Gate Coordinator Job Description

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gate-2Editor’s note: A reader requested we post a description of the duties of the GATE coordinator.  This is verbatim from the job description.  On June 18, the DJUSD Board of Education voted 3-2 not to renew GATE Corrdinator Deanne Quinn’s Variable Service Agreed (VSA).

GATE COORDINATOR, Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA): All teachers on special assignment positions remain in the Davis Teacher’s Union and report directly to their site principals. The position does not include any supervisory responsibilities.

Qualifications: A clear California credential that authorizes service.  Knowledge of GATE Program Standards.  Understanding of the instructional, social and emotional development needs of GATE students and effective strategies to address those needs. Knowledge of core curriculum grades K-6 and honors and Advanced Placement course content grades 7-12.  Staff development skills.  At least 5 years of successful classroom teaching experience.

Work Year: 194 Days. On teacher salary, plus extra 10 days at daily rate of pay.

Responsibilities: Under the direction and supervision of the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services & Elementary Education: Plans, implements, and evaluates the program for Gifted and Talented Education in accordance with the California Standards for Gifted and Talented Education. Works closely with site GATE facilitators and principals in providing in-service training for classroom teachers that addresses site needs and comply with the requirements of the GATE grant application. Technology skills to access student information in Aeries and to use Excel and Word. Develop and present staff development, focused on identification of GATE students and differentiated instruction. Maintain GATE program and student records. Complete mandatory GATE State reports. Develop GATE Program application. Coordinate identification and testing of potential GATE students. Coordinate support services for GATE students, including working with teachers and counselors to identify at-risk GATE students and making appropriate referrals. Arrange and facilitate GATE Advisory Committee meetings and respond to parent concerns. Perform other related duties as assigned.

Ability To: Work cooperatively and effectively with teachers and families. Work independently.  Work collaboratively with district staff and community members.  Produce a variety of written materials (i.e. brochure, semi-annual progress reports).  Evidence of successful leadership ability.  Understand the importance of confidentiality issues relating to students/families. Communicate effectively. Be flexible in hours (will require attendance at some meetings outside of normal school hours). Support/enhance efforts across many school sites.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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20 thoughts on “Gate Coordinator Job Description”

  1. MrsW

    DP- I asked for it.  I wanted you to see that what Ms. Quinn is responsible for and has the authority to perform is a very focused list.  With the budget cuts and the reduction to 40% time, her job description became her strengths.  There are a number of items on the above list that are not performed because they are not Ms. Quinn’s strengths and/or they are not funded.

  2. MrsW

    This is hard for me to answer. IMO, when Ms Quinn’s employment is considered synonymous with the Program, we miss the most important topics in the conversation.

    The community has been divided about the GATE/AIM program for decades and has yet to have a leader who can translate the program to the non-GATE/AIM community and garner their support.  IMO, the leader would be the AIM coordinator.  This leader who I am looking for, would “Work cooperatively and effectively with teachers and families.” and “Work collaboratively with district staff and community members. ” Given how DJUSD is organized, this leader would need to motivate principals, teachers and parents outside of the program as well as inside the program to work together to retain an inclusive community, while having a self-contained program.  In addition, the leader would need to “Work closely with site GATE facilitators and principals in providing in-service training for classroom teachers that addresses site needs…”   All of these actions take time.

    Coordination could be more organic, if more AIM strands were co-located, but they are located at 4 different elementary schools and 2 different junior highs.

    I want to point out that no where in the job description is any requirement to follow up and see if the program is “working”.  For many of us, the point of a pull-out program is to increase achievement in GATE-related at-risk students, such as  graduation rates.  There is not agreement that they are even important.  Per the above description, the extent of the commitment to at-risk students is to make “appropriate referrals.”  In this budget climate, that consists of the 504 process; our family received referrals from our site councilor and conversations with the GATE coordinator were not specific.

