Spotting someone's gift early

Jun. 28, 2013 @ 07:55 PM

Guilford County Schools officials hope to better identify gifted students in elementary schools under a proposal approved by the Board of Education this week.
At its board meeting Thursday, the school board approved a modified plan for academically or intellectually gifted students.
Dibrelle Tourret, executive director of the Academically/Intellectually Gifted department, presented the board with the updated AIG program for schools in the county.
The plan also seeks ways to better challenge students who are in gifted programs.
“One of the challenges we face in personalizing learning for our AG students is ensuring that once they’re identified, they receive the level of instruction they need to maintain their academic growth,” Tourret said. “We want to place our AG students in the most rigorous courses they can handle to help them grow.”
Tourret said that data from the 2012 Strategic Plan showed that while a vast majority of GCS’ AG students demonstrate proficiency on standardized testing, they do not show evidence of growth at the same rate as the majority of their peers.
To better identify gifted students, the plan includes a portfolio option for students in elementary schools where less than 10 percent of students are identified as AG. The portfolio option looks at a student’s academic and intellectual abilities in the context of his or her learning environment.
Also as a part of the changes, parents or community members, in addition to teachers and administrators, can refer students to be tested for needing gifted services.
The plan used this school year was developed in 2010 and expires at the end of the month. The new plan will be implemented next school year and be used until 2016.
Since 2010, the number of AG students has increased from 13,438 to 14,866.
Board member Carlvena Foster asked Tourret if the new plan would make the program more open.
“Absolutely,” Tourret said. “We hope this will alleviate some of the barriers. Any student that needs our services will get our services.”
In other business, Superintendent Mo Green said his staff is considering shortening the calendar for teacher assistants because of budget constraints. Teacher assistants would not work on the 10 teacher workdays designated throughout the school year. Green said a final decision hasn’t been made.
“Because of things happening at the state and local level, it’s something we have to consider,” he said. “We’re trying to save positions by reducing days.”
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