The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 13, 2013

ECPS revises plan for Gifted students


HOBGOOD — Edgecombe County Public Schools has updated its plan for Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students, in an effort to ensure that all learners are growing. The plan was submitted to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

“It’s a comprehensive plan that looks at all state standards,” AIG Coordinator Angela Strother said. “The focus is on professional development, partnerships within the total school community (parents, teachers), program accountability, curriculum, student identification, and partnerships with the community.”

Strother emphasized that the AIG program is there to “challenge children with academics and extracurricular offerings beyond the regular classroom setting” and that parents plan an important role in the program. She said the “Odyssey of the Mind program is one way that parents can get involved. First, they form a team and the parents are there as coaches, while the students show their ways of being innovative and resourceful. It’s a way to engage the community after school while teachers and the school community provides support.”

Strother described the Duke Tip program, through Duke University, as another resource for gifted learners. “Parents have to sign their students up but students must meet a minimum score requirement,” Strother says. “Because our county is a Duke Tip county, there are summer enrichment opportunities for students and Socratic seminar lessons and workshops for teachers.  The program also provides early access to the SAT and gives parents ideas for what they can do with their gifted students.”

The AIG program, however, is not just about gifted students. It is also designed to provide support for students who show potential to provide them with the opportunity to learn right along with gifted students in an effort to broaden their scope.

“With our revised plan, we are trying to involve the stakeholder to get more awareness of AIG within our district,” stated Karen Harrington, director of Exceptional Children in Edgecombe County. “Teachers, parents, and the community promote AIG students sometimes because they’re doing well academically.  We have to continue to grow those students, as well.”

Within the AIG plan, the aim is to use research-based curriculum like “Jacob’s Ladder” and “William and Mary” because they are specially designed for gifted students.

“As a spin off from our plan, we are hoping to start a parent advisory group that will meet and address issues with parents about growing gifted students in the home.  Sometimes they have social and emotional needs that may not be addressed within the school setting.  There are strategies that can assist parents. The great thing is that the strategies used for gifted students are not just good for gifted students. They are good for all students,” Strother said.