Another Class of Students Served by GATE?

gate-2It was pointed out that in our discussions of GATE/AIM looking at two categories of students – the high achievers who do well in their coursework and the underachievers who are intelligent but not fulfilling their promise in the mainstream classroom, we have left out a third class of kids.

Limiting AIM to only those underachievers leaves out some kids who are doing well in terms of their grades and tests, but not doing well socially in the regular classroom.

While admittedly not a huge class of kids, there are some in this category. The difficulty is in identifying which kids will or will not do well in the regular class. Teachers, while an important guiding factor here, simply do not see everything about a child.

Digging into the archives, we see a column from 2012 by Debbie Nichols-Poulos who wrote, “Some very highly gifted students fit the stereotype of ‘odd ball’ or ‘socially inept’ students. They have unique affective needs. These students stick out in the regular classroom and can be socially marginalized. These students are especially well served in a self-contained GATE class. Here they have a chance, frequently for the first time in their lives, to meet other students like themselves. They feel comfortable and blossom for the first time in their school careers. They embrace their intelligence and begin to soar.”

In her 2013 column she notes, “Many GATE students can have their needs met in their neighborhood schools. Teachers work to design differentiated curricula to meet the needs of these and other high-performing students who need more breadth, depth or acceleration. So there are GATE students in both regular classrooms and self-contained GATE classrooms.”

However, she writes, “Some GATE students have needs that are more difficult to meet in neighborhood schools. Here is where GATE students who are underachievers, learning-disabled or very highly gifted can have their needs met.”

As she puts it, “For some of these students, GATE classrooms are as much or more about social issues as about intellectual issues. The GATE student who may be marginalized, isolated and tuned out in a neighborhood program can find peers and feel ‘normal’ for the first time in her school career in a GATE classroom.”

She warns, “I believe some parents look at placement in the GATE program as a status symbol. This is true of parents of students who both qualify and do not qualify for GATE classes. These parents do a disservice to themselves, their students and other GATE and non-GATE students.”

She writes, “Conversations among parents about who did or did not ‘get in’ to GATE classes should stop. These conversations are fueling the fires of controversy over GATE and contributing to the notion that some students are ‘better than’ others. It is important for all of us to acknowledge that there are many GATE students in regular classrooms throughout the district. So being placed in GATE or regular classrooms should not be a status game.”

The point being raised here is that there are GATE identified students who end up in the mainstream classroom and do very well, but for others, “the self-contained GATE program is necessary.”

Ms. Nichols-Poulos writes, “It is important for all our students to find their niches, fit in with classmates and have their needs met. Parents are in the best position to make these judgments. They should not be made simply on the results of the GATE tests and the district’s arbitrary cutoff.”

She adds, “The district, too, should be looking at individual students’ needs, not just test score rankings, when determining whose needs are best met in GATE classes. An arbitrary test score cutoff diminishes the effectiveness of the district’s self-contained GATE selection criteria.”

As noted in yesterday’s column, there seems to be a strong push from reform-minded people to make GATE be more about underachieving children than the classic overachiever.

I have heard from a number of people privately that this is the direction they would like to see AIM go – smaller and serving the needs of kids that are not well-served in the current classroom.

The suggestion has been to identify those who are at the top of the intelligence scale and then match that to behavior and grades, in order to find out who needs the self-contained program and who is doing fine in the mainstream classrooms.

There is an argument that, by integrating all of these other high achieving and hard-working students into regular classes, it can only help benefit the rest of the school by putting many teachers back into teaching “regular” classrooms. The school would then have to make sure that the top students would receive the appropriate teaching in the same classroom.

However, as we continue this conversation, I think I want to hear more about the case for high achieving students in self-contained or otherwise accelerated classes. That seems to be the point of disagreement and, as of now, I have not heard enough along these lines.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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44 Comments

  1. Adam Smith

    Our child may be an example.   He is AIM identified,  but is high achieving now.    I don’t think he needs a different style of learning to do well in school, but he is extremely bored with the traditional classroom in Davis.    He needs a higher level of challenge.  We’ve been through several periods of him refusing to go to school because he knows that he will  finish his work early then have nothing to do, except when the teacher has him help others with their work.      We have not experienced differentiated teaching in the classrooms.