    1. DavisAnon

      Ms Quinn and the AIM advisory committee have recommended for years that the program be at the fewest number of school sites possible – I believe it’s in the Master Plan but the district has refused to act on this. Just as it refused to push for additional differentiation in non-AIM classrooms despite many years of this recommendation in the Master Plan. Why is the coordinator blamed for the administration’s refusal to act on these recommendations??

      I do know that the coordinator and committee have repeatedly reached out to those opposed to AIM in hopes of finding common ground. It is difficult to achieve compromise with individuals for whom nothing less than total elimination of the program is acceptable. Nonetheless, I don’t think the Montessori or Spanish Immersion principals are charged with the responsibility of making their program palatable to those who would like to see it destroyed.

      I will be curious to see how the district finds someone of equal or better qualifications, track record and experience than Ms Quinn. They are far and few between, but DJUSD owes us this much after the havoc they have wrought thus far.

      1. wdf1

        DA:  Ms Quinn and the AIM advisory committee have recommended for years that the program be at the fewest number of school sites possible…

        I had seen an idea floated around that a self-contained AIM strand should be started at Montgomery Elementary in order to make the program more accessible to AIM-identified students from Spanish-speaking and lower income families who live in that part of the city (source, see end of article).  I take it, then, that Quinn probably did not approve of that strategy, given the above statement?

      2. wdf1

        DavisAnon: Just as it refused to push for additional differentiation in non-AIM classrooms despite many years of this recommendation in the Master Plan. Why is the coordinator blamed for the administration’s refusal to act on these recommendations??

        This is an interesting comment to hear.  Inspired by this comment, I went to search for the AIM/GATE Master Plan, in this case the plan in effect through 2013.  I couldn’t find a more recent version.  A glance through the document reveals multiple references and recommendations to developing differentiated instruction to serve AIM students, but also to be available in regular classrooms.

        The Vanguard filed a Brown Act complaint about the June 4 meeting because differentiated instruction wasn’t referenced in the agenda for that meeting.  But the specific agenda item that Lovenburg proposed a motion on was in reference to the AIM Master Plan.  Her motion seemed to be advancing a proposal of the AIM Master Plan, directing district staff to come back and present a plan for differentiated instruction in all classrooms.

        This seems to make the Vanguard’s Brown Act complaint more dubious.

        1. DavisAnon

          The idea of differentiated curriculum in the neighborhood classrooms is not new but the degree to which it actually happens and how successful it is varies widely from class to class. The concept of  hugely limiting the number of students eligible for the self-contained AIM classroom and requiring they stay in the neighborhood classroom as the way AIM education is delivered in our town is entirely new and totally blindsided AIM families and teachers. There is much educational research that suggests the differentiation-only model is not the best practice and is insufficient for meeting the needs of many of these students, even when ‘optimally implemented’ as Lovenburg stated in her motion. I do feel this was a Browm Act violation, certainly in spirit, if not by the legal definition.

        2. wdf1

          DavisAnon:  There is much educational research that suggests the differentiation-only model is not the best practice and is insufficient for meeting the needs of many of these students,

          I have only superficially seen some of this literature, and I think your statement partially depends on which outcomes you value.  Most quantitative assessments measure for cognitive outcomes.  But there can be non-cognitive skills and outcomes that maybe valued (and less able to be quantified) by certain parents.  I did not understand that Lovenburg’s motion anticipated a differentiation-only model, but rather both self-contained and differentiated instruction options.

           

  3. iWitness

    1)  As I understand it, the GATE standards for GRANTS referred to in the job description for Ms. Quinn’s job or former job ARE NO LONGER IN EFFECT because now thanks to the Guvner we get our State money in one pot for everyone to fight over and AIM was the first program to lose out.  David, am I right or not?

    2)  Ms Quinn and the AIM advisory committee have recommended for years that the program be at the fewest number of school sites possible 

    No, wdf1.  This refers to the wish of many AIM teachers and the AIM AC for a magnet site with all four strands, not divided among four sites.   South Davis is quickly becoming only one of many neighborhoods with lower income and/or Spanish-speaking families.

