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Gateway Program

Gateway immerses students in an intellectually challenging community that encourages academic risk-taking to develop student’s academic potential and supports their social and emotional needs as learners. 

The Gateway program serves students in an all-advanced learner environment using curriculum with increased depth, complexity and pacing as the primary lens for designing instruction. 

The Gateway Program serves highly advanced learners in grades 3-5. It is a level four service at Valley Crossing Elementary School.

About the Gateway Program


Ben Lacina

Benjamin Lacina
Talent Development and Advanced Academics Coordinator

Placement Determinations

Students are placed into the Gateway program as space allows.  The program currently hosts one grade 3 classroom, two grade 4 classrooms and two grade 5 classrooms.

After families submit an interest form by the deadline, students are placed in four tiers based on the following data:

  • Achievement data in math and reading based on MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) from the current school year. 

  • Ability data based on CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Assessment) areas of verbal, quantitative, nonverbal or composite total.

  • Teacher rating scale of advanced learner behaviors.

Students are placed in the Gateway Program first starting in Tier 1, then moving to Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 as space allows in the Gateway classrooms. Within each Tier, students who meet all of the criteria will be placed first, 3 criteria will be placed second.  

Please know that most identified advanced learners receive their advanced academic services through the cluster classroom at their current school, not the Gateway Program. 

Gateway Placement Timeline

Gateway Timeline

Families who are interested in learning more about the Gateway program at VCES may join us at the school for an information night from 5-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1. Families do not need to attend the Interest Night to submit an Interest Form.

The deadline to submit an interest form for the 2024-25 school year is:

  • Grade 2: 11:59 PM Friday, Feb. 9, 2024
  • Grade 3-4: 11:50 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 

Families will be notified of their child's 2024-25 placement by early March.

Gateway Program Questions and Answers

Gateway Program Interest Form

Gateway Interest Form

The deadline to submit an interest form for the 2024-25 school year is:

  • Grade 2: 11:59 PM Friday, Feb. 9, 2024
  • Grade 3-4: 11:50 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 

Submission of the Gateway Interest Form does not guarantee placement in the program. Families will be notified of their child’s placement by early March.

This form is not currently accepting submissions.

Levels of Service 

Talent Development and Advanced Academics services are provided at all SoWashCo elementary and middle schools through the Levels of Service approach (Treffinger, 1998).

These levels are based on the individual programming model developed by Dr. Donald Treffinger of the Center for Creative Learning, Inc. in Sarasota, Florida.

Levels of Service Programming is:

  • Flexible: Programming includes many different people, places, and kinds of activities. It does not follow one formula, single curriculum, or set program of activities or services.
  • Inclusive: Programming that is appropriate, challenging, and developmental can be available to anyone. Programming includes a broad range of talents and does not serve just one fixed group of students.
  • Responsive: Programming responds to the positive needs of students. It guides planning and decision making and leads to modifications of instruction. The mission of programming is to design and deliver instruction through which we can bring out the best in every student.
  • Proactive: Programming challenges the teacher, school, district, parents, and community to take constructive actions for talent development. Taking initiative for talent development becomes everyone's business.
  • Unifying: Programming provides a structure and terminology for communicating effectively about talent development within and among home, school, and community.

Teachers do not assume that students who have a great deal of potential in one area have a high level of potential in all areas. Sometimes, students with high potential for math may not have high reading ability and vice versa. High ability in one area does not equate with high ability in other areas. LoS provides a framework for planning, delivering, and managing a wide range of responses to the needs of students. (Selby & Young, 2001)

Edwin C Selby, & Grover C Young. (2003, October). The Levels of Service approach to talent development: Parallels with existing programs. Gifted Child Today, 26(4), 44-50,65.