    We’d be happy with “Honors” classes or a well done differentiated teaching in the classroom.  Given that there is neither in our experience to date, AIM is where we’ll choose to be going forward so that he gets the level of challenge that he needs to thrive.

    I’ve been following  most of the commentary about issues with AIM.    If the district wants to have a small AIM program, then I think it needs to move away from a “test score only” approach to AIM admission.  Seems that in addition to a test,  the kids who end up in  a segregated classroom should have an IEP from  the school staff.  From our experience, it isn’t just a test score that should qualify a kid for segregated classroom, there is a learning/personality issue that causes these kids to need special education.  In that  way, AIM becomes less of an “honor” to be included.      Additionally, based on our personal experience,  a move to a very limited AIM program, would necessitate an honors program or significant differentiated teaching in the classroom.

    1. hpierce

      Your third paragaph is very insightful.  Particularly the IEP part.  It matches my experience (lacking an IEP), and that of our son (also lacking an IEP). I recommend all read and reflect on that third paragraph, in particular.

  2. SODA

    Yes, I think Adam has hit the nail on the head that has been mentioned several times in all the posts about AIM.  There are two types of needs and one can be best served with differentiated (‘honors’, more challenge) and one by self contained (high achievers who are not thriving in regular classes often because of behavioral issues, and I would classify acting out because of true bordom one).

    Our youngest was GATE identified in the 90s in S Cal and we debated whether to send to a different school for the program. We were swayed after talking with the GATE teacher and both principals and were very happy.  When we moved here for her 6th grade she was put in Valley Oak and her behaviors affected her interaction with her teacher and peers but she did well academically. DHS was not a good experience as she was intellectually capable but did not fit in socially with that crowd and there was alot of truancy with good grades. Da Vinci might have been a wonderful choice for her if it had been up and running then…I think Da Vinci has attracted the type of student that David has described in today’s post and I am so glad it is there for today’s students…..

  3. Robin W.

    As the parent of two kids who were in GATE self-contained classes (and desperately needed those classrooms), and having researching this issue extensively, it is my understanding and experience that the group of kids you are referring to is not “very small.” Kids of extremely high intelligence are as poorly served by our regular classrooms as would be kids with an IQ of 65  – – who no one would ever dream of mainstreaming by pretending it would be possible to differentiate for them in a regular class.

    These kids have very little in common with their age peers who are not like them intellectually, so they are – more often than not – social misfits in such a group.  Because they are not engaged intellectually in a regular class, they also tend to be behavior problems that non-GATE teachers really don’t want in their classes — either extremely disruptive or the isolated day dreamers. These kids are highly at risk for all sorts of emotional problems and do much better when they are with classmates who think like they do.

    There is a great deal of literature on this issue and many published studies from many, many years ago and more recent – the kind of knowledge and information that DSJUSD’s long-term esteemed GATE coordinator Deanne Quinn knew off the top of her head and could recite chapter and verse. But our School Board chose to toss this irreplaceable resource.

    In a perfect world, all children’s academic, intellectual, social and emotional needs could be met in every classroom. But we have a world where our classrooms are much too large and where teachers are not provided anything approaching a decent level of in-service ed or training because it is too expensive to do so.

    This district has been paying lip service to inservice ed for differentiated teaching since I moved to Davis 21 years ago but has done nothing to accomplish it. It won’t happen now either because it is cost prohibitive to provide the kind of training and follow-up supervision necessary for every teacher in the district to be able to differentiate effectively and create a supportive environment or each of her/her vastly different students. Of course, in order for teachers to do so even with such training, class size and student-teacher rations would also need to be reduced. I do not believe the School Board is prepared to fund such an endeavor. It is much cheaper (as well as more effective) to hire back a knowledgeable GATE/AIM Coordinator and have separate classes for the kids at the ends of the spectrum.

     

    1. Frankly

      and do much better when they are with classmates who think like they do.

      I think this is true for most students if not all students, but I’m not sure this is a good solution.  Segregated classrooms appear to me to just be a band aid on the gaping wound of inadequate differentiation.

