Changes to the Gifted Changes

So some good news: after a lot of outrage by parents of gifted children in our school district, the district has announced it will postpone any changes to the gifted services programs.

Well, sort of. Last week, the district administration met after a parent meeting earlier in the day, where they got an earful from parents who were not happy with having the changes dropped on them with no notice and no input. I spent a good deal of time speaking with the superintendent and gifted services coordinator, explaining why I was opposed and how the new plan would be harmful to Cordy, as well as others.

So after the administration met, their spokesman released a statement saying that next year would instead be a transition year. When asked by the media if that meant the changes were all on hold, he said yes, and NBC4 and the Dispatch quickly got the news out. We cheered and celebrated.

Then, less than an hour later, the spokesman issued another statement, saying that the first message was incorrect: they WOULD still go forward with the changes, along with a few modifications to help ease the transition. Hopes were crushed, parents were angry, and we were all confused as to how they could have screwed up the message so badly.

But THEN, about 30 minutes later, another reversal happened. Parents had already heard the first news, sending letters to the superintendent thanking him for postponing the changes. No one seemed to know what the correct story was. So, realizing how hard it would be to backtrack on the first release, they moved forward with postponing the changes for one year.

Crazy, right? While I have to wonder at the failure to double check your message before you release it, I’m still thrilled for the one-year reprieve. It’s a win on a technicality, but it still counts as a win.

Letters came home this weekend with the applications for the gifted ed ECLIPSE classrooms. Our school is keeping their class for now, and a handful of schools are still moving forward with a 3rd grade ECLIPSE class, too.

I’m really hoping the school district will take this year to engage parents on what works and what needs changed with our gifted services program, and will allow parents to take an active role in helping to shape any changes.

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