Dear Students and Families,

I am Mr. Ryan Garcia, and I am excited to be the Gifted and Talented facilitator at Bryan Middle School. I graduated from University of Nebraska at Omaha with my Secondary Education degree and I also received my Masters in Literacy from UNO. I also have middle school endorsements in Gifted Education and Social Studies. I look forward to providing unique services and programs that will guide students to reach their full potential.

Bryan Middle School has maintained an outstanding record of academic excellence. Students who attend Bryan are well prepared to meet the academic challenges 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 purpose of the Gifted and Talented Education program is to provide appropriately challenging educational services and opportunities that are otherwise not given at school to students that perform, or show potential for performing, at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience, or environment.

The goal of the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program is to identify gifted and exceptionally talented students within the Omaha Public Schools, nurture their social/emotional development and enhance their curriculum experience so these unique individuals may reach their fullest potential.

To be identified for GATE services a student must meet at least 3 of the 4 criteria listed below:

COGNITIVE – Top 5% at the school or national level on an intelligence/cognitive test

ACHIEVEMENT – Top 5% at the school, state or national level on a grade-level standardized or norm-referenced achievement test

MOTIVATION/PERFORMANCE – “A” or Advanced (ADV) in 60% or more courses on the most recent semester grade report OR Qualifying recommendation/involvement for Motivation as recorded on the Classroom Teacher Input Form OR Parent/Guardian/Student/Staff Referral

CREATIVITY/LEADERSHIP – Qualifying recommendation/involvement for Creativity or Leadership as recorded on the Classroom Teacher Input Form OR Parent/Student/Staff Referral

At Bryan Middle School, the program is designed to address a student’s unmet needs through a combination of the following methods:

  • Classroom Differentiation 
  • Honors and Advancement Classes 
  • Contest/Competitions 
  • Enrichment Activities and Clubs

Our Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program at Bryan Middle School is based on the Omaha Public Schools “Best Practices”. Bryan Middle School believes gifted students exhibit high performance capabilities in the areas of intellectual ability, academics, creativity, visual/performing arts, and leadership. Gifted students are found in all cultures and include students with learning disabilities or twice-exceptional. The staff at Bryan Middle are committed to providing the highest and most rigorous education to support the Gifted and Talented students.

If you have any questions throughout the school year, please feel free to contact me at (531) 299-2300 or ryan.garcia@ops.org. A strong partnership between school and home is vital to the success of our students and together we will succeed in reaching our students’ highest potential. Thank you for supporting your student academically, socially, and emotionally, which will result in their exceptional success. 


Ryan Garcia 

GATE Facilitator 

Bryan Middle School

The goal of the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program is to identify gifted and exceptionally talented students within the Omaha Public Schools, nurture their social/emotional development and enhance their curriculum experience so these unique individuals may reach their fullest potential.  At Bryan Middle School the program is designed to address student needs through a combination of the following methods:

      o   Classroom Differentiation
      o   Honors and Advanced Classes
      o   Contest/Competitions
      o   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 Bryan 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 Bryan Middle.

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 solv

Bryan Middle Enrichment:


African American History Challenge: The African America History Challenge is a national educational program designed by the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. to enhance the study of African-American history. The goal of the local competition is to encourage pride, self-worth, and an appreciation of the African-American legacy and culture in Omaha youth.

Geography Bee:  All Bryan Middle students participate in a written geography test.  Participants with the highest scores move on to Bryan oral Geography Bee.  The winner of Bryan Middle Geography Bee takes a written Qualifying Test for the state Geography Bee. 

Student Mentoring Project (S.M.P.) -- This competition is for students interested in engineering and architecture. Under the direction of a local engineer mentor, students find a real-world problem, devise a solution, write a proposal and present that proposal to a panel of area architects and engineers.

Math Contests:  Math contests/competitions are available for all grade levels throughout the year.  Students in Grades 5 and 6 are selected to participate by classroom performance and teacher nomination. 

Spelling Bee: The Omaha World Herald sponsors the Spelling Bee. This competition is open to all students. Students participate in mini spelling bees in their Language Arts class. The top students then compete in the Davis Spelling Bee. The winner of the Davis Spelling Bee competes in the Omaha Public School District Spelling Bee.

