sas icon Schools for Advanced Studies


Gifted/talented students demonstrate evidence of high achievement in an identified area and need specialized services and support to fully develop their potential and support their academic success. Gifted/Talented Programs, Advanced Learning Options, is committed to ensuring that the unique academic and social-emotional needs of gifted/talented learners are met in every K-12 District school, including local schools of residence. Each L.A. Unified school with identified gifted learners, regardless of program type, must cluster-group gifted learners for instruction and provide meaningful differentiated learning opportunities that challenge students to achieve beyond grade-based standards and expectations.

Schools for Advanced Studies demonstration sites receive the SAS designation for their exemplary Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) implementation. The Schools for Advanced Studies designation, initially implemented in the 1998–1999 school year, was created to acknowledge exemplary school models of innovative, equitable, and effective GATE practices districtwide. By providing high-quality differentiated instruction with an emphasis on depth, complexity, acceleration and novelty, SAS sites offer high-level academic opportunities that meet the unique educational needs of K–12 gifted learners, identified in the Intellectual, High Achievement, Specific Academic, Creative and Leadership Ability categories or verified based on critical thinking/achievement. Resident schools must undergo a rigorous application process every five years to obtain or maintain SAS designation.


The goal of Gifted/Talented Programs is to identify gifted and talented students, including those from diverse racial, socioeconomic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds, and to provide high-quality differentiated opportunities for learning that develop and advance students’ unique abilities and talents.

The Schools for Advanced Studies designation reflects the District’s commitment to ensure equitable access, excellence and accountability to high-quality gifted/talented programs districtwide. SAS sites serve as District demonstration centers for innovative and research-based differentiated curriculum and instruction for gifted/high ability learners in multiple categories. Schools for Advanced Studies sites have a proven commitment and ability to offer a sustained, highly effective, exemplary Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program that includes essential GATE program components: 1) Gifted Identification, 2) Instruction and Academic Achievement of GATE Learners, 3) Knowledgeable and Skilled Staff in Gifted Education, and 4) Parent, Family, and Community Engagement.


Gifted/talented learners must be taught by knowledgeable teachers, skilled in differentiating curriculum and instruction to support and advance their learning. As such, GATE professional development – specialized training about gifted/talented learners and how they learn best – is an essential and ongoing part of the expectation for SAS teachers and administrators. Each school’s GATE program must be supported by administrators, GATE coordinator and instructional support staff with developed expertise in GATE. SAS teachers and administrators are required to participate annually in professional development specifically tailored to address the unique academic and social-emotional needs of gifted/talented learners to ensure that the curriculum and instruction (content, process, and product) are thoughtfully differentiated to promote a culture of rigor, achievement, and innovation.


  • Students residing within the school boundaries of a designated SAS site who meet the eligibility criteria must be placed in the site’s SAS gifted/talented program (unless a parent has opted out). All qualified students residing within school boundaries must be accommodated before any applicants from outside school boundaries are enrolled. No formal application is required for a qualified student residing within school boundaries since SAS is the school site’s GATE instructional program for its students.
  • All L.A. Unified students in grades PreK–12 who reside outside school boundaries and who meet one of three eligibility criteria are eligible to apply for SAS participation for the following year. For SAS applicants, the teacher and principal of a student’s current school of attendance are responsible for determining if the student meets at least one of the three eligibility criteria.
  • For information regarding verification of eligibility, refer to pages 10-12 of the Choices brochure or Verification of Eligibility for Gifted Magnet Programs and Schools for Advanced Studies.
  1. Students identified as gifted in L.A. Unified in the Intellectual, High Achievement, Specific Academic, Creative, or Leadership Ability Category.
  2. Students who scored in the “Standard Exceeded” range on the SBAC assessment in English-Language Arts and Mathematics or have TOTAL national scores of 85% or above on a District-approved standardized achievement test (e.g., OLSAT-8) in required areas (most recent year only).
  3. Students who demonstrate mastery of ALL FOUR of the critical thinking and problem-solving skills in their primary language which include the ability to:
    1. Explain meanings or relationships among facts, information or concepts that demonstrate depth and complexity.
    2. Formulate new ideas or solutions and elaborate on the information.
    3. Use alternative methods in approaching new or unfamiliar mathematical problems.
    4. Use extensive vocabulary easily and accurately to express creative ideas.

      For a student to meet this criterion, verifying school personnel must check “Yes” for all four skills. Applicants who are verified with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills criterion must also demonstrate the ability or strong potential to work two years above grade level in academic subjects.

To ensure equity and access, each of the three SAS eligibility criteria carries equal weight in the selection process. Therefore, priority placement cannot be given to students identified as gifted/highly gifted or those who meet test score criteria. For inquiries related to gifted identification or SAS eligibility, contact Gifted/Talented Programs at (213) 241-8361.



Students residing within the boundaries of a designated SAS school who meet the eligibility criteria must be placed in the site’s SAS gifted/talented program since SAS is the GATE instructional program for its students. No SAS application is required.


