Higher entrance standards and a broader range of goals are spelled out in a new policy for the Torrance Unified School District's program for gifted students that has been adopted by trustees.
To participate in the district's Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) courses, students in the third through 12th grades generally will have to be in the 98th percentile on intelligence tests, up from the 96th percentile used in the past.
District spokesman Paul Barstow said other indicators will continue to be used, such as grade levels in various subjects, teacher evaluations and information from parents on their children's abilities and needs.
Goals incorporated in the policy, Barstow said, include tailoring of instruction to the specific talents of the students and helping them develop "greater sensitivity and a sense of responsibility to others, a stronger commitment to constructive ethical standards and realistic and healthy self-images."
Higher standards will tend to reduce the number of GATE students in the 19,200-student district, Barstow said, and help bring costs closer to funding allocations from the state. He said about 2,000 students, or 10% of the student population, are currently participating, and that number should fall to about 1,500, or 6% to 8%, in future years.
The district will receive $108,000 from the state and contribute another $60,000 from general funds this year, down from a high of around $225,000 in district money several years ago, Barstow said.