Pilot gifted program has tools for monitoring

The Warren County School District is continuing to prepare a pilot program that will go into effect this fall for students identified as highly gifted.

But how can the administration and school board know if the program is accomplishing what they believe it will?

The administration updated the board on how progress will be assessed during the board’s Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Committee meeting last week.

Interim Director of Pupil Services Ruth Nelson said the first meeting with the students identified as highly gifted is slated for Tuesday.

“The GIEP (Gifted Individual Education Plan) is going to have to grow with the students,” she explained.

Many of the tools that the district currently uses district-wide for bench mark assessments will be utilized in this program. That includes Study Island, purchased last year, as well as classroom diagnostic tools “that will be able to closely monitor a child’s progress in both language arts and math,” according to Nelson.

With progress closely monitored, Nelson said the teaching staff will “be instructing at that level for that child.”

Success Maker, a resource that all district students use, will also be used in the pilot to “monitor growth,” she said.

Learning Enrichment Center Principal Misty Weber said that many of the students potentially included in the pilot, score 100 percent on the beginning of the year assessment which, for students entering fourth grade, “tests what they should know at the end of fourth grade. What we do is we assess them with that benchmark four times throughout that (year). What we are seeing is that they are regressing,” she said of the highly gifted population, approximately 12 students in grades three through five.

“That is what I am hoping to not see this year,” Weber said, instead hoping to “see one, two years growth” and “actually make huge gains instead of just staying stagnant.”

“What you’re doing now is promoting education quality,” said Superintendent Dr. William Clark of the pilot. “If you continue to do that with district programs, go out and check the pulse, if you are steering dollars in a particular direction” it will be easier to track the worth of that expenditure.