifted and Talented Students (DOC)
Archived information regarding recommended standards for GATE programs when GATE was funded as a categorical program.

This guidance is dated but can still be a useful tool for GATE programming.

Gifted and Talented Education Program Resource Guide (DOC)
Archived information regarding guidance for GATE programming when GATE was funded as a categorical program.

Distance Learning Resources

The California Department of Education’s (CDE’s) Quality Professional Learning from a Distance web page provides guidance and resources to support quality remote professional learning.

The CDE’s Distance Learning web page provides guidance and resources for teachers and families in K–12 schools regarding high quality distance learning.

The CDE’s Social and Emotional Support in Distance Learning web page provides guidance and resources for educators, educational leaders, and families/guardians in K–12 schools, to provide social and emotional supports during distance learning.

The National Association for Gifted Children External link opens in new window or tab. provides guidance and professional learning opportunities for educators of gifted and talented students during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Additional resources will be posted to this web page as they become available.

Laws and Regulations

History of legislation, state laws, and regulations related to programming and services for gifted and talented students.

In 1961, the California Legislature established the Mentally Gifted Minor Program for students scoring in the 98th percentile or above on standardized intellectual ability tests. By 1980, 454 school districts and 160,000 students were participating in the program. Assembly Bill 1040, enacted in 1980, established the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program, allowing local educational agencies (LEAs) to set their own criteria for identification and expanded services to a broader range of students who were gifted and talented in areas such as specific academic ability, leadership, visual and performing arts, and creativity.

In 2000, two pieces of legislation amended provisions of the California Education Code (EC) relating to GATE. AB 2313 External link opens in new window or tab. amended EC sections 52200–52212, requiring that GATE programs be planned and organized as differentiated learning experiences within the regular school day and established a categorical funding formula for GATE programming. AB 2207 External link opens in new window or tab. amended EC sections 48800 External link opens in new window or tab. and 76001 External link opens in new window or tab. , providing options for gifted and talented students to attend classes at postsecondary institutions regardless of age or grade level.

In 2014, California's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) legislation redistributed state funding from several categorical programs into the general funds provided to districts, allowing local governing boards to make decisions about how to allocate the funds to best meet the needs of their student populations. GATE was one of the categorical programs repealed through this legislation, prompting Senate Bill 971 External link opens in new window or tab. to repeal EC sections 52200–52212 later in the year.

The LCFF provides a unique opportunity for LEAs to expand upon or develop new educational opportunities for high-ability students in California public elementary and secondary schools, particularly those who are traditionally underrepresented in GATE programming. The LCFF requires stakeholder input during the development of Local Control and Accountability Plans, further expanding the opportunity for educators, families, and other stakeholders to provide input as LEAs develop their annual budgets.

Professional Learning

Professional learning opportunities for educators of gifted and talented students.

California Association for the Gifted External link opens in new window or tab.
Membership association that provides professional learning opportunities, position papers, and resources for educators.

International Baccalaureate External link opens in new window or tab.
Offers high-quality professional development to help teachers create transformative student experiences.

Model Teaching External link opens in new window or tab.
Professional development opportunities for kindergarten through grade twelve (K–12) educators.

National Association for Gifted Children External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides informational and instructional resources and nationwide professional learning opportunities, including an annual conference and a micro-credential program.

William and Mary Center for Gifted Education External link opens in new window or tab.
Offers professional development programs designed to promote leadership and exemplary practice within the broad study of giftedness and talent development.

Organizations

Professional organizations that support Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programming, identification, and instruction.

California Association for the Gifted External link opens in new window or tab.
A nonprofit organization of California teachers, administrators, parents, and professionals interested in promoting and supporting gifted education in California.

The International Gifted Consortium External link opens in new window or tab.
A nonprofit international organization of researchers, educators, policy makers, parents, and other professional practitioners facilitating collaboration across disciplines, and creating a worldwide network that conducts and disseminates research on gifted children.

