Gifted program concerns parents
By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
A group of parents want to know how students identified as gifted will be challenged during the next school year.
The board of education announced earlier this month that 27 teachers and two administrators have opted to retire and will not be replaced.
At the time, a news release said the plan allows the district to lower operational costs without cutting academic programs.
“My concerns have to do with the gifted program,” said Lee Ann Myers, parent of a middle school student, at Monday’s board of education meeting. “What is the gifted program considered if it is not considered an academic program?”
Gifted instruction will no longer be provided by gifted intervention specialists.
Instruction will always be provided for gifted students, however, said Dr. Linda Ross, director of instruction.
“It’s just going to be delivered by our regular classroom teachers rather than the gifted intervention specialists,” she said. “So they will still be getting challenges in their instruction.”
Enrichment opportunities during the dedicated intervention period given to all middle school students and independent projects are options for gifted students, Ross said.
“As a parent, I’ve seen teachers who are not gifted interventionists who don’t really understand the different needs that these children have,” Myers said.
Students with those teachers may fall through the cracks, she said.
Professional development will be provided to teachers with gifted students in their classes, Ross said.
At the meeting, the board also accepted the resignation of Frank Lazzeri, superintendent, and rehired him for three years under the district’s retire/rehire plan.
“We are in severe fiscal crisis right now, and I’m at a point in my career that I could retire and come back at a much lower salary,” he said.
The district will save about $160,000 over the three-year period with this plan, district officials said.