JKCF Excellence Gap Report and Grantee Featured in Washington Post
Over the weekend, The Washington Post recognized the efforts of D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and D.C. Public Schools to provide more and better advanced instruction opportunities to public school students. The district was graded an F for its initiatives to serve gifted low-income students in the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s recent state report card, as the article’s author Michael Alison Chandler points out, so we are pleased to read about the district’s new endeavors to better serve students who are underrepresented in gifted education.
Chandler shares that as the district works to build its gifted programs, it is also pursuing a more flexible path to identify students for advanced classes, which should result in more low-income students having access to them. This talent identification process is based on the “schoolwide enrichment model” developed by Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli, whose Gifted and Talented Academy in Hartford, Connecticut, received a $500,000 grant in 2012 from the Cooke Foundation.
When D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson came to the District in 2007, there was no office for gifted education and no plan for serving the city’s most talented learners. The school system was overwhelmed with working to raise basic skills for the large number of struggling students.
The lack of stimulating District classrooms sent many parents looking for gifted or advanced programs in the suburbs, led them to move their children to charter schools or private schools, or prompted long commutes to schools in the city’s wealthiest Zip codes.
To combat such flight from the public school system, D.C. Public Schools is introducing gifted programs in its neighborhood schools, hoping to attract more talented and motivated students back to the system.
Henderson created an office of advanced and enriched instruction in 2012 and set goals for increasing the number of students who perform at the highest level on citywide tests, an effort “to meet the needs of all young people,” she said.
The District’s new commitment to advanced instruction is part of an appeal to middle-class families who are calling for more challenging classes. It also reflects a national push to identify and serve more low-income and minority students who have been underrepresented in gifted education, a growing well of untapped potential as increasing numbers of students live in poverty.
To read the rest of the article, visit The Washington Post.