National Association for Gifted Children External link opens in new window or tab.
A nonprofit organization of teachers, administrators, parents, and professionals interested in promoting gifted education, including support for twice exceptional and English learner students.

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted External link opens in new window or tab.
Fosters education and research to support the unique social and emotional needs of gifted individuals.

The Association for the Gifted External link opens in new window or tab.
A division of the Council for Exceptional Children. Promotes scholarly research, advocacy, and professional development.

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children External link opens in new window or tab.
A worldwide network of educators, scholars, researchers, parents, educational institutions, and others interested in research and information on the gifted.

Student Programs

Educational opportunities for gifted and talented students.

Academic Decathlon External link opens in new window or tab.
A team competition wherein students match their intellects with students from other schools.

Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development External link opens in new window or tab.
Conducts talent search and educational programs for gifted students. Sponsored by the University of Iowa.

California Future Problem-Solving Program External link opens in new window or tab.
Future Problem Solving of California is an Affiliate of Future Problem-Solving Program International, an educational nonprofit focusing on the development of critical, creative, and futuristic thinking skills.

Future Problem-Solving Program International External link opens in new window or tab.
An international nonprofit organization that offers programs designed for grades four to twelve students to help develop their abilities in research, critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork.

Center for Talent Development External link opens in new window or tab.
Offers accelerated and enrichment online courses for students ages three to eighteen, parent and educator learning communities, and program development for schools, with a focus on talent identification, talent development, research, and advocacy. Part of Northwestern University.

College Admissions Services External link opens in new window or tab.
Resources and information about college admissions including financial aid, scholarships, studying for the Scholastic Assessment Test, writing application essays, and the college admissions process.

Davidson Institute for Talent Development External link opens in new window or tab.
Supports profoundly gifted young people and opportunities for development of talents.

Destination ImagiNation, Inc. External link opens in new window or tab.
A program that involves students solving challenges and working cooperatively with a team to push the limits of imagination.

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page External link opens in new window or tab.
Gifted education information and resources for parents, educators, counselors, administrators, other professionals, kids, and teens.

International Baccalaureate Organization External link opens in new window or tab.
A nonprofit educational foundation that offers curriculum for advanced academic programs for high school, middle school, and primary grades.

Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Program External link opens in new window or tab.
This program provides fellowships to students of superior academic ability—selected on the basis of demonstrated achievement, financial need, and exceptional promise—to undertake study at the doctoral and Master of Fine Arts level in selected fields of arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth External link opens in new window or tab.
The program identifies top academic students in grades two through eight and opportunities for participation in challenging educational programs through their tenth-grade year.

Odyssey of the Mind External link opens in new window or tab.
An international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college involving regional, state, and international competitions.

Stanford University Education Program for Gifted Youth External link opens in new window or tab.
Pre-collegiate studies that advances the studies of education of academically talented and intellectually curious pre-college students.

Summer Institute for the Gifted External link opens in new window or tab.
An academic program for gifted, academically talented, and creative students, ages five through seventeen, offers summer day, commuter, and residential programs. The 3-week programs combine academics with social, cultural, and recreational opportunities for a truly engaging summer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that address common fiscal and program issues.

Funding FAQs

  1. How has Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Funding changed?
    With the passage of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) legislation and subsequent implementation beginning in the 2013–14 school year, all aspects of the GATE funding are now under the control of local governing school boards.
  2. Has the State of California eliminated GATE funding?
    GATE as a categorical funding stream was eliminated with the passage of the LCFF. Local educational agencies (LEAs) who were already receiving GATE funding now receive GATE and some other categorical program funds in a single block grant and create a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) to allocate expenditures based on local need. Many LEAs have continued to fund their GATE programs under the LCFF but whether to expand, maintain, or suspend GATE programs is a local decision.
  3. How has LCFF legislation affected California Education Code (EC)?
    In response to LCFF legislation, California Senate Bill 971 (signed into law September 2014) repealed all previous EC that referred to GATE as a categorical program. The language contained in EC sections 52200–52212 is no longer in effect.