      For me to support a segregated approach, I would have to put the kids in an extreme special needs category.  This would be kids with extreme physical, cognitive or emotional challenges.  Kids wired with true academic gifts should be handled by the regular classroom with adequate differentiation.

      we have left out a third class of kids.

      If we are going to categorize students, I think it needs much more than three.  I think we can and should develop a profile assessment that includes a dozen or more criteria and then we can group kids into tracks matching their profile.

      Just on personality alone, the Meyers Briggs type indicator has 16 personality types.  http://www.16personalities.com/personality-types  In the corporate world we use tools like this to differentiate development approaches and career paths.  We need to do things more like this for the kids, and also include criteria for strengths and weakness on topics and subject matter.  For example, my sons are strong verbal and language but struggled with abstract math.  So their language instruction should have been more advanced and challenging, and then would need more tutoring help for higher level math.

      1. hpierce

        You realize Meyers-Briggs is a joke right?  My employers had me take it 4 times over a 35+ year period.  Every time, I answered truthfully.  Every time, the results came out differently.  No one who relies on Meyers-Briggs is fit to make HR decisions, in my opinion.  It may work for folk on either end of one (or more) of the ‘spectrums’ they use, but as you get to the mean/median, “your results may vary”.  Big time.

        1. David Greenwald

          The National Academy of Sciences committee reviewed data from over 20 MBTI research studies and concluded that only the Intraversion-Extroversion scale has adequate construct validity. That is high correlations with comparable scales of other tests and low correlations with tests designed to assess different concepts. In contrast, the S-N and T-F scales show relatively weak validity. No mention was made in this review about the J-P scale.

          Overall, the review committee concluded that the MBTI has not demonstrated adequate validity although its popularity and use has been steadily increasing. The National Academy of Sciences review committee concluded that: ‘at this time, there is not sufficient, well-designed research to justify the use of the MBTI in career counseling programs’, the very thing that it is most often used for. – See more at: http://www.psychometric-success.com/personality-tests/personality-tests-popular-tests.htm#sthash.eFY5YCGF.dpuf

        2. Frankly

          I don’t see them as a joke.  These and others are very effective at helping optimize development and career path.  People often don’t understand their own tendencies, and instructors and managers also can misread a subordinate’s tendencies.

          It is common that over time a person’s personality will change.  For those type indicators that are balanced it is typical to test differently at different times.  For example, early in my career I would test as introvert (get energy from brain work in isolation) and later in my career it was extrovert (get energy working with other people).  But in all cases they are pretty close to balanced.

          HR decision are not made on Meyers-Briggs.  It is used for development and career path.  But there is nothing stopping any employee from pursuing any career path.

        3. Frankly

          Overall, the review committee concluded that the MBTI has not demonstrated adequate validity although its popularity and use has been steadily increasing.

          Fascinating how this conclusion comes after the first paragraph where they determined correlation with the first three and did not even comment on the forth.   Just goes to show that scientist have opinions like a-holes… everyone has one.  But scientists more often appear to have an agenda too.

          But no matter.  If you don’t like MBTI, let me introduce you to several other individual behavior/personality profiling tools.

          I have had employees that refused to take these tests.  It was always their choice.  And surprise, surprise… they tended to be the most chronically unhappy employees.

          The point here is that we need to be helping students and the education system understand the development needs of the student.   And the matrix of criteria is more than identifying 3 types as you have done in this article.  I’m surprised that you would argue against this point.

           

        4. Frankly

          Note too that the benefits of MTBI and other similar tools is to foster awareness that people are different and that working with people requires understanding and acceptance of diversity.  Not the bonehead leftist view of diversity (race, gender, sexual orientation) but the REAL one where we understand it the individual human level.

          In best practice management and leadership we dig deep into this.  In the education system we steer clear of it because it is hard work and the employees of the education system are always pursuing ways to make their jobs easier.   So, adopt a low granularity of classification (e.g., GATE and non-GATE) and that works well enough.  Except that it does not work well enough.

          If we are to implement adequate differentiation, then we need tools to help us categorize the development needs of students at a high level of granularity.

        5. Frankly

          And you ignore the studies that have found a lack of test validity?

          They said “low correlation”, which means correlation.

          Ad you ignore the strong correlation with E and I and the fact that they did not even comment on J and P.

