When I was a child in elementary school over 30 years ago (!), Oldham County Schools had special programs for gifted elementary school students where we were pulled out separately from our peers to work on special projects and assignments, as well as learn new concepts and skills. It was there that I first used a computer (back in 1978!) and that I laid the groundwork for the critical thinking skills I have today.
What does JCPS have? Quite frankly, for elementary school students, it's a mess. If you look at the choices booklet, you'll see that there is a gifted and talented magnet school (King), other schools that say they have a gifted and talented program (Wheeler), and then there is the "Advance" program in select schools in each cluster.
When we signed up for Farmer Elementary, it was with the understanding that the brand new school was pursuing an Advance Program that has not yet shown up as my daughter is in the middle of her fifth grade year. We liked the idea of a new school with advanced technology and an arts focus like Farmer was promising. Farmer has indicated that the school provides the type of education offered by an Advance Program. But what does this really mean?
Noe is our number one choice for middle school because it offers a gifted program. In their Open House, one of the teachers there said that for the first time in school, many of the Noe's gifted students feel that they're around people like them with an education that focuses on them.
WHY? Why isn't JCPS focusing on identifying and servicing these kids in EVERY elementary school and beyond? Oldham County could and did 30 years ago. Why should parents of gifted children have to pick from a few schools that may not offer other programs that are of interest to them? Why do kids have to wait until three or four years in to get the benefits of the poorly defined advance program, and then make many of them transfer to do it? Why is it that there is no Louisville chapter of the Kentucky Association for Gifted Children?
These are the children that are going to be populating your AP classes, elevating your test scores, and making JCPS look good. Yes, many of them will have the benefit of parents who care and provide additional resources at home. But many of these same parents are also taking their kids to other districts and private schools. There is no excuse for JCPS not doing everything it can to serve gifted and talented children within the district and making them a priority.
I'm calling for JCPS to have offerings of gifted and talented programs that go beyond the "advance" program in EVERY school within the next five years.
I'd love to hear everyone's comments, even if you tell me I'm dead wrong.