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GATE Seminar Program

Students who meet the multi-criterion standards are identified as a GATE Seminar student. This includes a score in the ability range greater or equal to three standard deviations above the mean, high academic achievement, and characteristics of Gifted students.


Seminar students can be atypical learners who may require programs significantly differentiated from the more typical GATE Cluster programs. These classes support students in developing their exceptional potential. The Seminar program is intended to serve varied students who need extraordinarily high-level, advanced and challenging curricular activities; those with extremely high tested ability but low school achievement; or those students who are pergent thinkers and "march to a different drummer."

The Seminar program is intended to serve varied profiles as presented by students who need extraordinarily high-level, advanced, and challenging curricular activities; those with extremely high tested ability but low school achievement; and those students who are pergent thinkers and "march to a different drummer." Because these students represent a heterogeneous group with a wider range of abilities than those represented in the GATE Cluster class population, the learning program must be designed for and adapted to inpidual differences.

Just as GATE Cluster curriculum and instruction is differentiated from the core curricular or Advanced Placement offerings, the Seminar curriculum and instruction must be differentiated from that of the GATE Cluster in content, process, product, and learning environment. The content must be differentiated in levels of abstraction, depth, and complexity, focusing to an even greater degree on generalizations and essential questions. A larger percentage of classroom processes and interactions revolve around interplay and exchange of ideas, with students defending their thinking and looking at their own and others' thinking critically. Students spend more time in pursuit of their own passions and interests with greater emphasis on independent study and long-term projects.

Learning and intellectual exploration are accomplished in an environment purposefully designed by teachers knowledgeable about psycho-social as well as intellectual development of students who, because of their uneven development may be many ages simultaneously. Students are made to feel they "fit," are safe to express their ideas without stigma, and encounter no ceilings to limit their reach. At the same time, students must acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in a manner and a pace which support their inquiry and investigation. These may be quite different for each inpidual.

Q: My child was placed in a seminar class in 4th grade. Will they automatically be placed in seminar at Dana for 5th grade?

A: All seminar-identified students are placed in GATE Seminar classes at Dana Middle. In the event the number of seminar-identified students does not match the funded class size, the Dana Master Schedule team will select non-Seminar identified students for placement in classes based upon the following criteria:

  • Students are ranked and selected based upon their Raven Score

  • In the event a tie breaker is required, we will review the student's most recent English SBAC scores
  • In the event an additional tie breaker is required, we will review the student's most recent SBAC Math scores

The ELA score receives a higher weighting than the Math score because our district defines Seminar as a Humanities-based program.
A non-Seminar identified student's placement in Seminar class is evaluated every year. Placement in prior years does not guarantee future placement in seminar classes.

Seminar Social Studies Program


Emphasis

"Bringing History Alive" through creative and artistic process allowing students to internalize and deepen their engagement while being encouraged to take intellectual and emotional risks.


Opportunities for Personal Growth through Choice

  • Our program consistently uses discussions, projects, simulations, and guided research as a basis for studying history.

  • Our program teaches students how to write an analytical essay with a thesis statement using evidence and sources to support their claims.

  • Our program fosters in students the ability to self-evaluate, to take self-initiated action, and to believe in themselves as capable of intelligent choice, independent learning, and problem solving.

  • Our program incorporates technology into assignments and projects which enhances students' skills in developing written texts.

  • Our program assists students to learn a variety of ways to organize and present findings and information in an interesting manner, both in written form and in oral talks and presentations.


Dan Conaway (5th grade)
dconaway@sandi.net


Kelly Kocar (6th grade)

kkocar@sandi.net


Keryn Kober (6th grade)

kkober@sandi.net


Seminar Language Arts Program


Emphasis

Our seminar language arts program strives to intellectually stimulate students through creative and enriched learning experiences that enhance and deepen engagement. Depth, complexity, and novelty are emphasized through strategies that allow for intellectual and emotional risk-taking. Dana's challenging seminar curriculum motivates students to reach their maximum potential through active participation and reflection.


Opportunities for Personal Growth through Choice

  • Rigorous curriculum and inquiry-based methodology provide a pedagogically sound framework for intellectual and social development of exceptional children.

  • Optimal teacher-to-student interaction serves to nurture seminar students through their formative years in education.

  • Through reading, writing, listening, speaking, and thinking, as well as through individual and small-group instruction, students enrolled in seminar language arts make ample gains toward becoming masters of language and literature.

  • Dana's seminar language arts program places a premium on independent thinking coupled with ongoing reflection on the learning process through metacognition.

  • Attention and extra care are exercised to create strong interpersonal relationships in the classroom. Dana's seminar program addresses the affective as well as the academic domains of learning.

  • A larger percentage of classroom processes and interactions revolve around interplay and exchange of ideas, with students defending their thinking and looking at their own and others' thinking critically. Students spend more time in pursuit of their own passions and interests with greater emphasis on independent study and long-term projects.


Scott Schwerdtfeger (5th grade)

sschwerdtfeger@sandi.net


Kelly Kocar (6th grade)

kkocar@sandi.net


Keryn Kober (6th grade)

kkober@sandi.net

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