          Seems pretty much junk science to me.  I’m guessing that the “study” was funded by a company with some alternative testing method.

          The middle four type indicators cause a reaction with some people:

          Intuition (N) or Sensing (S)
          Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)

          And typically they are politically left-leaning people that have the strong reaction. In fact, they typically score high on sensing. And it is their sensitivity that causes them to dislike being tested as being highly sensitive and prone to behavior that is feeling-based rather than thinking-based. But knowing this is helpful.

        6. MrsW

          Note too that the benefits of MTBI and other similar tools is to foster awareness that people are different and that working with people requires understanding and acceptance of diversity

          Agree.

        7. hpierce

          Frankly… your 10:04 post indicates we are actually in synchrony [slightly scary]… perhaps I misunderstood how The M-B test was used in your workplace(s).  As you explained the fact that ‘balanced’ scores, or scores that don’t meet the experiences of the individual and/or those who interact with them (my spin) are not indicative of much of anything (except I’ve always found those ‘balanced’ ones to be the best team players and most versitile and intuitive), is reassuring.  M-B is not an end-all be-all. Yet, in my experience and those of many friends/acquaintences, some employers have tried to read more into M-B than I feel is warranted, and have used it to “track” people, which I believe is stupid.

        8. Frankly

           M-B is not an end-all be-all. Yet, in my experience and those of many friends/acquaintences, some employers have tried to read more into M-B than I feel is warranted, and have used it to “track” people, which I believe is stupid.

          The driving motivation to go through the hassle and expense of MBTI or any other tendency/behavior-assessment testing is to optimize for greater success.  In my experience just the lesson in human difference is often worth the price of admission.  People tend to be myopic… seeing their communication and relationships with other people through the lens of how they process encounters and information.  For example, I have two senior key employees doing the same job and they are prone to conflict.  They are both quite different in MBTI.  For a real-world example of improvements, one wants to meet and talk it out, and the other wants a succinct email and sees meetings as a waste of time.  Getting educated on the fact that they are both different and that people are generally different and that they can processes information differently, they are both more tolerant of their difference and are more likely to use better compatible communication methods working together.

          Certainly our personalities can change as we age, but much of what we are we are born with, IMO.   I think identifying personality traits of students would help in a number of ways.   But maybe the most help would simply come from adopting the mindset and vocabulary of individual diversity.   Kids are struggling to fit into standard categories generally concocted by adults.  This causes much unnecessary and harmful anxiety.  It also becomes the source of bullying.   By making the assessment and acceptance of individual difference part of the actual process and culture, it reduces some of that anxiety.

          As parents we want our children to find their way to happiness and success.  Some parents will put their own biases and constraints out there for what THEY think should be the end goal of happiness and success.  We really need the education system to help educate the student and the parents to make optimized intelligent choices.  It is when the child develops a feeling that he/she is not understood and the parents and/or the system is attempting to push them in a direction that is not a good fit, that engagement suffers.

      2. sisterhood

         
        “Kids wired with true academic gifts should be handled by the regular classroom with adequate differentiation.”
        Agree wholeheartedly. I am also against segregated classrooms.

      3. Robin W.

        “Kids wired with true academic gifts should be handled by the regular classroom with adequate differentiation.”  Right.  And there should be no hunger in the world because there is enough food, it just isn’t distributed properly. So do we stop providing food stamps and donating to soup kitchens because there should be no hunger in the world?

        Is “adequate differentiation” to address all kids’ needs possible in classrooms of  30+ kids whose IQs range from 80 to 150?  I don’t believe it is possible. But, whether it is theoretically possible or not, the fact is that we don’t have it now and are many years and many dollars away from giving our teachers the training necessary to be able to provide it.

  4. Bob Poppenga

    Having followed the AIM debate closely for several years, it seems to me that the conversation can’t go anywhere until the fundamental question of which subset of students is best served by gifted programs is answered.  It is evident from community conversations that there is no consensus on this point and little guidance from the District.

    So what are the intellectual and social-emotional characteristics of gifted children? I’m surprised by how few people refer to the characteristics developed by the California Association for the Gifted (CAG). Their position paper should be required reading (http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.cagifted.org/resource/resmgr/docs/position13char.pdf).

