2008-10-08 / Family

Gifted programs are growing more slowly

By Greg Pearson
STAFF WRITER

Page Dowdy/Chesterfield Observer Miley Holzman (left) and Bailey Coppage, both Center-Based Gifted students at Greenfield Elementary School, participate in a writers' workshop with teacher Joyce Versaw. Page Dowdy/Chesterfield Observer Miley Holzman (left) and Bailey Coppage, both Center-Based Gifted students at Greenfield Elementary School, participate in a writers' workshop with teacher Joyce Versaw. Parents are having varied reactions to changes in the school system's gifted programming implemented this fall because the number of students is growing faster than the school population. Some parents felt having gifted programs at each school "was diluting" the program and preferred the Center-Based Gifted (CBG) program.

"Parents are unsettled," commented Midlothian School Board representative Patty Carpenter at a school board work session late last month.

Staff members also reported that many teachers who teach in the program are not yet certified to teach gifted students but are working on their state certification. That meets the county standard.

At the elementary school level, 515 students are in the school-based gifted programs, and there are 1,211 students at the middle school level. At the county's 11 high schools, 1,899 students are enrolled in gifted programming at their local school.

The Gifted Education Task Force recommended slowing the rate of growth for the gifted program last summer. Superintendent Marcus Newsome said then a study seven years ago indicated there was "no statistical difference" in learning between a CBG program and gifted programs at individual schools.

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