Tuesday, January 30, 2001

CPS proposes plan for gifted students

State would pay for $6.9M program

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Public Schools proposes spending $6.9 million to develop new services for gifted students and create a gifted resource center, officials said Monday.

        But the plans hinge on receiving state funding to carry them out, spokeswoman Jan Leslie said.

        “We have no district money for this,” she said.

        All Ohio school districts are required to submit to the Ohio Department of Education a service plan for gifted students under House Bill 282. That law requires schools to identify and offer programming for gifted students, said Dottie Howe, department spokeswoman. The law does not say when schools should begin offering services.

        Not every Ohio district offers gifted programs, Ms. Howe said. The number of districts that do was not available Monday.

        “Right now we are analyzing those plans and hopefully that will tell us how much money is needed for funding gifted education,” Ms. Howe said.

        Cincinnati's plan calls for school-based programs coordinated by a central resource center.

        The district does not offer a full-scale gifted program. However, several schools participate in Odyssey of the

        Mind and offer individual programs, such as the robotics program at Walnut Hills.

        The proposed center would help the district serve students who would take advantage of an array of gifted programs from elementary school through high school.

        Services offered and coordinated by the resource center would include class enrichment, honors courses, advanced placement classes, competitions, clubs, tutoring and guidance services.

        The district tested students in November to identify those with gifted abilities in one or more specific academic and talent areas.

        Testing found that 2.3 percent of the district's 42,300 students meet criteria for gifted status.

        In November, a group of 5,500 students was tested. Of that group, 20 percent were identified as gifted in one or more of these areas: superior cognitive ability, language arts, reading, math, social studies and science.

        Students were selected for testing based on prior test results and parent and teacher referrals.

        Additional testing will be offered in the spring for students who scored close to the level required for gifted status. That means even more students could be designated.

        Also, in the spring, students will be tested in the areas of creative thinking ability and the visual and performing arts.


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