The Clinton City Schools Board of Education has approved the Academically and Intellectually Gifted Plan for 2016-2019 after months of discussion and team members returning to the drawing board to meet the requests of some board members.
The fourth and final review of the plan was presented during a work session Thursday, Feb. 25, and the board’s unanimous approval followed the last presentation. Over the last several months, the plan has been presented to board members three additional times, leading board members to voice their concerns and opinions of how the plan should look.
During previous meetings, some board members have voiced their opinions, claiming at one point that those opinions weren’t being heard by the AIG team specialists, who were in charge of drawing up the plan.
In the current plan, identification as an academically gifted student came with a score of 92 percent of higher on the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, a measure of aptitude test that is administered in second grade.
This measure has not changed in the newly adopted plan, according to Dr. Mark Duckworth, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
All students in kindergarten through second grade were serviced through a nurturing program, something board members Carol Worley and Georgina Zeng expressed their dislike for, and will continue to be serviced through K-2 Think Lab and not be tested and identified at the earlier level.
“The purpose of the Think Lab is to explore ability and uncover gifted potential,” Lisa Green said, AIG specialist at Sunset Avenue said. “With this part of the plan, we are tapping into not just one area of strength, but all areas.”
According to Green, at the K-2 level, an AIG specialist will visit all classrooms and provide whole group lessons to encourage critical, creative and higher order thinking skills. Based on that data collected from the AIG specialist during those whole group lessons, students will be placed in pull-out groups that are facilitated by the specialist.
“We want to see consistent behaviors and not flukes,” Green said. “These students will not be identified as AIG. We are trying to nurture that gifted potential.”
In the team’s final recommendations, the new AIG plan will identify gifted students as AG (Academically Gifted) and IG (Intellectually Gifted). Students who are currently serviced through the AIG program either receive content replacement services or resource services. In conjunction with PowerSchool, the school’s grading and information system, students who are in content replacement will now be identified as AG and students who are in resource will be identified as IG.
“IG will focus on developing intellectual skills and not academic skills,” Debbie McDuffie previously shared with the board. “Hopefully, we will be able to pull more students in other areas.”
The board also approved changes in the requirements for placement.
“We want to make sure we aren’t missing any children,” Green said. “There are a lot of children with a high IQ, but are scoring low on the achievement tests. We want to make sure we are servicing all gifted children, in every area.”
In the new plan, to receive placement in the AG portion of the program, a student must meet two of three categories. The new requirements are:
• A student must score 92 percent or higher on the Naglieri Nonverbal Aptitude Test
• A student must score 90 percent or higher on the Iowa achievement test
• A student must be recommended by a teacher or score Level 5 on the End of Grade tests
In the new plan, to receive placement in the IG portion of the program, a student must have a 92 percent or higher on the NNAT and one other of the following criteria:
• A student must score 80 percent or higher on the Iowa achievement test
• A student must be recommended by a teacher
The significant drop in the number of kids being identified as academically gifted has brought great concern to board members, a concern that was brought to the attention of the team and audience at the first meeting in November. At that time, board members asked the team to develop a plan that would allow Clinton City Schools to serve more children in the AIG program.
At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, when students entering third grade were tested, only two students qualified for AIG placement, according to Worley. Three additional students received private testing and have since been placed into the content replacement tier of the program.
The AIG team will continue to “clean up” the adopted plan and prepare to present the plan to the state for final approval.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.