Are Gifted Students Being Left Behind?

Budget problems have erased gifted programs in many schools.  And, in the last decade, there has been a real push in the classroom to help the children struggling with academics reach a new level of success.  But, in the process, are the high-performing students being left behind?

Many educators say, "Yes."

Check out this article in Newsweek, titled "America Hates Its Gifted Kids":

A 2008 report found that the controversial No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 indeed helped low-achieving students rise to meet a more rigorous course load, but shifted teachers’ sights away from the gifted kids, who seemed capable of helping themselves stay on track.

"Everybody perceives that gifted children do so well that they'll challenge themselves and be successful," says Beverly Katz of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted.  "But, the school system just isn't doing it for them."

That's why CAG hosts enrichment programs like Minds In Motion, coming up Saturday, October 25th at The Country School in Madison, for children in kindergarten through the 8th grade.

"We give kids a chance to experience things they don't normally get to experience in school.  They think they might want to be a pilot, so, we'll have a workshop that deals with aeronautics," says Katz.  "It gives kids a chance to interact with similar children they might not be exposed to otherwise."

The activities include Illustrate an Art Book, Leonardo's Robot Horse, Carpentry for Kids and Brazilian Samba.  All classes play-out in a fun setting.   Faculty includes educators from Yale, Mystic Seaport and Oddfellows Playhouse.

Katz says parents get a chance to ask questions and learn, as well:  "Many parents stick around, stay for the keynote address, then take one of the workshops.  They might learn about emotional well-being or how to challenge their kids."

Connecticut Association for the Gifted was founded in 1969 as a teacher-based orgnanization when the state was at the forefront of gifted education.  It provides parents with resources, research and contacts.

Minds In Motion, an ongoing, long-lasting program, isn't just for gifted kids.  "We have some families that will travel around the entire state and come to every single 'Minds In Motion' because their kids are so stimulated by it," says Katz.  "At the end, at 4 o'clock, when kids come out of the classroom, it's like we were feeding them sugar all day!  The kids are on such a high!  They're so excited, they want to show you what they created and what they learned.  It's just so exciting."

Registration is $25.00 for CAG members, $35.00 for non-members.  Participants must register by October 20th.

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