    3)Others — Ms. Quinn works from home on the days she’s not here.  She comes in to deal with family crises and other counseling issues as needed.   That’s how.  A counselor with some time for AIM kids was where AIM parents were hoping the District was going with the extra funds we recently found in various pockets.  Got cable?  Keep up.

    It’s very likely Ms. Quinn never had the opportunity to approve or disapprove of the Montgomery “strategy.”  Approval is way beyond her pay grade.  We can’t first criticize her as the Board seems to do for admitting too many at-risk students that make AIM so diverse (though they have tested in, after all) and then blame her for not approving of a “strategy.”  She responded to the former Board and community comments like this one and to her own sense of  justice that the program was not diverse enough for reality in Davis and since there was NO money for other testing, she found a good test that could be done inexpensively that was appropriate for testing the at-risk.  We don’t see many of them failing to thrive.

    Some Chavez parents say they want an AIM strand there but the administration is not interested.  Perhaps that would just be too much for that campus, given all they do already and their size.  AIM is not welcome at all sites and that may be why there is not a strand in those schools.  I know one administrator of a non-AIM site doesn’t like AIM but whose child did great in the program.   Not an anomaly.  Talk about school climate after you look at those entire school communities, before you blame Ms. Quinn for it.  Or AIM children or their parents.

     

    1. wdf1

      iWitness:  1)  As I understand it, the GATE standards for GRANTS referred to in the job description for Ms. Quinn’s job or former job ARE NO LONGER IN EFFECT because now thanks to the Guvner we get our State money in one pot for everyone to fight over and AIM was the first program to lose out.  David, am I right or not?

      That would be Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control Action Plan (LCAP).  The Vanguard has only very minimally covered this topic.

    2. wdf1

      iWitness:   This refers to the wish of many AIM teachers and the AIM AC for a magnet site with all four strands, not divided among four sites.

      I see that as an idea that would generate even more volatility and intensity than currently exists with respect to AIM, because it would supplant a currently existing school site/program.  That idea was proposed back in November of 2007, with Holmes being suggested as one site for all GATE strands then.

      Notably, school board member Keltie Jones at the time said, “I would never put my GATE-identified child at a GATE-only school,” Jones said. “This is a ridiculous proposal; I’m stunned that it’s being proposed.”

      1. iWitness

        I didn’t say it was my idea.  I was there, though.  The AIM AC is hardly a monolith.  Neither is the School Board, normally.

        Since GATE never existed with more than two strands at one school, and that pretty successfully, if briefly, I don’t know what Keltie based those comments on.   Other parents might feel differently.  Hypotheticals don’t advance anything in this discussion.  Yes, too bad about the site issue.  Some really bad planning went into the early siting of our elementary schools.  On the other hand, school climate everywhere else would undoubtedly improve, according to AIM’s critics.

        I am afraid that not understanding the context, you used the statement by DavisAnon other than it was meant, with the result that without realizing it, you attacked the reputation of someone who has done as much as she could for parity of gifted students’ access to the program.  This may be the time to look at that school community in its entirety as I suggested above.  I thought I was very clear on that point, sorry.  It’s kind of late even for me.

        I wish the Vanguard would cover LCAP more.  Right now I am under the impression that AIM was the only program shafted, but surely I am wrong.

         

        1. wdf1

          iWitness:  I am afraid that not understanding the context, you used the statement by DavisAnon other than it was meant, with the result that without realizing it, you attacked the reputation of someone who has done as much as she could for parity of gifted students’ access to the program.

          I think your characterization (that I am attacking the reputation of Quinn) is off.  I’m sure she means well and has done good work.  I’m trying to understand the context for how the idea of a GATE magnet school was being discussed in recent years.  I was surprised to see DavisAnon bring it up, as I had thought it to be an old idea that had been shelved.  It made me think that this is an idea that had recently resurfaced.  If so, I’m interested in hearing more about it.