Service Delivery FAQs

  1. Now that districts are focused on implementing the rigorous Common Core State Standards (CCSS) does that mean there is no longer a need for GATE programs?
    While the CCSS and academic content standards adopted by the State of California provide the basis for a rigorous core curriculum, they may not be sufficient replacements for services that provide adequate challenges for gifted students. Many districts have chosen to keep their GATE programs intact and continue to follow best practices for educating gifted and talented students.
  2. Will local educational agencies (LEAs) be required to provide differentiated curriculum for students identified as gifted and talented within the regular school day per California Education Code (EC) Section 52206 and Title 5 Section 3840?
    In response to LCFF legislation, California Senate Bill 971 (signed into law September 2014) repealed all previous EC that referred to GATE as a categorical program. The language contained in EC sections 52200–52212 is no longer in effect. LEAs may determine program guidelines and policies regarding all aspects of GATE.
  3. What programs does the local high school offer to gifted students?
    A variety of courses and programs for gifted students is offered in most California schools service grades nine through twelve. Individual high schools make decisions about how to serve accelerated students, including optional enrollment of younger students from the middle grades who may be placed in high school courses. Early college high schools, Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate programs, and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) are popular examples of options for accelerated secondary level students. For more information, contact your local high school district office and ask for information about programs for accelerated students. At the California Department of Education (CDE), see the Career & College Transition Division's High School web page.
  4. With the repeal of EC sections 52200–52212 under California Senate Bill 971 what guidelines should districts follow for their GATE programs?
    Though EC sections related to GATE have been repealed, the Gifted and Talented Education Program Resources Guide (DOC), which includes the State Board of Education Recommended Standards for Gifted and Talented Education, may still be helpful when making local decisions related to identification, differentiated curriculum, parental and community involvement, etc.
  5. What resources are available to parents of gifted children?
    Many California school districts have a GATE Program Coordinator who can serve as a resource for parents with questions about local school, and community, programs. See the California Association for the Gifted External link opens in new window or tab. for links to regional parent and educator representatives, recommended readings, and educational activities for gifted students.

Identification FAQs

  1. Should more than one test or measure be used to identify GATE students?
    Best practices support using more than one factor to identify GATE students. Achievement, intelligence quotient (IQ), ability, and other test scores; motivation; parent/guardian, student, and teacher recommendations; classroom observations; and portfolio assessment are some of the possible factors a district may use to identify GATE students.
  2. Should students in kindergarten and primary grades be identified and served?
    Districts may provide teachers with the means to recognize potentially gifted children along with strategies and resources to meet their educational needs. This can be done even if formal identification does not take place until later.
  3. Should students be re-examined for eligibility as they get older?
    Identification can be an ongoing process that continues as students get older. Best practices support the continued and periodical examination of students for eligibility for GATE services. A student who does not meet the district's criteria for eligibility in the second grade may very well be eligible later in elementary, middle, or high school. At all levels, children who can be successful in advanced courses should be encouraged to take them regardless of whether they are identified as gifted and talented.
  4. Are public schools required to test or serve private school students?
    No.
  5. Should a previously identified GATE student who transfers from one district to another be identified as eligible in their new district?
    California law places GATE programming under "local control" which means that each district can set its own guidelines and policies regarding identification and enrollment procedures for new students.
  6. My child was not selected for the GATE program at my school. What should I do if I believe my child is capable of an accelerated program?
    Since California law places GATE programming under "local control" you may wish to inquire with the school district's GATE coordinator about why your child was not selected and whether there is an appeal process parents can follow. Ultimately, the decision will be left to the district.
Questions:   Teacher and Leader Policy Office | TLPO@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-7331
Last Reviewed: Thursday, March 18, 2021
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