Mt. Vernon Register-News

June 15, 2010

Gifted program presents report to district

By RORYE O’CONNOR
rorye.oconnor@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — Response to intervention programs at Mt. Vernon City Schools District 80 not only help struggling readers, they have opened up time for Talented and Gifted Program students, said TAG program coordinator Diana Rea.

Rea presented her yearly report on the TAG program at a recent District 80 board meeting.

“With the new model of RTI, gifted services are at the same time as RTI, so they’re not missing any academic class time and not having to make up any course work,” Rea said.

Rea, who was selected to be a part of an early RTI committee three to four years ago, said the training helped her be able to see how to help TAG students be challenged but also stay in their academic classes.

“It opened up the door for me thinking we can help all students be successful readers and help out gifted students,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to help out the gifted program.”

Rea said part of the reason she was pleased this year to have TAG programming take place during RTI is that in previous years, some gifted students had disliked being pulled out of academic classes to do TAG program work.

“We never had a lot of students complain,” she said. “With this type of gifted education worldwide, it’s required for students to make up the world missed. Some students felt that being pulled out of classes while still having to make up that work, they kind of felt like they were almost being punished.”

Rea also said she was pleased this year because an additional TAG teacher was hired, Michele Harpole, who taught at Casey during the school year.

In her presentation on the TAG program during the 2009-2010 school year, Rea told the District 80 board there were 116 students served in the TAG program, with 15 at the Primary Center, 41 at the J.L. Buford Intermediate Center and 60 from Zadok Casey Middle School.

Of the TAG students, 19 percent were minority students, Rea’s report states. At District 80, 38 percent of the TAG students were classified as economically disadvantaged, with 40 percent of Casey TAG students, 39 percent of J.L. Buford students and 27 percent of Primary Center students falling under the economically disadvantaged classification, information states.

The TAG program taught 55 boys and 61 girls in the 2009-2010 school year, Rea said at the meeting.

TAG program students at Casey Middle School received one to two hours of TAG instruction one time a week and were pulled out of other classes to receive the instruction, information states.

Rea said there is a possibility that Casey students will be able to take gifted classes next school year instead of being pulled out of other classes for TAG program instruction.

According to Rea’s presentation, fourth- and fifth-grade students received 45 minutes of TAG program instruction a day during daily RTI at each grade level.

TAG students at the Primary Center received 30 minutes of enrichment a day during RTI, information states.