          This article below suggests that it was an idea that she (Quinn) was carrying at the time, perhaps in representing the will of the Advisory Committee.

          Jeff Hudson, Davis Enterprise, 27 November 2007, in a rare story reporting on a GATE Advisory Committee meeting:

          The idea of creating an all-GATE campus is emerging because of the impending closure of Valley Oak Elementary in June. That closure is prompting a discussion on where to put those GATE students, in addition to a revision of elementary school attendance boundaries.

          Even if Valley Oak reopens as a charter school in August — an issue being considered separately by the school board — it appears likely that the two GATE strands at Valley Oak will move.

          “Since so many options will be discussed around school boundaries and enrollment, it seems an appropriate time to pursue a proposal that can reduce much of the community tension around student placement as well as provide a way to rethink and deliver GATE services with less cost,” wrote Deanne Quinn, coordinator of the district’s Gifted and Talented Education program.

          “According to some teachers, administrators and parents, there is (currently) strife between regular programs and GATE programs sharing a site,” Quinn wrote. “In addition, teachers are sometimes assigned to GATE classes and are unwilling or unable to pursue additional training.”

          Quinn noted that as the GATE program has expanded in recent years to include self-contained classes at Pioneer Elementary and Harper Junior High, “support services from the GATE coordinator and psychologist are stretched thin, collaboration amongst teachers occurs outside the school day and only among the willing and able, and parent participation in activities and support of the program is isolated and less robust.”

          Quinn is asking parents and teachers to consider Holmes Junior High School for redesignation as a fourth- through ninth-grade magnet school that would house all self-contained GATE classes as well as the GATE lending library, the GATE coordinator, the GATE secretary and the GATE psychologist.

          Quinn acknowledged that “while this proposal may seem radical at first, involved parents and community members, so far, have seen it as an innovative way to resolve issues for the GATE program as well as many other challenges impacting the district with the closure of Valley Oak.”

          The idea met a mixed reception at Monday’s meeting. Several parents enthusiastically embraced the idea of bringing the GATE program together on one campus, with greater opportunities for synergy between teachers, parents and students.

          A school board meeting occurred later that week, and this was the story on it.

          Jeff Hudson, Davis Enterprise, 28 November 2007:

          The trustees got an earful of advice from parents. There also was sharp criticism of a pending proposal by the district’s GATE Advisory Committee for a GATE magnet school at Holmes Junior High in East Davis.

          ….

          Outgoing trustee Keltie Jones likewise noted that she’ll be off the board when a vote is taken on the attendance boundaries in January. But Jones took the opportunity to remark on the GATE Advisory Committee’s discussion of a proposal to convert Holmes Junior High into a GATE magnet school, serving grades 4-9.

          Jones said she was “deeply disappointed” when she read about the proposal Tuesday in The Enterprise. She described the idea as “ill-timed and poorly thought-out…. There are so many levels of impact and cost, and factors that have to be considered to close a junior high.”

          Jones also described an all-GATE school as “the worst possible environment” in educational terms.”I would never put my GATE-identified child at a GATE-only school,” Jones said. “This is a ridiculous proposal; I’m stunned that it’s being proposed.”

          Valley Oak parent Jocelyn Sharlet also touched on the topic, saying, “I hope you’ll be keeping Holmes Junior High. My neighborhood has already borne the brunt (of a school closure). It’s unfair to make the neighborhood bear another problem.”

          Diane Archer, a parent at North Davis Elementary, said, “We need to honor neighborhood schools rather than special programs.” Archer said the children in her neighborhood “go to Holmes in 10 minutes on safe routes,” but would need “20 minutes on unsafe routes” to reach Emerson Junior High.