    Once the characteristics of this subset of children are identified, then the next logical step is to try to develop appropriate assessment tools to identify those children. Again, CAG has a well- reasoned position paper on this topic (http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.cagifted.org/resource/resmgr/docs/position12id.pdf). While specific assessment tools are not discussed, the strong recommendation is to use “multiple criteria that include standardized and non-standardized instruments, process and performance indicators, and multiple sources of data. A single criterion is not adequate and does not meet the requirements of the law”.

    Two other points from CAG bear mentioning:

    “Identification procedures must be based on a broad and well-defined conception of giftedness to ensure appropriate service.” This goes back to the first question above.

    “Identification and placement must be based on student need, rather than on the number of students who can be accommodated by a program or a pre-specified percentage of students.”  If your assessment methods are valid, then the number of students identified becomes a moot point. Of course the one “fly in the ointment” would be cut-off points for identification. Here again, it seems as though organizations such as CAG could provide best practices to help define appropriate cut-off points.

    If there can be some agreement on which combination of assessment tools has the best chance of correctly identifying students, then the next step would be to evaluate all of the recognized options for meeting the needs of identified students and trying to decide which option or options best fit with the resources available (e.g., number of students identified, professional development programs in place, etc.). In this regard, CAG states:

    “It is therefore the position of the California Association for the Gifted that gifted students should be with their intellectual peers for significant parts of the school day to provide them opportunities to interact with others who have similar intellectual and emotional experiences and responses. CAG believes that such opportunities are needed to nurture them socially as well as ensure their highest academic and intellectual development.”

    Finally, I do agree with Adam’s comment that there needs to be an honors program option for high achieving students who are not enrolled in a gifted program.

     

    1. hpierce

      Part of the problem Bob, in my opinion, is that very few who are truly gifted/think differently and who have actually experienced either a self-contained program or lack thereof, really understand enough to come up with a good program.

      You might as well have a group of desert-dwellers to devise an optimal program to teach Eskimos how to survive in the Arctic.  Yeah, I grossly overstated that, to make a point.

      At least half of those who come up with a solution should have to have lived the experience, in my opinion

        1. hpierce

          Well, not able to figure out if you are being facetious or not, having recent GATE graduates, chosen on a random basis (so as to minimize an imbalance of those who ‘needed’, as opposed to their parents ‘wanting’), as well as having some who went thru the program 5-15 years ago, who have also have college and some workplace/other life experience under their belt, yeah, I think having 30-60% coming from that combined population would be VERY appropriate.

          Just don’t think those currently in the program, still under the direct supervision of their parents, would be all that useful.. . concerned about too much tiger/helicopter influence.

          1. Don Shor

            Not being facetious at all. But I think those currently in the program can also participate.

      1. Robin W.

        There are people with doctorates who have studied the effectiveness of different learning approaches for gifted children and who have used methods much more scientific in reaching conclusions than the anecdotal approach you are suggesting (academics like our esteemed former GATE Coordinator Deanne Quinn).

        I find it amusing in this academic community that anyone would favor decisions made by a small number of people “who went through it” over recommendations made over the years by experts who studied and reported on the experiences of much larger numbers of people “who went through it.”

      2. zaqzaq

        Maybe they ought to create an parent advisory committee consisting of parents who participated in any GATE programs as a child, not just the one in Davis.

      3. MrsW

        I am under the impression that many parents felt deprived themselves, in the schools where they grew up. That’s why they’re seeking a different environment for their own children. “I wish I had been more engaged by school” is the kind of sentence I’ve heard often.

  5. Robin W.

    SODA – The high achievers you describe are not failing to thrive in regular classrooms because they have behavioral problems or are acting out. They are not thriving and are acting out because the level at which material is presented in a regular classroom is not complex enough to keep them engaged.

    Even with vast amounts of training (which DJUSD does not provide), teachers really cannot present material at a level of complexity that would engage both average students and students who are two standard deviations (or more) away from the norm, just like it would not be possible to present material at a level that would be appropriate for students at the normal and students with an IQ two standard deviations below the norm. You would see lots acting out in either of those scenarios without any of the students otherwise having behavior problems.

