A couple years ago, RPS didn’t have enough sixth grade classrooms for gifted (G) and highly gifted (HG) students who had been identified in fourth grade in preparation for middle school placement. I am proud to have been a strong supporter of the additional classrooms, teachers and resources to meet their educational needs at Kellogg and Willow Creek.
So who exactly are G and HG students? Oftentimes people think they are the “really smart kids” who can do just fine on their own and don’t need different kinds of resources. These students have the same challenges (and often more) as their peers in navigating their years to adulthood.
Nationally, gifted students are in the top 5% on nationally normed tests. In Rochester, 15% of all students are in the top 5% of those tests, and 1-2% are HG. Some G and HG students are twice exceptional (2E): that is, G or HG plus any disability. (ADD, ADHD and dyslexia are often common.) These are the kids who are most likely to fall through the cracks; our program doesn’t start soon enough and go fast enough.
The teachers who work with our gifted students do a tremendous job with the time and resources available to them, and I applaud them for their efforts.
There are multiple criteria apart from standardized test scores, including portfolios, writing prompts, and evidence of other work to identify G and HG students. This is critically important in order to identify historically underrepresented students, those with learning disabilities and/or those who don’t test well. I remain committed to providing the resources necessary for their success.
GATEway Science Fair
Every year, elementary students in grades three through six can participate in the GATEway Science Fair which occurs in February. Each project is reviewed by at least three scientists or researchers. The student explains the project to each reviewer who will ask questions about the project and engage in constructive conversation. At the end of the fair, the student receives a written review sheet from each reviewer. There is also a presentation from the Minnesota Science Museum that students attend.
This is intentionally not a competition. The purpose is to introduce the student to hands on experience in the scientific method, to meet a scientist, and to stimulate their interest in science. Registration is through Community Education and there are about a dozen community and business partners that sponsor the fair. Additionally, there are many volunteers who do all the advance preparation and new helpers are always welcome!
The 30th annual fair will be on February 23, 2019 in the Gonda Building. You may not see me there, but you will hear me since I have the privilege of being the “voice” of the fair, making the announcements to keep it running on time!
This is another wonderful example of community members working together for the benefit of our students!
When we all work together, we all do better.