Board of Ed to look into Gifted & Talented programs

Members of the Board of Education’s fiscal committee said Tuesday evening that they planned to investigate the need for gifted and talented programs within the city’s school district.

“The state mandates that we identify gifted and talented students just like special education students, but they don’t mandate what we do when we’ve identified students as gifted,” Interim Superintendent Winifred Hamilton said Tuesday evening during the fiscal committees meeting.Hamilton said she would like to discuss the pros and cons of previous gifted and talented programs that have existed in Stamford in the past.

“I’d like to look at, you know, we identify, but then what,” she said.

The lack of gifted and talented programs in the district has been a point of contention in the recent middle school reform movement, which reduced the number of academic groups from five to two. Some critics of Stamford’s de-tracking plan have claimed that reducing the number of ability-based groups to so few has taken a toll on the city’s gifted and talented population, who they say are denied a chance to accelerate. Recently, some opportunities to advance students have been pushed through in the district, including a push to provide access to algebra for a select group of seventh-grade students.

The Fiscal Committee plans to discuss the idea of a gifted and talented program in more detail during its June meeting, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. in the Board of Education’s conference room on the fifth floor of Government Center.

Maggie Gordon