Gifted program discussed at board meeting

Parents not happy with changes.
Joe Centers
Jun 11, 2014

 

 

Parents in the Norwalk City Schools district expressed their concerns about the future of the gifted education and ABLE programs during Tuesday’s school board meeting.

 

Grand Avenue resident Christina Downey said she is concerned about the speculation due to what seemed to be last-minute decisions “for those not in the loop.” She requested the board make “transparent reports” about decisions and changes being made “without spin (and) without euphemisms.”

 

Downey, quoting a written statement from her 8-year-old son, said he encouraged the district “to keep ABLE because sometimes it is hard for kids to sit and listen to the same old thing.”

 

“It gets really boring and it’s not fair to the pupils. I think ABLE would be good because sometimes your brain is higher than other people think and ABLE would help because it will bring you to higher levels in schools and you can be with people with the same smarts as you,” the boy wrote.

 
See Wednesday's Norwalk Reflector for complete story.

Comments

swiss family

I guess I don't understand this.. If a child is in 5th grade mbut reads at a 4th grade level, they are held back, for their own good, even though they will not be with kids their own age and maturity level, why then would it be so difficult, if a child who is "gifted" who is in the 4th grade but is mentally developed and advanced and at a 5th grade level to skip a grade, and be with kids a year older, where his mind will be challenged, even though he will be a year younger than his classmates??

ladydye_5

It is done. My children have a kid in their class that "skipped" a grade. He skipped 8th grade. He went from 7th to Freshman. Although he is kind of immature and many say he is socially awkward. Some can handle it, some cannot. Many who are gifted in that way, may still need the extra guidance with social growth.

WordSlinger

Personally, I have met many gifted children over the years. You don't even have to test a child to know his or her potential. When you meet, for example, a seventh grader with a vocabulary to match your own, and that child is doing things, such as writing or composing music, which very few children do, then you can surmise that the child is probably very bright and may be even gifted. I say, then, that I have met some gifted children over the years, and most of them did not get any special help. Sometimes, the parents simply thought of the child as weird, troubled, or with an abnormality that could be beaten or teased out of him. Sometimes, the parents simply didn't care. Sometimes, the parent cared enough to worry but did not know what to do. In all these cases, the parents simply did not advocate for their child's academic development, and the child fell through the perverbial cracks. The only successful gifted kids I know had someone, either a parent or a heroic teacher, going to bat for him. I am, of course, not saying that an extremely resourceful and gifted child who has abusive and neglectful parents cannot be successful, but what I am saying is that that child's chances are much higher with some intervention.
I'm sure that every one of you who have children are model parents, and that if one of them even has a chance at being gifted, you will certainly make sure the child is tested and that his education is sufficiently enriched. BRAVO!
But not all parents are as wonderful as you!
They just aren't.

jacwildcat

I agree --you cannot have it both ways. Especially since their is teaching already happening at the grade level needed for learning. Gifted education is not needed today as there are spots for the kids in the upper grades. HS --kids can do Post Secondary Options in College so no need there either.

ChristinaFD

Grade advancement and early college placement is probably the best option for older students. It gets trickier for younger children though - especially when multiple grades would need to be skipped in order for the child to be educated at their individual level. It's also important to note that giftedness isn't always even across the board. A student may perform at grade level in one subject and several grades above grade level in another. Also, the fact that a child is more developed academically does not mean they are in any way advanced emotionally or physically. A first-grader doing math at a fifth-grade level, for example, is still physically a first-grader, with the same attention span and social development of a first-grader. These kids also tend to have particular behavior and emotional difficulties. That's why we need a QUALIFIED gifted specialist (with an actual DEGREE) serving these kids. It's complicated!

puppylove1

I have to agree with Swiss. For years, when a gifted child came along they simply bumped them up a grade or two. Bumping them up worked just fine, so why should your kid and a few others get their own special program? There are a lot of other options besides the public school system that can be tapped and customized to assist in grooming these kids educations.

shurst

I totally agree with Christina! Please keep fighting!

earlduck

good try ABLE parents but its a lost cause,you'll have to enrich your kids education on your own and it will work better anyway,I am speaking from experience.
as for the school board they think a gifted child is one that grows up in a big house

ChristinaFD

I'm not giving up on the board yet (I'm pretty stubborn). We made a TINY bit of progress after the board meeting.

