By Jerry LaVaute
Diane Kullis, director of Van Buren Public
Schools’ curriculum, spoke about expansion plans for the district’s
gifted-and-talented program at a Board of Education work study meeting April
This year, the program has a new elementary school home — Savage
Elementary School — and a new principal, Kelley Villa, after having been located
at Tyler Elementary School for many years.
The current program, including
those giftedand- talented students at Owen Intermediate and McBride Middle
schools, includes 320 students in kindergarten through the eighth
Kullis said referral counts of new students could boost the
program’s size by more than 100 new students, bringing the reach of the
giftedand- talented program to more than 400 students in the school district.
The new program would begin in preschool, where as many as 30 young children
would be introduced to the program.
Kullis, Villa and several teachers in
Savage’s gifted-and-talented program visited Livonia’s program, and researched
other programs in the state, including Bay City.
The team, Kullis said,
is considering a variety of assessment tests to see whether a student would
benefit from the program, in addition to the Woodcock Johnson assessment test
currently used. The types of assessments being considered include the Northwest
Evaluation Association, MEAP scores, teacher recommendations and parent
School administrators discussed with board officials the
issue that some students may be uniquely gifted in areas such as English
Language Arts, but may not perform especially well in mathematics and how a
gifted-and-talented program needs to be structured to address that.
have some brilliant kids in this program,” Kullis said.
As an example,
she described a seventh-grader in McBride Middle School who was proficient in
Jerry LaVaute is a special writer for Heritage
Media. Follow his blogs “Pa’s Blog” and “The Eye of the Storm” at http://jlavaute.blogspot.com/. He can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-734-740-0062.
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