Dr. Beth Maloney
Teaching and Learning Consultant
Gifted and Talented Education - GATE
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Gifted and Talented Education in the Omaha Public Schools is committed to developing students through a curriculum framework focused on:
Honors Special Projects is a course middle schools may offer that aligns to the GATE framework and provides learning experiences for students that focus on the process of learning through a variety of content options.
Classroom teachers meet the needs of high ability learners on a daily basis through classroom differentiation. Additionally, all OPS middle schools offer honors courses in English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science. These courses enhance and enrich learning experiences for students by differentiating through Pace (accelerating the instructional practices), Depth (deepening the discipline knowledge and practice) and Complexity (Using sophisticated levels of advanced thinking).
All OPS middle schools offer:
Placement in honors and advanced courses is determined by standardized assessments, classroom performance and other established criteria.
In some cases, students may require academic course offerings not available at the middle school. Students and families may work with the school’s GATE Facilitator to complete an acceleration agreement that may involve such options as distance learning or high school placement. Grade-level acceleration or grade-skipping can also be considered through a process involving an Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS).
Gifted and Talented services are another transitional change. Students are no longer pulled from the classroom for specialized instruction; instead, instruction takes place within the classroom. The Gifted and Talented Facilitator has a key role in supporting the classroom teacher to differentiate instruction to meet the unique needs of the high ability learner.
Students have additional opportunities to be challenged through clubs, events, competitions and performances offered at
their middle school. These opportunities may include but are not limited to:
Middle Level Events
Sponsored by the Office of Gifted and Talented
Calling all readers!! Students prepare for this competition by reading as many books as they can from a list of 17-20 young adult titles. Teams then test their knowledge of the books with questions phrased so that the title of the book is the answer. Extra points are given for knowledge of the authors. Each middle school may send two four-person teams to the Book Blaster competition. The tournament is a double-elimination format. Click here for the current book list.
The purpose of the Middle School Leadership Team is to provide opportunities for a select group of students in grades 7th and 8th to experience and develop leadership, teamwork, and service through activities conducted at the district and campus levels over a two-year period. Although selection criteria varies by school, qualities such as the following are used to select the team:
•above average grades
•strong work ethic
Activities are designed to build upon existing leadership skills and increase awareness of community leadership opportunities. Events sponsored by the Office of Gifted and Talented include:
A Problem-Solving CompetitionToday’s students are tomorrow’s problem-solvers! In this problem-solving competition, middle school students are given the opportunity to simulate a real-life think tank, where the world’s problems are solved. Each year an issue is selected and students delve into all sides of the topic through in-depth research.
TIP (Talent Identification Program) Test Prep
The Talent Search is the largest program of its kind in the nation, representing participation from 6,061 junior high and middle schools in the Duke TIP 16-state region. Over 1.5 million students have completed the Talent Search since its inception in 1980. The Talent Search identifies academically talented 7th graders based on standardized test scores achieved while attending elementary or middle school. Candidates are identified and invited to complete either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT Assessment college entrance examination. Duke TIP then provides the participants with comparative information concerning their academic abilities and resources for unique educational opportunities. Our gifted and talented facilitators support this program and provide test prep session prior to testing dates.
Quiz Bowl Quads and Competition Finale
Academic competition where a 4 member team competes against the clock answering questions from various disciplines (math, language arts, language, science and the arts). Skills such as team work, cooperative group discussion, problem solving and quickness are enhanced through practices and competition. QUADS allow each middle school 3-4 opportunities to practice before the compeition finale in May. This competition serves as a springboard to high school Academic Decathlon.
Pentathlon is an Academic Decathlon competition at the middle level. Students study the same theme and compete in a district and national competition via online.
Twice each year, spring and fall, poetry comes alive as students perform original writings in a forum of collaboration and celebration. Students gather at the Pizza Shoppe in Benson on stage to share their creations. Seasoned metro area poets join and model slam protocol.
Each middle school varies in the services that are provided for their gifted and talented students Downloadable PDF brochures are available to communicate detailed information about the offerings and specialized curriculum at each school.
Click on a school to download information regarding specific offerings and specialized programs.
Gifted and Talented programs are differentiated according to the unique goals and opportunities at each middle school location.