    My hunch is that many highly intellectually gifted students in regular classes might need an IEP but the same students might not after two or three years in good self-contained GATE classes.

    1. hpierce

      “My hunch is that many highly intellectually gifted students in regular classes might need an IEP but the same students might not after two or three years in good self-contained GATE classes.”  Well, it may be a ‘hunch’, but my and my family’s experience bears your ‘hunch’ out to a “fact” level.  I believe an intial IEP is critically important, but that, as you say, IEP’s/Gate/AIM are ‘transitional’.  And a good thing.  College and the workplace don’t have those ‘programs’, generally.

    2. MrsW

      I am under the impression that the GATE program as envisioned by Ms. Quinn, was trying to reach this particular group of students– high academic achievers AND highly gifted.  That is, students who would one day seek membership in Mensa International–people who’s identity is defined by their intelligence.  It has a culture.

      1. hpierce

        Yes… MENSA is a good example… of people who need to feel good about themselves by being good test-takers.  Talk about taking tests many times to qualify!  For most of the demonstrably ‘gifted’ folk I know, the one who 45 years ago tested 150 or over on the IQ tests, and who actually lived out stellar academic and professional careers, consider MENSA a ‘joke’.

    3. SODA

      Robin, my point I think agrees with yours:  the high achievers may be bored therefore act out and cause behavioral issues OR stop trying altogehter. GATE defined class with trained teacher can reverse both. And some may have behavioral issues such as mild OCD which if they are capable of the higher complexity, will thrive in a GATE class.  Do you agree?

      1. Robin W.

        Yes, agree completely. But not just the high achievers. The intellectually gifted who are not high achievers may also be bored and act out because the material or way it is presented is not complex or multi-layered enough to engage them. In addition, these kids may act out because of being social misfits if placed in a class where they have no intellectual peers. These kids need to be in classes where the material is presented in enough complexity to keep them engaged and where they have intellectual peers.

        I am always offended by the argument (which appears elsewhere in today’s comments) that these kids should be kept in classes that are inappropriate and detrimental to them because it will benefit the other kids. Since when is it right to deprive any kid of an appropriate learning environment in order to benefit other kids?

        1. MrsW

           Since when is it right to deprive any kid of an appropriate learning environment in order to benefit other kids?

          Can’t answer this very well, but I’m going to try.  Group learning is a social experience and has a social curriculum.  Public education is paid for with public money.   It is not appropriate to use public money to re-enforce and entrench social class divisions, even unintentionally.  It is appropriate to use public money to create and strengthen the ties between community members and raise children who understand and are ready to assume the responsibilities of society.

        2. MrsW

           The intellectually gifted who are not high achievers may also be bored and act out because the material or way it is presented is not complex or multi-layered enough to engage them. 

          That was our hypothesis for one of our kids.  Turned out to be wrong.  What then? DSIS.

  6. Scheney

    I have been reading all of the dialogue about what child should the GATE program serve.  I think it is designed to serve high-achievers period.  The two teachers that my son had only valued the competitive, high achievers in their classrooms.

    Highly intelligent students are still bullied by students and teachers in GATE, because they have a thought process that is different.   My son was excluded from classroom activities by his teachers starting in 4th and continuing on in 5th grade, and the school’s attempt to “diagnose” him with a mental disorder to excuse and explain their actions backfired when it was found by Barbara Sells that he a very bright, polite and considerate young man, but was severely depressed due to the bullying and exclusion.  Her words to me were that in all of her years of working with children, she had never seen such a severe case of depression in a child.  A keen sense of justice is one of the attributes of highly gifted and he completely understood what was happening, but didn’t know how to solve the problem once the adults got involved.  I was then told by the Principal of Valley Oak that he could return to the classroom, but only if I showed evidence that he was on anti-depression medication.  I refused and pulled him out of GATE altogether.   When I moved him to North Davis for 6th grade, his 5th grade GATE teacher wrote a note for his file that shocked his 6th grade teacher at the level of negativity and cruelty.  His 6th grade teacher told me that she was greatly disturbed by the notation and just didn’t believe that someone could find nothing positive to say about a 10 year old child.  The 6th grades teachers, who taught as a team, told me about it and asked me to describe what happened.  They, as a group, decided to ignore the communication and recommendations of his previous teacher and allow my son to make a new start.   My son flourished at North Davis, where there were children of different abilities and strengths.  He became a leader – voted by his peers to be the 6th grade President, landed a lead in the 6th grade play, participated in every event and activity.

