Gifted & Talented Education

  • Identification

    Our learners in grade 5 will be identified bi-yearly, based on standardized test scores from the current and previous school years. In general, learners who score at or above the 97th percentile on three tests in reading and/or math will be placed in the curriculum unit coordinating to that academic area.

    The CogAt, or cognitive abilities test is conducted as a screener with ALL second graders in the fall as well as NEW learners in first through fifth grade in the fall and throughout the year. This assessment is utilized to determine placement in our GATE (gifted and talented education) program. Learners who pass the screener are administered the full CogAt assessment for placement. The full assessment provides three scores: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Learners who achieve a qualifying score in any of these areas will be placed in the GATE program.

    Parents can elect to have a student “opt-out” of the GATE program as desired. Learners in the GATE program are expected to maintain proficient or advanced scores in academics and on the approaches to learning. Learners who are achieving scores that are novice or approaching may no longer participate in GATE as deemed appropriate through the collaboration of the GATE and classroom teacher.

    Learners who do not qualify in grades 2 -4 will not be enrolled in the GATE program, however, they may participate in the Enrichment program. Learners may be reassessed with the CogAt screener as needed or requested in subsequent years.


    Learners who are in GATE in grades 2-5 are also likely to complete additional Enrichment activities.

    Learners in grades K & 1 will be pulled for Enrichment and select sessions with the GATE teacher based on test scores above the 95th percentile on FAST and/or STAR, as well as parent and/or teacher recommendations. Learners will receive a simple notice from the GATE teacher introducing themselves and indicating that the child is participating in some Enrichment activities.

    A key Enrichment tool available is the use of eSpark, which automatically differentiates instruction with fun games, videos, and resources utilizing student STAR scores. The eSpark tool helps West Fargo teachers meet the diverse learning needs of their high-achieving learners. As learners learn and grow with eSpark, they record short videos in which they synthesize and apply new math and reading standards. 

    In addition, Enrichment opportunities are available for all learners in the core curriculum with targeted opportunities for high-achieving learners. This allows learners to take learning deeper and demonstrate that skills advanced, often times providing an opportunity to earn a “4" in alignment to a standard category on the report card.

    Our gifted education teachers work with learners during a 40-minute block for two out of six days in math/science and one out of six days in reading/writing. This ensures that learners are still receiving their core instruction while they receive opportunities for enrichment.

    The focus during the math/science time in grades 3-5 is based on Contexts for Learning and the National Math and Science Initiative curriculum – NMSI. This curriculum is designed to help learners achieve in advanced placement opportunities at the secondary level. The curriculum also allows for a unit from Project Lead the Way (PLTW); many units from this curriculum are in our core science program, but these particular units take the engineering and design process to a deeper level. In grades 1-2, the math/science curriculum comes from both Contexts for Learning and Lego WeDo 2.0, Scratch, and the utilization of resources like MakeyMakey and other hands-on learning opportunities.

    The focus during the reading/writing time is based on enriching our core curriculum research process and allowing learners to dig deep into projects of passion. Our gifted education teachers utilize a wide variety of resources and strategies to work with learners in these areas, including Junior Great Books.

    For more information, please contact the Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Heather Sand, at

GATE Qualifications

qualification indicators for getting into the GATE program

Staff Directory

  • Aurora Elementary, Legacy Elementary, Osgood Elementary
  • Brooks Harbor Elementary
  • Freedom Elementary, Independence Elementary
  • Harwood Elementary
  • Horace Elementary
  • South Elementary, L.E. Berger Elementary
  • Westside Elementary, Eastwood Elementary
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