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Gifted and Talented School Coming To John Winthrop

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How weird is this? The 3 school systems in Connecticut that have Special Masters, (or, in Bridgeport, the equivalent) have been selected, totally randomly, to receive grants for schools just for the gifted. And in Bridgeport, the school chosen to house this wonderful experiment in pulling the best students out of the regular school system is, by sheer coincidence, in the far North End – John Winthrop (where I myself taught for 2 years.)

From the Hartford Courant:

The University of Connecticut will use a $500,000 grant to replicate Hartford’s Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy — a school for the city’s brightest young students — in the New London, Windham and Bridgeport school systems this year.

Teachers at the three new academies will be trained in the schoolwide enrichment model, an advanced curriculum developed by UConn education researchers Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis that taps into students’ interests to challenge them.

The grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, awarded to UConn’s Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, will also fund “mini-internships” for those teachers this spring, Renzulli said. That will involve visits to the Renzulli Academy in Hartford, where 115 students in kindergarten and grades 4 to 9 are enrolled in the all-day gifted program.

This fall, Renzulli academies are expected to open within existing classrooms at Windham Middle School in Willimantic and Bridgeport’s John W

inthrop School. In New London, the academy is set to be housed in the former Harbor School building…

The school systems have committed to funding the academies in their annual budgets, said Renzulli, an international expert on gifted education and director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at UConn.

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  1. Jason Morris says:

    The admissions policy for the current public (non-charter) Renzulli Academy in Hartford are disturbing. If you’re in the top 19th percentile or better on CMTs – you automatically qualify and become “identified” as “gifted” and they send you an application. For the rest, either a teacher must recommend a student or a parent can make the request. That sounds fair right? But wait, there’s more.

    If you were not automatically identified as gifted (by CMTs), the teacher of the student must fill out a NINETY SIX point rating survey detailing their opinion on every aspect of this child. Which is very laborsome and is open to scrutiny from the parent. NYC used (and quickly abandoned) this method for applying with disastrous results (found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/education/30gifted.html ).

    So with a standardized test that is designed to reflect socioeconomic status being used to determine whether you’re gifted or not, the result of that will be a disproportionate representation of the student population leaning towards who’s family has the most money (creating more opportunity for the child). Then placing such a huge barrier between any other possible applicant using these surveys and no advertisement of the publics ability to apply themselves – segregation (either raciallly or economically) will occur.

    I’m fighting this in New London right now, and my daughter would likely qualify…but it’s not about just my daughter, it’s about every child.