"The classes in the G.A.T.E. Certificate were among the best and most informative professional development classes I have ever taken,” says Leslie Huff, who is an elementary school teacher. "I am a better educator because of this program."
Huff decided to enroll in this online program because she wanted to develop the tools to identify and meet the needs of ALL of her students, including the gifted ones. “I have already created many activities that reflect the differentiation tools that we learned,” Huff says. “And I was very excited to see how relevant the lessons were to the Common Core (curriculum standards). I don't think I would be as able to adapt to the demands of the Common Core without the tools from the G.A.T.E. courses."
The most helpful thing was the emphasis on differentiation methods to adapt instructional strategies to meet the needs of all students, because students learn differently. This included examples of ways to include small group instruction. “I loved learning how to create lessons that reflect and respect individual differences in interests, learning style preferences and abilities,” she says. “I also loved the emphasis on technology and research."
Huff highly recommends the G.A.T.E. certificate to colleagues, especially if they are feeling uneasy about the switch to Common Core instructional practices. “This program doesn't just give you vague examples,” she says. “You learn actual practices and work products to begin implementing immediately and they are all relevant to Common Core Instructional practices."
Huff believes that every school should identify the top percentage of students and create a G.A.T.E. program to meet their needs. She says there are many environmental factors that negatively impact student scores and that this should be a consideration so that “every school is cultivating the best and the brightest student population.”
“I intend to use what I learned in this program to help me become a nationally certified teacher,” she says. And she’s already received one honor as a result of the program. “I shared some of the things I learned with my colleagues and they must have really liked them because they elected me Teacher of the Year!”