Welcome to Gifted and Talented

Dear Students and Parents,

Welcome to Norris Middle School – home of Redbird Nation. My name is Katrina Jacobberger and I am the Gifted Facilitator at Norris Middle School. I look forward to working with you during the school year.

Norris Middle School has maintained an outstanding record of academic excellence. Students who attend Norris are well prepared to meet the academic rigors of high school. Our mission is to provide a rigorous academic experience that is based on research and best practices and enables all students to achieve their highest potential.

The goal of the Gifted and Talented program is to offer a differentiated rigorous curriculum by providing curricular and instructional adaptations that address the unique needs of high ability learners. At Norris Middle School, the program is organized to address these needs through a combination of the following methods:

o   Differentiation

o   Advanced Classes

o   Contest/Competitions

o   Enrichment Activities and Clubs

Our Gifted and Talented Program at Norris is based on best practices. We want to support your high ability learner. We will be making sure our courses are differentiated. We will support staff through collaboration and professional development and by planning and providing opportunities for your child.

Should you have any questions throughout the year, please contact Katrina Jacobberger at
402 557-4800 or  Katrina.Jacobberger@ops.org .  A strong partnership between school and home is vital to the success of our children. Thank you for supporting your child academically, which has resulted in their sterling success.


Katrina Jacobberger
GATE Facilitator
Norris Middle School



The goal of the Gifted and Talented program is to offer a differentiated rigorous curriculum by providing curricular and instructional adaptations that address the unique needs of high ability learners. At Norris, the program has been designed to reach high ability learners through the implementation of the following methods:


  • Differentiation
  • Advanced Classes
  • Contests and Competitions
  • Enrichment Activities and Clubs




The Omaha Public Schools’ method of identifying gifted and talented students is modeled after the NAGC (National Association of Gifted Children).  Identification includes performance at 130 or above on IQ assessments and 95% or above on any sub-tests of the California Achievement Tests.  


Selection for the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program at Buffett  Magnet can also be determined by a student’s performance in certain courses.  Identification encompasses the following five areas: Intellectual, Academic, Creative, Leadership, and Visual/Performing Arts. Middle school is an opportunity for students to self-select areas that allow them to explore and capitalize on their strengths, display their talents, and excel. Whether it is found in their coursework, a competition, a contest, or an extracurricular activity, a student’s giftedness and/or talents can blossom and develop at Buffett Magnet.



Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)


Coordinated by the Office of Gifted and Talented 


Academic Pentathlon: The newest program of the United States Academic Decathlon for middle school students was created to provide opportunities to experience the challenges of a rigorous team and individual competition in five events: Language and Literature, Mathematics, Music, Science, and Social Studies. The Pentathlon theme parallels that of the high school Academic Decathlon program.  (currently optional for a school to participate)


Book Blasters: Book Blasters is a district-wide competition that involves a team of students who are responsible for reading approximately 12 selected novels. Teams then compete to see who reigns supreme in knowledge of the novels’ content.


Duke Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP): The 7th grade talent search through Duke University provides an opportunity for high ability students to pursue an above-level testing experience. 


Poetry SLAMS:  Each fall and spring student poets from each middle school take the stage and share their writing with their peers.  SLAMS provide an outlet to express feelings, thoughts and ideas with an audience that yearns for student expression.

Quiz Bowl: Quiz Bowl is an academic competition. A four-member team competes against the clock answering questions from various disciplines. Skills, such as teamwork, cooperative group discussion, problem solving, and reaction time, are enhanced through practices and competitions.


Read to Succeed (R2S): Middle Level schools with fifth and six grade students may compete in this elementary competition. Students read 10 novels (Big Ten) and compete in a team approach to gain a spot in the Super Ten competition. The contest was designed to promote and encourage the love of reading. (middle schools with 5th and 6th grade students)


Scholars: Seventh and Eighth grade students (selected) for the Scholars program engage in activities that are goal-oriented.  Students learn more about themselves, support on another, and achieve success at school. Various events are planned to prepare students for their high school years and beyond i.e., College Campus tours, Gallup Strength Finder, ACT prep, etiquette course and more.


Think Tank: Think Tank is a competitive problem-solving event for 7th and 8th graders held on the UNO campus. This day long event features a game that involves creative problem solving. 


Norris Middle School

Competitions/Contests/Enrichment Activities

There are always ways to get involved and to accelerate your learning opportunities at Norris Middle School. Listed below are just a few of the contests/competitions and enrichment opportunities at Norris Middle School.  Please feel free to contact Katrina Jacobberger at anytime in regards to further acceleration opportunities or ways to get involved. 


Spelling Bee—6th-8th Gr.

Geography Bee—6th-8th Gr.

Academic Decathlon—6th-8th Gr.

Read To Succeed—6th Gr.

Photography—6th Gr.

Science Olympiad—8th Gr

Book Blaster—7th-8th Gr.

African American History Challenge

Writing—6th-8th Gr.

Math—7th-8th Gr.

Industrial Technology

Quiz Bowl—7th-8th Gr.  (6th Gr. at Building level)

Honors Algebra—6th-8th Gr.


Honor Society

Honors Special Projects

The Scholars

Science Honors

Duke TIP

Upcoming Gifted and Talented events:


January 21       Academic Pentathlon Practice Competition @ buildings

January 26       9:00 - 12:00  Scholars (7th grade) Gallup University

February 6       8:00- 1:00    ACT Test (various locations on Saturday)

February 4       Academic Pentathlon Essay for Regional Competition @ schools


February 23     Academic Pentathlon Regional Competition @ schools  


March 4 - Quiz Bowl Quads @ Girls, Inc.

March 24 - Quiz Bowl City Finals @ UNO Campus

March 26 - BookBlasters Competition @ UNO Campus

April 2 - Pentathlon State Competition

April 9 - Pentathlon Super Quiz @ ESU

April 23 - 7th Grade Scholars Campus Visit @ UNO

May 5 - Tour of Omaha

May 13 - Poetry Slam @ Pizza Shoppe in Historic Benson

May 15,16 - Pentathlon Nationals

District-Wide GATE Information


Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Facilitator




Novel Competition


Summer Opportunities

Click Here

GATE Trailer Events