          Elaine Talley, who has children at North Davis Elementary and Holmes Junior High, said she is “completely opposed to closing Holmes as a neighborhood junior high,” and converting the school to a GATE magnet campus. Talley said she likes the idea of offering self-contained GATE classes at Emerson Junior High as a means of equalizing enrollment at the three junior high schools.

          “It doesn’t make environmental or cultural sense to have so many (Emerson) kids driving across town” to attend Holmes, Talley said.

          But Robin Wiener, who said she’s raised two GATE students, worried that the district will “end up with too many kids with GATE strands in too many places,” diluting the program. Wiener said, “If you’re going to move a strand to Emerson” — where self-contained GATE classes have not been offered in the past — “I’d like to know where the money is going to come from to teach that strand.”

        2. wdf1

          iWitness:  Right now I am under the impression that AIM was the only program shafted, but surely I am wrong.

          Apart from Quinn not being invited to continue, why do you think the AIM program got shafted?

        3. MrsW

           

          Apart from Quinn not being invited to continue, why do you think the AIM program got shafted?

          Here are some ways I think the AIM program has been shafted over the past several years.  We lost 60% of our coordinator’s time, we lost an AIM psychologist, our children were scattered all over the district (multiple negatives, both logistical and educational), the high achievers high-jacked the program, and (consequently?) the numbers of low achievers initiating the 504 process in junior high have flooded the system, monopolizing teacher and counselor time, further hobbling our teachers’ ability to appropriately differentiate in the AIM classroom.  Meanwhile, historical program shortcomings have magnified. The leadership position is for a 40% coordinator, not a 100% Director, no one has taken responsibility to mediate the social and community impacts of having the program at a school site (a school program in a University town that solely uses IQ tests to identify participants!), and no program “effectiveness” tracking is performed.  DavisAnon’s “havoc” is the right word. Why? is the good a question.
           

      2. DavisAnon

        My understanding is that minimizing the number of school sites was believed to have several benefits. It would hopefully minimize the complaint that having  the AIM program at a neighborhood school negatively impacted climate (others’ assertion as to effect on climate – not my own). Also, having to shift schools to go to AIM would make it less convenient and lead parents to really think about whether it was needed for their child. Having more than one strand at a site would allow for mixing of students in classes from year to year, the possibility of combo (mixed grade) classes, and not knowing who your teacher would be from year to year – things that critics of the program often raise as ‘unfair’ in respect to the neighborhood classrooms. Finally, it would allow AIM  teachers additional support an d cross-pollination of curriculum. Yes, when the possibility and pros/cons of a single site magnet were discussed in AIM committee meeting (just a discussion – not a formal proposal), it was immediately blown into a huge issue in the Enterprise, so further discussion never took place.

        The AIM committee recommended placing two strands together at sites (rather than single strands) when Valley Oak was closed, but it did not happen.

        1. MrsW

          “It would hopefully minimize the complaint that having  the AIM program at a neighborhood school negatively impacted climate”

          That’s an interesting one.  It seems that the go-to solution for AIM-related conflict has been to build a wall around the AIM students, rather than creatively integrating them into the larger community and fostering a culture that appreciates differences.

          “Finally, it would allow AIM  teachers additional support an d cross-pollination of curriculum.”

          I think this was the focus of the AIM committee at the time.  The recommendation for two elementary strands at two sites was based on providing the teachers additional tools for classroom management and discipline (students can be separated, if needed, in subsequent years), differentiating curriculum, improved basic communication and support, and increasing the friendship pool for students.  In hindsight, fewer principals for the coordinator to work with, would have made sense for a reduced time employee. Communication of any vision to parents and the community might be less fragmented, as well.

    3. ryankelly

      i Witness: We can’t first criticize her as the Board seems to do for admitting too many at-risk students that make AIM so diverse…

      This is just so off-base.  Fiction, in fact.  The Board has never said anything about Quinn admitting to many at-risk students.  I think the members of the Board feel that the program is too large and are interested in improving the identification of at risk students to better serve them.

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