Enrichment Activities and Clubs

Bryan Middle also sponsors various all-school enrichment opportunities that go beyond the classroom.  Some of these are:  Youth Volunteer Corp, Memory Book, Drama Club, Art Club, and Science Fair.



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 3           Academic Pentathlon Essay for State @ schools           

March 24          8:00-2:00        QUIZ BOWL FINALS   @UNO

March 31          Academic Pentathlon State Competition @ schools

April 13             9:30 – 1:00-UNO Tour (7th Grade Scholars)--Beveridge, Buffett, King, Bryan only                                                                             
April 19             8:30 – 11:30  Academic Pentathlon SUPER QUIZ @ The Teacher                                               Administrative Center board room        

April 22             8:15-12:00   Book Blasters – Skinner Elementary

April 28             Academic  Pentathlon Essay for Nationals @ schools

May 3                8:15-1:30    Tour of Omaha  Marrs, McMillan, Bryan, Davis

May 5                8:15-1:30    Tour of Omaha  Hale, Monroe, KSC, L&C

May 6                8:15-1:30    Tour of Omaha Morton, Norris, Buffett, Beveridge

May 10              8:15-12:00   Poetry Slam @ Pizza Shoppe in Historic Benson 


Books In The Book Blaster Competition 2021-2022

  • Free Lunch by Rex Ogle Neal Shusterman
  • Instead of giving him lunch money, Rex’s mom has signed him up for free meals. As a poor kid in a wealthy school district, better-off kids crowd impatiently behind him as he tries to explain to the cashier that he’s on the free meal program. The lunch lady is hard of hearing, so Rex has to shout.
  • Free Lunch is the story of Rex’s efforts to navigate his first semester of sixth grade—who to sit with, not being able to join the football team, Halloween in a handmade costume, classmates and a teacher who take one look at him and decide he’s trouble—all while wearing secondhand clothes and being hungry. 
  • Cinder: Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

  • Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

    On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman's frantic plea to find a person - a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

    Cassidy Blake's parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

    When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn't sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn't belong in her world. Cassidy's powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

  • The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen 

    Tiến loves his family and his friends…but Tiến has a secret he's been keeping from them, and it might change everything. An amazing YA graphic novel that deals with the complexity of family and how stories can bring us together. Real life isn't a fairytale.

    But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he's going through? Is there a way to tell them he's gay?

  • Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden

    Freedom. Mariah has barely dared to dream of it her entire life. When General Sherman’s march through Georgia during the Civil War passes the plantation where she is enslaved, her life changes instantly. Joining the march for protection, Mariah heads into the unknown, wondering if she can ever feel safe, if she will ever be able to put the brutalities of slavery behind her.

    On the march Mariah meets a young man named Caleb, and a new dream takes root—one of a future with a home of her own and a true love by her side. But hope often comes at a cost. As the treacherous march continues toward the churning waters of Ebenezer Creek, Mariah sees that the harsh realities of her and her peoples’ lives will always haunt them.

     Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt
  • Midwesterner Gary D. Schmidt won Newbery Honor awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys and The Wednesday Wars, two coming-of-age novels about unlikely friends finding a bond. Okay For Now, his latest novel, explores another seemingly improbable alliance, this one between new outsider in town Doug Swieteck and Lil Spicer, the savvy spitfire daughter of his deli owner boss. With her challenging assistance, Doug discovers new sides of himself. Along the way, he also readjusts his relationship with his abusive father, his school peers, and his older brother, a newly returned war victim of Vietnam.

  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

    ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD Looking for special opportunities? When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear listener, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourcefulchildren could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all? Welcome to the mysterious benedict society.

  • Dry by Neil and Jared Shusterman

    When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival. The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

    Until the taps run dry. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

  • Insta Karma by Marissa Meyer

    Chronic overachiever Prudence Barnett is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her.Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to mean gossips, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. Quint is annoyingly cute and impressively noble, especially when it comes to his work with the rescue center for local sea animals.

    When Pru resigns herself to working at the rescue center for extra credit, she begins to uncover truths about baby otters, environmental upheaval, and romantic crossed signals—not necessarily in that order. Her newfound karmic insights reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed, love and hate . . . and fate.


Ryan Garcia
Gifted/Talented Facilitator