'Difficult to see' improvement from changes in county's gifted program

Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2011

Editor:

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I'm writing this letter in response to an article in Columbia County's "Educationally Speaking" back-to-school newsletter regarding the "positive" changes to the county's Gifted and Talented Program.

The school-based pilot program referred to in the article consisted of a full-time gifted and talented teacher at each of the five piloted schools. Under the new delivery model, only three elementary schools in the county will have a full-time teacher for gifted students. The other 15 schools will be forced to share teachers.

While this model will eliminate the need to transport students, it is difficult to see how students will receive increased time with a gifted teacher. Students in schools who share a teacher will be on a six-day rotation schedule. Instead of being served once a week, they will be served once every six days. Students will attend music, art and physical education classes with their homeroom, which will also reduce the time served in the gifted classroom.

As for the gifted teacher keeping close contact with the homeroom teacher, all but three gifted teachers will not be a full-time faculty member at any school. They will divide their time between two and sometimes three different schools.

I find it hard to believe that this will serve the students, teachers or program in a positive manner. Our county is falling quite short of their "vision," and I'm extremely concerned and disappointed.

>W. Smith

Harlem/p>

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