Monday, May 04, 2009

One Day a Week

I was excited to see an article from The Tampa Tribune a few days ago called "School board to consider expanded gifted program." Given that many districts are talking about cutting funding, how nice to see one place where gifted students' needs are being considered in the mix!

A closer look, though, brought up many of the issues we've been talking about here in the past. The school board planned to meet to discuss a proposal that all gifted students in Brooksville would be able to spend one day a week at the Quest Academy gifted center in Spring Hill. I'm sure whatever these kids would be doing at the center would be fun and more engaging than what they're doing in their home classrooms. It's also nice to be able to spend one day a week with your intellectual peers.

But here's the question: Why only one day a week? It seems we're back to the pull-out approach, with gifted kids getting one day a week of special programming, when what they need is academic work on a daily basis that challenges them to the extent of their abilities. It leads me to a new rule for designing gifted programs. If you're not willing to do whatever it is you're proposing for the lion's share of a child's instructional time, it's probably not really going to meet their needs. And it's going to sow a lot of discord, as the comments below the article make very clear.

6 comments:

Taia said...

Another blog suggestion
http://www.newsweek.com/id/186960

Mike said...

Thank you so much for your advocacy. Gifted children have so many special needs and are such a valuable resource that I think offering one day per week of special services is ridiculous. People would never suggest that those with IQs 2 or 3 standard deviations to the left sit in a regular classroom four day per week! Gifted kids are just as different! I encourage you to read this article on the benefits of a self-contained program at Parentiggiftedkids.com. Speaking as someone who actually went through school in a district with a 1 hour per week pullout program, I’m not nearly as conciliatory to pullouts as that author, but she makes a great, point by point argument for the self-contained classroom.

Mike said...

Sorry. The article is "Why a Gifted Class" at Parentinggiftedkids.com. I tried to link to it my last comment, but with no success. I must confess to not being much of a "blogger". I guess I could just paste the url:

http://www.parentinggiftedkids.com/2009/05/why-gifted-class.html

Learn, advocate, win!

Kim Moldofsky said...

The headmaster at the private gifted school my boys used to attend felt strongly that any gifted program should also have an affective, or social-emotional component. So few schools have this, so few schools see a need for this.

Anonymous said...

Pinellas County has started 3 gifted middle schools next year. Magnet programs (school within a school model). It's pretty exciting.

Sarah Robbins said...

As an educator teaching in a self-contained classroom I always come back to what message are we giving gifted kids? Are we telling them that they can (and should) turn on and turn off their giftedness? Or that they are only gifted sometimes? Only gifted once a week? That we know they are special, but we are really not going to do anything about it? Pull out programs are great for kids who are gifted in only one area, or who are only moderately or borderline gifted. Highly and Profoundly gifted kids need SO much more!