Gateway program not expanding, program moving to Bailey Elementary next fallGary and Lisa Lehmann knew their son, Tyler, was bright. He read “Harry Potter” before entering first grade. But he didn’t like school and didn’t participate in class.
By: Judy Spooner, Woodbury Bulletin
Gary and Lisa Lehmann knew their son, Tyler, was bright. He read “Harry Potter” before entering first grade.
But he didn’t like school and didn’t participate in class.
That changed, though after he was admitted to the Gateway Program for profoundly gifted students at Royal Oaks Elementary School. He began to feel more comfortable with students who are also gifted and can now read in front of his class, Lisa told the District 833 School Board at a workshop meeting, Feb. 4.
“It’s given him a safe place where it’s OK to be smart,” Lisa said.
Nancy Vague, coordinator of gifted and talented services, gave the board an update on the Gateway program that moves from Royal Oaks Elementary School to Bailey Elementary School next fall.
To ease the transition, parent meetings have been held at Royal Oaks and another is planned at Bailey, Vague said.
Gateway opened in the 2006-2007 school year with 48 students identified after testing as “profoundly gifted” with third- and fourth-graders in one classroom and grades five and six in the other.
In the second year of the program there were 106 students in four classes.
This year, there are 107 students in four classes and the waiting list no longer exists, Vague said.
A year ago, 450 district students were identified as gifted in grades three to six with 107 enrolled in Gateway and 55 on a waiting list.
The waiting list gave parents false hope that open spots would emerge, according to Vauge. Now, when a rare spot opens, a replacement is taken from the next “highly qualified” student database of test scores.
With sixth grades being moved to middle schools next year, Gateway will continue with four classes.
The program is not being expanded, Vague said. It will have the same number of teachers with no cost increase. Additional students in fourth or fifth grade will get a chance to enroll.
“Strong interest in the program continues,” she said.
Eleven Gateway students are in junior high this year, according to Rick Spicuzza who is assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessment. Students have a case manager and are in classes with other students identified as gifted but were not in the Gateway program.