By KEVIN NEVERS
It won’t be your mother’s Gifted and Talented (G/T) program anymore.
As Gloria Horn, coordinator of the Duneland School Corporation’s G/T program,
told the Duneland School Board at its meeting Tuesday evening, recent changes
in state law will dramatically alter the program, making it—among other
things—more inclusive, standardized, and comprehensive.
Begin with this new requirement: the program must now identify and serve
gifted and talented—or as the state now calls them, “high
ability”—kindergartners and first and second graders. Up to this point the
DSC had the option of including K-2 in the G/T program, Horn said. Now it
must do so.
Meanwhile, the DSC must prepare and implement a comprehensive G/T plan,
through a “broad-based planning committee comprised of teachers, at least one
principal, students, parents, and community members at large.
And that plan must formulate a “multi-faceted assessment” protocol based on
more than ISTEP scores to identify high-ability students. Those assessments,
Horn said, may be performance-based, for example, or potential-based, and
incorporate such elements as behavior ratings and the results of standardized
More: the demographics of students enrolled in the G/T program must exactly
mirror the demographics of the student population at large, Horn said. Thus
if 12 percent of students at large receive free lunches, then 12 percent of
the students enrolled in the G/T program must similarly receive free lunches.
If 5 percent of students at large are Hispanic, then 5 percent of the
students rerolled in the G/T program must also be Hispanic.
There will be one other major change in the G/T program. The broad-based
planning committee must prepare a corporation-wide K-12 high-ability
curriculum to make the services provided more uniform from school to school
and from classroom to classroom, Horn said.
Horn noted that staff will need to work hard and fast to make the changes,
but will have the assistance of a “field coach,” at no charge to the DSC, who
will help in assuring compliance with the new state law.
Board members expressed their appreciation to Horn and to her aides, Sharon
Rothenberger and Sarah Pavlovic, for their dedication and industry.
In other business, the board accepted the resignations of the following
staff: Judith Polite, 4th grade, LES; Susan Shingler, 4th grade, BES; Vanessa
McCusker, Title I aide, LES; Carol Parry, Title I aide, LES; and Lorie
Corbett, instructional aide, WIS.
The board also voted 5-0 to make the following appointments: Leslie Tarnowski,
Title I aide, LES; and Sarah Williamson, Title I aide, LES.