SAS applicants who meet eligibility criteria and who reside outside school boundaries, but within L.A. Unified boundaries, may apply for participation.


If spaces are available—after accommodating all students residing within the school's boundaries who meet eligibility criteria — a selection process for qualifying SAS applicants will be conducted in this order:

  1. Siblings residing within L.A. Unified boundaries (must meet SAS eligibility criteria)
  2. Students residing within L.A. Unified boundaries (must meet SAS eligibility criteria)

If there are more qualified applicants than spaces available at the school, a random, unbiased selection process will be conducted. Siblings of current students have priority for attendance so long as resident students are not displaced. There is no priority point accrual process for Schools for Advanced Studies. Priority points are used by the Magnet Program only.


Student selection, enrollment, and placement in the site’s SAS gifted/talented program at affiliated charter schools must be conducted in accordance with State and District legal requirements established for charter schools. For affiliated charter SAS enrollment procedures, contact the school directly.


If a parent would like their child to attend a Schools for Advanced Studies (SAS) site within their Zone of Choice (ZOC), the 8th grade student must select that site during the ZOC selection process. If a student is assigned to a designated SAS site through this ZOC process and meets one of the SAS eligibility criteria, this student must be accommodated in the site’s SAS gifted/talented program. For information about Zones of Choice, contact the ZOC office at (213) 241-0466 or


  • The number of available spaces in GATE/SAS classes is determined after all qualified students residing within school boundaries are accommodated. DO NOT SUBMIT A NEW APPLICATION if your child is currently enrolled at an SAS site and wishes to continue at the same school.
  • Students on a school’s waiting list may be contacted regarding an opening through the first month of school.
  • Siblings of students who have withdrawn from the school, culminated, or will culminate this school year, do not have sibling priority.
  • If a twin is selected, the other twin is accepted automatically IF the twin also meets one of the three eligibility criteria.
  • Before making your school selection, contact the school directly to obtain information regarding the school’s SAS orientation meeting, tours, and other pertinent information.
  • Pages 58-66 of the Choices brochure include relevant Schools for Advanced Studies information to assist in making a site selection for your child. Although there is an option to select up to three different SAS sites, it is not mandatory to do so. Prior to listing an optional school on your child’s application, refer to the Program Options section on pages 7-8 which provides information on the process for selecting second or third choice(s).
  • Applicants, interested in applying for Schools for Advanced Studies after the November 16, 2018 deadline, may submit a late application online through GoTo.Lausd.Net. The late application process permits only a single choice and will open February 1, 2019. Dependent on space availability, the late application process will open after all wait-listed students are offered placement at the selected school site. Submitting a late application does not guarantee student placement.
  • If selected, the parent/guardian must accept or decline online or by calling the school by the deadline indicated on the selection letter. If a response is not received by the deadline, it is considered a decline.
  • Applicants to Schools for Advanced Studies sites do not accrue Magnet priority points.


  • Students with disabilities enrolling in a Schools for Advanced Studies site will have access to transportation if the student’s IEP requires transportation.
  • Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), foster youth in out-of-home care, as defined, and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to receive transportation to and from their school of origin. Please contact Student Support Programs at (213) 241-3840 for more information and/or assistance.


Pursuant to California Education Code Sections 46300, 48000 and 48010, Senate Bill 1381, students entering kindergarten must be age 5 by September 1st, and students entering first grade must be age 6 by September 1st. Students who do not meet the age requirements are not eligible to apply or enroll in Schools for Advanced Studies. Students must meet the age eligibility requirement regardless of current school year grade placement. All grade placement decisions are made by the L.A. Unified administration at the school of enrollment.

Prior to a child’s admission into a Schools for Advanced Studies site, the parent/guardian shall present proof that the child is of the minimum age for enrollment as required by law. Falsification of information will result in the applicant’s removal from the site. It is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to submit a complete and accurate application. Applications cannot be edited after November 16, 2018, the close of the application period.

All kindergarten SAS applicants must be verified by the administrator of the preschool or the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program as meeting the third eligibility criterion (i.e., critical thinking and problem-solving skills), as well as criteria listed on the SAS Kindergarten Readiness Checklist. For kindergarten applicants who did not participate in preschool or TK, please contact Gifted/Talented Programs at (213) 241-8361 for information regarding verification procedures.


Schools for Advanced Studies is a K-12 site designation. Transitional Kindergarten SAS classes are not available.


All parents/guardians who applied for SAS will be sent via U.S. Postal Service or online parent account a confirmation or correction letter in December. It may indicate any errors found and contain information specific to SAS. It is the responsibility of the parent/ guardian to review the letter and correct any errors. If correspondence is not received by the date(s) indicated on the Choices timeline (page 9) after successfully applying, please call Gifted/Talented Programs at (213) 241-8361.


Please contact Gifted/Talented Programs at (213) 241-8361 if you have questions about Schools for Advanced Studies.