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Gifted & Talented Presentation at 1/7/15 BOE Meeting

Dr. Elissa F. Brown  gives  her presentation on Gifted & Talented  *Photo by Katherine  Massopust

Dr. Elissa F. Brown gives her presentation on Gifted & Talented *Photo by Katherine

Placing Emphasis on Exceeding Standards

PERTH AMBOY – At the 1/7/15 BOE Meeting, Dr. Elissa Brown, Principal Investigator in collaboration with Rutgers University gave a detailed report on the Gifted and Talented Program in the Perth Amboy School District. Brown is a Professor at Rutgers University and Hunter College (New York). Emphasis on the higher achieving students was addressed.

The report emphasized an effective evaluation of the Gifted & Talented Program that is presently in place in Perth Amboy. The purpose of the report was to document strengths and limitations of the G&T Program while at the same time offering recommendations for future program improvement. The evaluation was performed in October 2014 – December 2014.

The findings of the investigation were:

• Perth Amboy has many dedicated teachers

• There is district-wide recognition that G&T students need to be served

• There is no universal standard in PAPS to identify and serve G&T students

• PAPS is not following NJ State BOE definition of giftedness

• There are pockets of schools challenging their students, but this is teacher dependent.

• PAPS has not been effective in engaging parents in supporting G&T Students

• Many students are penalized (given more work) if finished early – they have to wait for the other students to finish

• Teachers, students and parents could not identify what the gifted program is.

• There is district leadership support for meeting the needs of G&T students

• There should be a centralized process so when students reach High School they have similar sets of experiences.

Brown offered the following recommendations:

• Hire a district level supervisor

• Put into place an identification system

• Identify G&T students in their area of strength

• Provide specific training to K-2 teachers on nurturing potential signs of G&T students

• Provide advanced content to supplement Common Core Standards

• Provide professional Development and teacher certification in gifted education

• Develop documents for communication, procedures and guidance.

Brown concluded her presentation by emphasizing the importance of helping the Gifted Program. She is hoping to put Perth Amboy on the map as an example of what a G&T Program should be.

Board Member Obi Gonzalez stated, “I’m concerned. We can kill two birds with one stone. We might have difficulty finding a person. (referring to a go-to person for G&T). This person has to be very skilled. This person will report to the Assistant Superintendent of Schools.”

During the public portion, Resident Stanley Sierakowski commented on the program: “Dr. Elissa Brown gave a great presentation. I don’t care how much money you spend – you’re talking the cream of the crop. It’s too important. You should focus on this.”

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