The students are taught the grade-level content with one exception, but at an accelerated level that allows teachers to go deeper in the subject and touch on more complex ideas. The students are also put in core classes with only other GATE students.
"When you have students with such a high intellect," they are able to delve into subjects to analyze them on a higher level, said Mesa View Principal Leona Olson.
Mesa View's math program is the class where students have the opportunity to work at a higher grade level. Sixth-grade students skip their grade-level course and are taught seventh-grade math, said Lorie Kooken, a GATE math and science teacher. By the time students move on to high school, they are ready for Algebra 2 trigonometry, a class normally taken by sophomores or juniors, Olson said.
When Olson took the helm of Mesa View seven years ago, she said she didn't really understand why the program was needed, but now she sees how the accelerated classes are necessary to challenge advanced students and keep them engaged.
The program is traditionally for students in fourth through eighth grade, but next year it will be expanded to third grade, said Circle View Principal Kathleen Jaquin.
"We know that we have a lot of students that have a lot of diverse and unique needs, and those kind of surface in third grade," she said.
Entrance to the program is based on the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, or a combination of that test and state test scores and teacher recommendations.
Teachers are asked to look out for students who display unusually advanced vocabulary and logical reasoning, are eager for new projects and challenges, question information, are insightful and learn quickly, Jaquin said.
"I really believe that the program is beneficial for those students because they learn in a different way," Jaquin said.
Students throughout the district can be involved in the program, and those accepted are invited to transfer to the district's two magnet schools.
Students who don't make it into the program their first year can retake the OLSAT test every year.