Seminar Program

For information on our Seminar Foundation please click on the link below.

My Child Was Just Identified as Seminar - What Do I Do Now?

You just received a letter that your child tested at the Seminar level on the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Gifted and Talented (GATE) test. What does that mean? It means that you have a child that may learn differently or have a high apptitude for learning. But, you probably already knew that.

All 2nd graders in the SDUSD are given a test called the COGAT to determine their cognitive abilities. Some children take the test again in 5th grade or in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grades if they are new to the district.
What does the SDUSD do with Seminar children?
You can read about the district GATE program, including the Seminar program, here:

Read the materials that the SDUSD sent you with your notification letter and the materials on the district website.Talk to your children about their current experience in school and how they feel about possibly changing schools. After talking to your child, consider talking to the seminar teachers at SDUSD schools and other seminar parents.

Research the Seminar programs in the SDUSD. You may want to visit schools in your neighborhood, schools in nearby neighborhoods, or schools that you have discovered have strong Seminar programs. Currently, you can enroll in your area/cluster/closest geographical seminar program without having to go through the CHOICE process, by submitting the Seminar Intent to Enroll form. You can't really know a school until you walk on campus, talk to teachers, and observe classrooms. A good Seminar program welcomes visits from prospective parents. Hawthorne currently hosts multiple Open House Days a year in order to highlight and engage outside parties in learning about our program. Any non-Madison, Clairemont High School or certain schools within the Kearny or Serra High School areas (those for which Hawthorne is the geogrpahically closest program) Seminar students must use the CHOICE program to attend Hawthorne.

A few additional items to think about

Your child may be twice-exceptional. These children have a learning disability (such as dyslexia) and are identified as Gifted (either Gifted Cluster or Seminar). Twice-exceptional children are often on an IEP and in a GATE program. They have special abilities and needs that should be addressed. When visiting schools, ask them how they serve the needs of twice-exceptional children.

A big field of study in the Gifted community revolves around supporting the emotional needs of the Gifted (SENG). Visit the SENG website for more information about parenting Gifted children, motivating Gifted children, managing perfectionism in Gifted children, helping introverted Gifted children, and helping Gifted children with peer socialization.

Big Question Do I pull my child from their current classroom and put them in a Seminar class in their current school or even move them to a Seminar class in a different school?

Only you can decide what is best for your child and your family. Many Seminar children thrive in a Seminar classroom where the other children have similar interests and the teacher moves at a faster pace. Boredom is a typical problem for Seminar children in regular classrooms - being part of an active classroom with a teacher that understands the learning styles of Seminar children can alleviate the boredom issue. Seminar children also sometimes feel like they are very different from other children. In a supportive and vibrant Seminar class, these children can be free to be themselves. For some families, moving a child to a different school to be in a Seminar classroom can be a hardship. Transportation may be an issue or it may be too difficult to have siblings attending different schools on different time schedules.If this is the case, first look at your neighborhood Seminar school. In every high school cluster, there is a middle school and an elementary school with a Seminar program. You may not have a Seminar program at the school closest to you, but there is probably one nearby. Focus on that school and talk to the Seminar teachers there.

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