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Los Angeles Unified School District GATE Program

What is the LAUSD Gifted and Talented Program?

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Gifted and Talented Program offers educational environments for students who show signs of giftedness or continue to excel intellectually, emotionally, and socially in school. The two school-based based programs are the SAS (School for Advanced Studies) program and the Gifted/High Ability or Highly Gifted Magnet programs.

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What is the Difference Between The Magnet Programs and SAS Program?

Both programs offer a level of academic rigor not found in your standard classroom can be “schools-within-schools,” sharing the same premises as standard classrooms. Magnet programs are court-ordered, racially diverse and balanced, schools created in the 70’s to desegregate LA schools. There are standard magnet schools, gifted/high ability magnet schools, and highly gifted magnet schools. Magnet programs are often centered on a certain theme – science, math, performing arts, technology, etc.

The SAS programs are designed primarily for resident students who are already enrolled in the school. Resident students can be nominated for the SAS program by their teachers; students wishing to apply for SAS programs but not already attending the school may apply for entry.

GATE is a program children can qualify for if they pass their OLSAT test with a high enough score in 2nd grade. The SAS is a special program available by referral which is usually comprised of academic history and the results of an Intelligence Scales test. A student can move into and out of SAS Classrooms, or stay in an SAS classroom, but not participate in the SAS program for short periods of time. This is a voluntary program.

Here are a few key similarities and differences between the two programs:

SASGATE (Gifted and Highly Gifted)
Admissions RequirementsNominated by teachers based upon high academic performance,(Qualified Students OUTSIDE of the school’s district
can apply)
Students must be qualified via a LAUSD psychologist’s assessment,
ability in four academic areas, or have national percentile scores on
standardized tests (See below for details),Highly Gifted Magnet Centers require a score of 99.9%
on an intellectual test)
Classroom FormatSAS students are grouped by high ability (regardless of test
scores).,Note: Just because a child is in a SAS class does not
mean that the child is identified as SAS. Common that these classes are mixed
Classroom exclusively caters to those who are designated gifted
and talented.,Children of similar academic ability are grouped
Application WindowOctober thru MarchEarly October thru Early November
Additional eligibility CriteriaFactors such as class size, student eligibility, and ability is
specific to the academic site.,Students who meet eligibility criteria and who live within
LAUSD boundaries can apply for the SAS permit.
The magnet school is founded upon a diverse population of
students. Certain percentage of student ethnicities are represented in each
school.,Unlike SAS schools, children are enrolled in Magnet
schools based upon their interest in the school’s theme.

How do Students Qualify for the SAS or Magnet GATE Programs?

Both SAS (for outside residents) and the Gifted Magnet programs refer to qualified students, who may apply to the programs. According to the LAUSD, students meeting one of these standards are qualified:

  • Be identified as gifted by a LAUSD psychologist in the Intellectual, High Achievement, or Specific Academic Ability categories.
    • Specific academic ability category
    • High achievement category
    • Creative ability category
    • Visual arts ability category
    • Performing arts ability category
    • Leadership ability category
  • Demonstrated ability in all four critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in their primary language.
    • Explain meanings or relationships among facts, information, or concepts that demonstrate depth and complexity.
    • Formulate new ideas or solutions and elaborate on the information.
    • Use alternative methods in approaching new or unfamiliar mathematical problems.
    • Use extensive vocabulary easily and accurately to express creative ideas.
  • Have national percentile scores of 85 or above in both total reading and total mathematics on District-approved standardized norm-referenced tests.
    • Most current OLSAT-8 scores in:
  • APR total or
  • APR Verbal and APR Non-Verbal OR
  • Meeting the achievement level scale score range for “Standards Exceeded” on most current Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test in:
    • English Language Arts/Literacy and
    • Mathematics OR
  • Most current scores on a District-approved standardized achievement test in:
    • Total Reading or ELA and Total Math OR
    • Reading Composite and Math Composite OR
    • Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning
    • Admission to Highly Gifted Magnet Centers require a verification of a score of 99.9% on an intellectual test administered by a school district. However, if seats are available, students with a score of 99.5% or above will be accepted.
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4 Responses


What ages are typically accepted for SAS schools?

My Son got 96% in Olsat in second Grade in LAUSD

What should I do now, how can I get him tested for highly gifted ?

Please check with your School District to find out the appeals process. This will vary based on the reason for the retest.


I will be going to middle school soon and I am confused on which program to pick. For now, I am going with SAS.

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