ISPSP

Please don't give up!

ChristinaFD

Thank you Mr. Centers, Mr. Ashby, and the Norwalk Reflector for giving parents and students a voice. My ultimate hope is that we can work together to create more open and honest communication between the school district and the community. For my part, I plan on staying more informed, and I'm encouraging the school board to be more forthcoming. No matter what your views, honest sharing of information is always a good thing. I'm hoping to see more information soon about the library changes next year in the middle and high schools and any other changes that we have not yet been properly informed of.

ladydye_5

Honestly if I had a child with these kinds of talents I would enrich their education myself. Either with online courses, college educators or tutors. With home schooling and all the online education materials there are many options to aide with furthering any age and any level of the mind.

Tippythehippy's picture
Tippythehippy

Unfortunately, some parents do not have the money for extra internet classes, private tutors, early college admission, ect. Skipping a grade has been proven to be a poor choice for the child's development, as they are not with their peers. I studied education and child development for 6 years before changing majors. Keep at the board and things will happen, kudos to you who stood up for your kids. :)

puppylove1

Skipping a grade or two works just fine, and it has a long record of success. You can not prove it to be a bad choice, but you can say certain studies suggest one choice over another. What formula is used to quantify the rank in your statement?

ladydye_5

Many of the information, classes, and courses online are free. Home schooling information is everywhere. I have family that home schools and she posts the links daily for others to use. If MY child was that gifted and I wanted to be sure they were receiving the best education available I would do whatever I could to be sure it was available. Even teach them myself. The internet information/courses I was referring to cost nothing. (if you are already paying for internet)

ChristinaFD

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swiss family

@ "tippy"....you say that "skipping a grade has proven to be a poor choice for the child's development as they are not with their peers"... so what happens when a child is left behind, or as we used to call it "Flunks"??? they are also not with their peers???

Tippythehippy's picture
Tippythehippy

A survey done across public and private schools. Samples taken randomly through out the USA. Id have to dig out my old college books to find it...might be a while!

Now The Rest of...

swissey is an expert on this and all subjects, the three years he spent in 6 grade was some of the best time of his life.

shurst

I truely hope that the school board finds a way to continue the ABLE program the way it has been done for years! My son was extremely bored in his regular classes and needed a challenge. He entered the ABLE program and now in high school has enrolled in PSEOP. If he didn't have the ABLE program to keep him challenged during classroom time than he might not be excelling the way he is today! The state is pushing so hard and providing funding to teach children at a younger age (SUTQ) yet when our young students are excelling, the school board is trying to change the program that will help those children continue on. That doesn't make any sense to me. I hope that the board is able to find a way to continue this program the way it has worked for so many children and not take the opportunity of a higher education away from future students!

ChristinaFD

I had quite a long talk with Mrs. Goodsite today, and she seemed like she was being pretty straight forward with answering my questions. I was actually somewhat impressed with her to be honest. She assured me that the only major changes we should expect next year are library staffing in the middle and high schools (She did assure me, as Mr. Lendrum did at the board meeting, that the library hours and student access would remain the same.), the new scheduling requiring 6th-grade band students to come in an hour early (though she assured me that bussing would still be provided for those students), and the elimination of the pull-out ABLE program for the 4th and 5th graders. She told me that services for the other grades would remain the same. Like I told her, I don't necessarily have any great attachment to the ABLE program itself. My main concern is that a qualified person is making sure that the gifted children in Norwalk are properly serviced, and that the district is doing what it can to meet the individual special needs of each child. She is bringing in experts in gifted education from Cleveland State to provide in-service training, but I'm still a little confused about why they won't be utilizing Mrs. Beabout for Norwalk's gifted programming. In any case, I told her that I was going to try to stay involved (in a positive way) and take a "wait and see" approach. If the district comes through and our middle and high school students don't lose any library services or access, and if they follow through on providing quality, individualized services for our gifted children, I'll be the first to sing their praises. If not, I will definitely call them on it. I'm hoping for the best!

AnAmerican

Nothing wrong with advancing a level/grade for those that excel as done in the past. Seems there are some that create the change/need/positions specifically to create new positions.