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Teachers College's experts recommend how to identify and deliver education to gifted students.

A report written by experts at Columbia University's Teachers College presented recently to West Hartford's Board of Education by recommended district leaders to rethink how they identify and deliver education to gifted students.
Written by experts at Columbia University's Teachers College, the report was commissioned last spring by West Hartford Public Schools in a move to evaluate strengths and weaknesses in QUEST, the district's program for gifted students in the elementary and middle schools.

The experts drafted their findings after spending five days in West Hartford schools, visiting all the district's schools and talking with parents, teachers, students and administrators.

The report's authors said they recognized West Hartford's "strong if somewhat inconsistent commitment" to educating gifted students, but said a number of changes would improve the program and education for the students. Among the broadest of the recommendations made was that West Hartford centralizes the QUEST program, with a dedicated space for the program at one West Hartford Public Schools facility. Under this scenario, students would likely be bused to and from their neighborhood schools to the program headquarters.

The experts also urged district leaders to consider reestablishing a full-time coordinator position for the QUEST program, a job previously held on a full-time basis and cut down to part-time under recent budget pressures.

"We think in order for the program to move forward in a way with vision, we cannot urge you enough to reinstate that position to a full-time position," said a co-author of the report.

Board of Education member Clare Kindall commented on the importance of the program's efficacy, saying she worried that without the QUEST program, gifted students could be "lost," as a lack of engagement predisposes them to tune out or drop out.

But she and other Board of Education members were hard-up to make promises about some of the changes they saw as less than plausible under these economic circumstances.
The suggestions will be crucial as the Board of Education and district administration engage in talks about how to move the program forward and prevail over the sense of tenuousness that many believe have permeated the program for a number of years.

The article “A report presented recently to West Hartford's Board of Education recommended district leaders rethink how they identify and deliver education to gifted students” was published on December 29th in the “West Hartford News”  http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1646&dept_id=11035&newsid=20230494&PAG=461&rfi=9

Published Monday, Jan. 5, 2009

Teachers College's experts recommend how to identify and deliver education to gifted students.

Written by experts at Columbia University's Teachers College, the report was commissioned last spring by West Hartford Public Schools in a move to evaluate strengths and weaknesses in QUEST, the district's program for gifted students in the elementary and middle schools.

The experts drafted their findings after spending five days in West Hartford schools, visiting all the district's schools and talking with parents, teachers, students and administrators.

The report's authors said they recognized West Hartford's "strong if somewhat inconsistent commitment" to educating gifted students, but said a number of changes would improve the program and education for the students. Among the broadest of the recommendations made was that West Hartford centralizes the QUEST program, with a dedicated space for the program at one West Hartford Public Schools facility. Under this scenario, students would likely be bused to and from their neighborhood schools to the program headquarters.

The experts also urged district leaders to consider reestablishing a full-time coordinator position for the QUEST program, a job previously held on a full-time basis and cut down to part-time under recent budget pressures.

"We think in order for the program to move forward in a way with vision, we cannot urge you enough to reinstate that position to a full-time position," said a co-author of the report.

Board of Education member Clare Kindall commented on the importance of the program's efficacy, saying she worried that without the QUEST program, gifted students could be "lost," as a lack of engagement predisposes them to tune out or drop out.

But she and other Board of Education members were hard-up to make promises about some of the changes they saw as less than plausible under these economic circumstances.
The suggestions will be crucial as the Board of Education and district administration engage in talks about how to move the program forward and prevail over the sense of tenuousness that many believe have permeated the program for a number of years.

The article “A report presented recently to West Hartford's Board of Education recommended district leaders rethink how they identify and deliver education to gifted students” was published on December 29th in the “West Hartford News”  http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1646&dept_id=11035&newsid=20230494&PAG=461&rfi=9

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