Gifted and talented

Tonight I met a mom who asked why Ithaca does not have a gifted and talented program.

I hear talk of what it was like as a kid, shipped away to another room once a week to build cool bridges, talk about environmental issues and solve brain teasers. Many were thankful for the break from endless ditto sheets and redundant spelling tests.

For better or for worse, that is not what most classrooms in Ithaca are like anymore. The Common Core provides opportunity for deep thinking and problem solving for all students. It is thoughtfully presented through the English Language Arts and math modules that New York State contracted to be written and published on their behalf. Although I work with many “above average” students, I have yet to meet one that finds these “modules” to be too easy. In the meantime all students are “gifted” with access to work such as developing field journals and drawing bugs from observation.

There is much debate about the Common Core. However, in my opinion, when it is taught with thoughtfulness and flexibility, it provides an opportunity for true thinking and problem solving that challenges every learner regardless of how “talented” they are. While gifted and talented programs provided a band aid for a “one size fits all” classrooms, innovative schools working with the Engage New York modules and the Common Core Standards have the tools they need to challenge all thinkers.

In this context, where is the need for a band aid?

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