    1. Robin W.

      My children had experiences like you described with other kids, teachers and a principal at an elementary school in Davis that did not have any GATE classes. They never had that kind of experience with a GATE teacher.

      But my kids were in GATE self-contained classes over 12 years ago, when the self-contained program was concentrated in a few schools instead of a single strand being at each of many schools. The latter model (which I believe was pushed by a current School Board member as her first attack on the GATE program) was a huge mistake for many reasons, but especially because it meant that the GATE teachers at each school did not have enough other GATE teachers on site to share techniques, approaches and experiences with.

  7. iWitness

    I find it amusing in this academic community that anyone would favor decisions made by a small number of people “who went through it” over recommendations made over the years by experts who studied and reported on the experiences of much larger numbers of people “who went through it.”

    Just a note to say how grateful I am for each of Robin W.’s posts, except for the one point above, and we’re falling victim to that in Davis.  There are good researchers and bad researchers.  I don’t feel we are at all well served by the UCD Ed School.  The reports pointed to by the current board as marvels of science have so many holes in them that they are exceeded only by holes in the Board’s knowledge.  I prefer to think of this Board as a very young Board, making decisions based on following the only person with any longevity, whose idea is that the program should be reduced to just those children who really, really need it, the under-achieving misfits who can’t jump rope or catch a ball, who fall victim to his classmates and the teacher’s ineptitude to deal with that.  I think we have a very large number of children who really, really need it.  Denying it is just like saying, it’s a good program so now we can drop it down to smaller numbers and leave the larger numbers out of it.  I would rather see those who are honestly trying to come to terms with this go to nationally known researchers than the lokels.  But they’re not lokels.  They are motivated by ideology and one wonders where they got their experience.  A lot of it is political.  And we’ve seen even good researchers end up at UCD and deny their former work.  Those  who went through being gifted in a hetero classroom and understood it then or later as wrong for them have every right to give us their personal experience.  One of my favorite examples is the line, you don’t really know a subject until you teach it to someone else.  B O L O G N A. The highly gifted really do know not all, but most subjects they study right away, before the teacher finishes the introductory sentence, and they are on to the next thing.

    Scheney’s comments about his/her son make me want to cry (he’s not the only one Depressed in Davis) but also to remind that not all principals support this program to say the least and are sometimes administering GATE without any first hand experience with the gifted.  Some school faculty are equally hostile and they tend to get along with the principals and none of them should have GATE kids on their hands.  There are GATE teachers and GATE teachers, too.  Sometimes leaving one school and moving to another for a new start is more important than fitting all the child’s needs.  I would bet on that factor rather than his being in a non-self-contained classroom if that’s where he was at North.  Also the empathy factor certainly worked on his behalf there.  It would with me! And right now, the AIM teachers there are some of the most experienced and most caring you could imagine and that helps the program all over the school site.

    1. Robin W.

      I was not at all meaning to support to recent UCD Ed School report to the Board which showed no expertise or adequate study at all. I was referring to 20-30 years of more thorough and well developed research in the literature, including work over the years by experts at Sac State and other UCs, among others. Please refer back to the Center for the Gifted links in Bob’s comment above and all the citations and research linked on the Center for the Gifted website.

      Agreed that the current School Board is inexperienced and has gaps in their knowledge, but it also has some members who are just plain hostile to GATE/AIM in a way that no one is hostile to special ed, Montessori, Spanish Immersion, DaVinci, the DJUSD sports programs or arts programs, etc. Query where this enormous hostility to GATE/AIM comes from, and the willingness to ignore the needs of a particular group of children. I have never understood it.

  8. MrsW

     Sometimes leaving one school and moving to another for a new start is more important than fitting all the child’s needs.

    Agree.  Or maybe when emotional and social needs are met, then academics follow.

    And right now, the AIM teachers there are some of the most experienced and most caring you could imagine and that helps the program all over the school site.

    Agree.

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