Middle » GATE/Honors Program

GATE/Honors Program

Who are GATE and Honors students?

According to CA Ed. Code, GATE (Gifted and Talented) students have “demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of high performance capability,” which is defined by each school district differently. Honors students also are high achievers who may not have met a district’s specific GATE criteria.


What are Honors classes?

These are secondary level courses specifically designed to be advanced in content (subject matter), process (skills used) and product (output of the learning) from other classes.


Highlights of Travis Ranch’s program:

  • GATE and high achieving students take honors Language Arts and Math classes together in homogenous groupings.
  • GATE and honors students are clustered in the same classes as their grade level peers for both Science and Social Studies (heterogenous groupings).
  • In both settings, students are offered differentiated instruction, an adapting of the curriculum to meet the unique needs of learners by making modifications in complexity, depth and pacing.
  • As middle schoolers, 6th graders benefit from daily PE and elective (i.e. band, choir, STEM, art)


Program of Study

Students in our honors and GATE programs take take four core content area classes, electives and PE daily.

Core classes:

  • Language Arts Honors (2 periods in 6th grade, 1 in 7th and 8th)
  • Math* (accelerated 6th, 7th, Algebra I and Geometry are offered)
  • Social Studies Honors
  • Science Honors


Click here for our GATE/Honors Program brochure (to come).


Students in Honors English Language Arts will develop, enhance, and apply written and verbal

communication skills based on their varied strengths and talents to meet or exceed Common Core State Standards for transition into higher level education.  Through advanced or accelerated pacing, Honor students will:

  • Read and comprehend text with focus on GATE depth and complexity; analyzing the variety of genres to include literary performances and presentations
  • Practice creative exploration and attention to detail through inquiry-based research projects evaluating credibility of sources
  • Develop teamwork, collaboration, and leadership skills using creative problem solving methods and tools to include Socratic Seminar
  • Emphasize critical thinking in both speaking and listening by utilizing “Think Like a Disciplinarian” discussions, debates, and film reenactments
  • Provide awareness opportunities for career options: creating resumes and writing business letters, Mock Trial and job interview
  • Provide awareness opportunities for college options i.e. Writing Contest presented by Chapman University
  • Sponsor membership to National Junior Honor Society, NJHS


Math placement is determined after reviewing a number of criteria, including state test scores, district placement tests, fluency tests and grades.  Instruction focuses on students exploring mathematics through critical and creative thinking to develop a deeper understanding of the subject. Courses Include:  Accelerated Math 6/7, Accelerated Math 7-8 Accelerated, Algebra I and Geometry.



Students will become historical and global thinkers, critical readers and writers. Students will be able to communicate connections between historical content and modern day application.  This occurs through:

  • participating in historical simulations
  • analyzing primary and secondary sources while incorporating reliable historical evidence into writing
  • utilizing GATE Depth and Complexity icons as lenses through which to access content
  • creating self selected products to demonstrate learning of historical content
  • acquiring and practicing skills necessary for success in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes including Close Reading, outlining, Socratic Seminar, DBQ analysis and writing



Students in Honors Science classes will be challenged to master the content in order to prepare them for high school Honors, AP, and IB Science classes. Through a spiraling, inquiry-based program of study, students will demonstrate scientific literacy and use of 21st century skills in the fields of Earth, Life, and Physical Sciences. The subject matter is delivered through hands-on experimentation in which students design experiments, in addition to performing them. Students will engage in scientific argumentation as they argue using evidence, active inquiries, investigations and hands-on activities to develop conceptual understanding and research laboratory skills.