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How Can My Child Apply for the LAUSD GATE Program?

How Can My Child Apply for the LAUSD GATE Program?

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - December 13th, 2017

For this new five-part series, we welcome Testing Mom parent-expert, Sonia Reiter, who is sharing her personal story of both applying and testing in the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School Districtschool for advanced studies. Parents, who are interested in readying their child to apply to the LAUSD SAS (school for advanced studies) or GATE programs (gifted and talented education), should follow these proven methods for approaching the testing and admissions process.

For more information on the LAUSD GATE Programs see:

LAUSD Gifted Magnets vs. SAS Programs – My Family’s Journey

I am a product of LAUSD. I was in the honors program throughout junior high and high school. I got mostly As and few Bs. I thought I was an excellent student. When I was accepted to CSU, Northridge, I took a placement exam. Imagine the pain in my gut when I scored below the threshold and had to take pre-college English and math as a freshman. I felt like my As and Bs were lies. I did everything asked of me and it wasn’t good enough. I was actually mad at my teachers for lying to me by giving me great grades on mediocre work. The thing is, I could have done better. I had the ability to meet whatever standard was set. I could have done better if I knew how.

How to Advocate for Your Child

Since my first child turned two, I’ve been on a personal quest to learn how to gain access to the best programs LAUSD had to offer. I knew then that he was exceptional and the neighborhood school simply wouldn’t do. I have since met many mothers of gifted children that don’t know where to turn when their child begins to lose that spark and settles into the lower expectations of the school they attend. There are options! “Good schools” are excellent for average children – even some above average children, but if your child is an outlier, you may find that your “good school” can’t help your child – that is, they can’t meet your child’s needs. Gifted education is as serious as special education, and in either case, when your child’s needs aren’t being met, you, the parent, need to advocate, research, and get your kid to a better school, whatever that means for you.

What are the Best Programs?

So I dug through LAUSD’s websites,, and finally I found the Holy Grail, The path I took was to apply to both magnets through eChoices and charter schools through SAS permits for kindergarten and see where he was accepted. He was accepted to a charter school on an SAS permit. He was later accepted to a gifted magnet for the second grade. My daughter was accepted to the same charter school when she started kindergarten and was accepted into the gifted magnet for the first grade. Having had the experience of both a charter and a magnet, I can explain the differences between a school for advanced studies (SAS) and gifted magnet and why I prefer the gifted magnet. Best of all, I can share the one big secret on how to get accepted to the magnet of your choice.

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll start on this journey by talking about qualifying.

LAUSD GATE Program Blog Series:

How Can My Child Qualify for the LAUSD GATE Program?

What’s the Difference Between SAS and GATE Designations?

How to Prepare for LAUSD GATE Testing

GATE Magnet Point System

Sonia Reiter is a parent-expert on LAUSD GATE and SAS programs. She guides parents who, like her, seek the best education programs LAUSD has to offer. For more information, contact Sonia at

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