• 64°

Board member questions plan for gifted students

Eddas King Easley, a member of the Demopolis Board of Education, questioned the school system’s policy toward gifted students at Monday’s board meeting.

Easley was speaking on behalf of two sets of parents who have elementary age children reading on the junior high level.

“They really feel as if the school system needs to provide for their children,” she said. The system has a policy on gifted children, “but according to both parents their children need more attention than they are getting.

“They are reading on a higher level, but you would not think about promoting them because of their chronological age.”

One parent was concerned that his daughter would lose interest in school because of the subject matter, Easley said. “She masters it, and then she really doesn’t have anything to do per se.”

The Demopolis system needs to be concerned about testing those students that would be termed gifted and provide a course of study, Easley said.

“I think we’re a little better equipped for that than we’ve ever been,” said Dr. Wesley Hill, school superintendent. Some of the computer programs describe each individual student’s needs especially in the Enrichment Program. That is available at U.S. Jones Elementary School in Demopolis, he said.

“At the high school there is a little less trouble because you’ve got to right gifted to get through that Fourth Level academic program.”

The system has the obligation to provide for gifted students, Hill said. “So far we’ve tried to handle it without one individual just representing gifted students. We are better prepared to offer differentiated assignments.”

There had been a previous case of a junior student that was reading on a high school lever,” said board member Gary Holemon. “We’re quite fortunate to have students like that,” he said.

Easley asked what actually was being done. “It’s done through each individual teacher and through Enrichment Programs,” Hill said. “We don’t have a gifted teacher per se. These kids are still in the mainstream. It’s a matter of giving proper assignments and instruction within the mainstream.” Gifted students are not put in a separate group, he said.

“There are a lot of real bright students. They may not all be called gifted.”