G.A.T.E. at Buffett Middle School

Gifted and Talented Education

G.A.T.E. Facilitator

Welcome to Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School – home of the Buffett Bobcats. My name is Rachel Howe and I am the Gifted Facilitator at Buffett. I look forward to working with you during the school year.

Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School has maintained an outstanding record of academic excellence. Students who attend Buffett are well prepared to meet the academic rigors of high school. Our mission is to provide a rigorous academic experience that is based on research and best practices and enables all students to achieve their highest potential.

Big picture

Did you know? Top 5 Facts about G.A.T.E.

5. There are state guidelines for identifying HAL/Gifted and Talented students. Check out the state website here.

4. Once your child is a G.A.T.E. identified student, they are in the program through high school! No need to reapply.

3. G.A.T.E. program looks different in middle school (and high school) than it does in elementary. Browse Omaha Public School's middle level G.A.T.E. information here.

2. Buffett teachers are trained to differentiate for the gifted and talented students in their specialized instructional areas. Buffett also offers Advanced and Honors courses grades 6-8. Many Buffett teachers also run G.A.T.E. sponsored events and competitions. Check out some of the events we have here at Buffett!

1. Buffett is known for our top performers! We have over 100 G.A.T.E. identified students in grades 5-8. It's great to be a Bobcat!

Big picture

Goals of the Program

The goal of the Gifted and Talented program is to offer a differentiated rigorous curriculum by providing curricular and instructional adaptations that address the unique needs of high ability learners. At Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School, the program is organized to address these needs through a combination of the following methods:

  • Differentiation
  • Advanced Classes
  • Contest/Competitions
  • Enrichment Activities and Clubs

Our Gifted and Talented Program at Buffett is based on best practices. We want to support your high ability learner. We will be making sure our courses are differentiated to meet their needs. We will support staff through collaboration and professional development and by planning and providing opportunities for your child.

A strong partnership between school and home is vital to the success of our children. Thank you for supporting your child academically, which has resulted in their success. I look forward to meeting you at Open House! Stop by and visit with me at the G.A.T.E. table!

Big picture

Transition to Middle School

Making the move to middle school is an exciting and challenging time. Students are leaving an atmosphere in which their world is primarily structured around a single teacher and entering and environment with eight teachers or more. This change may feel daunting but the opportunity to have teachers with increased content knowledge who specialize in content areas (math, science, etc.) provides a deep and rich learning experience that is also differentiated.

The delivery of gifted and talented services is another noticeable change. No longer are students “pulled out” of the regular classroom for specialized instruction groups with a Gifted and Talented Facilitator. Pull out programs, may mean, a loss of instructional time in a subject. Rather, instruction takes place within the classroom with lessons that are differentiated to meet the students’ readiness level. All of our teachers at Buffett have been trained on how to meet higher ability learner’s needs through increased rigor on assignments. This is frequently done through higher ability leveled books that are provided for assignments with differentiated scoring criteria (rubrics) for higher ability students.

More About Differentiation - Click Here!

Students increase their motivation and engagement when they are given choices (that are high ability) on assignments through rubrics. In the classroom, teachers differentiate content, process and product based upon the student’s academic readiness as well as their learning styles or interests. Teachers at Buffett have also been trained to create performance and flexible grouping arrangements during the regular class time. This allows students to be pre-assessed and to move through different levels of learning based on their daily performance within the regular class time.

Another important difference at the middle level is the rigor of the coursework found in the classroom. Advanced classes in reading, language arts, math, science, and international language are available with placement determined through established criteria.

Beyond the classroom, students have the opportunity to be challenged through a variety of special events, contests, and enrichment clubs. Many opportunities are also available for students who are talented in visual/performing arts, creativity, and leadership

Big picture
Big picture

How We Communicate

The easiest and most consistent way to communicate with the G.A.T.E. students is through TEAMS. We have been using TEAMS since the last school year to share out information and setup our meeting invitations. New opportunities to participate in various activities throughout the school year will be posted as they arise! Your Gifted and Talented student will get an invitation via email to join the G.A.T.E. TEAMS group soon!

Other ways students will be notified of upcoming opportunities through morning announcements, school newsletter, BBTV daily broadcast and classroom teachers. Students can also speak to me about their interest in participating in a contest or special activity.

Please encourage your child to get involved at Buffett! I look forward to learning about your child and their areas of strength and interest!

Big picture

How to Get Involved!

Here's just some of the many opportunities, activities, and competitions for our Gifted and Talented learners. Get involved with G.A.T.E. at the middle level is through special events and academic contests throughout the year. For a complete list of G.A.T.E. sponsored events, please click on the link below

Buffett G.A.T.E. Events - Click Here!

Big picture

How to Sign Up for these Opportunities

We welcome interested G.A.T.E. students to inquire about these opportunities! Interested students can sign-up using the FORMS links located in the G.A.T.E. TEAMS group. Sending an email to me at rachel.howe@ops.org to ask specific questions about the activities can help our students select which opportunities are best suited for them. We will continue to add additional opportunities as they come up this school year.
Big picture

Gifted and Talented Identification Process

Do you think your child might qualify for Gifted and Talented Program? We would love to add even more students!

The Omaha Public Schools’ method of identifying gifted and talented students is modeled after NAGC (National Association of Gifted Children). Starting with the 2016-2017 school year, high ability learners will be identified for G.A.T.E. services by meeting indicators for at least three of the four criteria.

  • Cognitive – Top 5% at the school or national level on an intelligence/cognitive test.
  • Achievement – Top 5% at the school or national level on a standardized grade-level achievement test.
  • Motivation/Performance – “A” or Advanced in 60% or more courses on the most recent semester grade report (equivalent to a 3.5 un-weighted GPA) OR qualifying staff referral/recommendation and/or participation.
  • Creativity/Leadership – Qualifying staff referral/recommendation and/or participation.

At Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School, our high ability learners require differentiated learning experiences that challenge them and are appropriate to their needs. Therefore, we provide differentiated options that are integrated with the regular classroom. There will be no changes in your student’s schedule. The Gifted and Talented Program is organized to address our student’s needs on a daily basis through a combination of the following methods: differentiated lessons, advanced reading, international languages, advanced math classes, Socratic Seminars, rigor and relevance, contests/competitions and enrichment activities and clubs.

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding your child’s G.A.T.E. identification!

The nomination process is pretty simple. Parents or teachers can nominate a student for G.A.T.E. by completing a recommendation form. The form is only a couple of pages long. Once complete, send the form to gatereferrals@ops.org or mail the form to Dr. Beth Maloney at TAC, 3215 Cumings Street, Omaha, NE, 68131. A committee will review the application, look up the student's academic performance records, and determine if he or she qualifies. Note the timeline on the recommendation form.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture