Columbus Tustin Middle School GATE & STEAM Magnet Program

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A School within a School

Columbus Tustin Middle School’s GATE/STEAM Magnet Program functions as a “school within a school” and offers students a unique, collaborative learning environment.  Students in the magnet program interact as a cohort of diverse learners immersed in an inquiry and project based approach to learning.  Magnet teachers design learning experiences to stimulate intellectual curiosity, creativity, and risk taking with the goal of encouraging independent thinking, collaborative learning, and real-world problem solving.



This Magnet program provides an academically challenging environment in which each student’s educational opportunities are maximized.  All Columbus Tustin Magnet teachers are GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) trained, incorporate GATE instructional strategies into their daily lesson design, and focus on year-long GATE themes by grade level as they lead students through a project based approach to learning.  Classes move at an accelerated pace, preparing students for rigorous International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs in high school.


Admission Criteria

The Columbus Tustin GATE/STEAM Magnet program is seeking motivated, enthusiastic learners ready to take on a challenging workload.  Applications are available at all elementary front offices, the Columbus Tustin front office, or online at  Admission is selective and is based on application responses and teacher recommendations. Priority will be given to students who are GATE identified, however this is not a requirement for admission.  A lottery will be held if the number of qualified candidates exceeds our cohort size.


Curricular Extensions

The scope of the Magnet educational experience extends beyond the traditional classroom setting.  Throughout the year, students become apprentice investigators and develop their skills of scientific research, discovery and documentation through experiential, hands-on field trip excursions throughout Southern California to extend classroom learning. These experiences include day trips, as well as longer overnight camps, to locations such as the California Science Center, Crystal Cove and Catalina Island.