School District 51 to detail programs for gifted, talented

School District 51 will present information about its programs for gifted and talented students from 6 to 7 p.m. Aug. 28 in the cafeteria at Bookcliff Middle School, 540 29 1/4 Road.

The session will offer information about what gifted and talented resources are available in the district; how gifted and talented services change between elementary, middle and high school; and who to contact in a school about gifted and talented programming. Parents also can find out more about what advanced programming entails and learn more about how students are identified as gifted and talented.

The informational session is open to all District 51 parents, whether they have children that have been officially classified by the district as gifted and talented or not. As of last school year, 1,200 students in the district had been identified as gifted and talented but a total of 2,600 local students received gifted and talented program services, according to District 51 Gifted and Talented Coordinator Heather Baskin.

Baskin presented a routine update on the district’s gifted and talented services at a District 51 School Board meeting Tuesday night. She told the board the local gifted and talented program, which includes District 51, Plateau Valley and De Beque Schools, received a review in February from the Colorado Department of Education. The first-ever Colorado Gifted Education Review for the district praised the program for its enthusiastic approach to helping students but suggested the program do more in-classroom instruction versus pulling students out of class for advanced programming.

Also on Tuesday night, the board approved eight new members to the district’s citizen Budget Development and Oversight Committee for 2013-14 and reviewed Transitional Colorado Assessment Program results released by the state last week.

Board member Jeff Leany said he was concerned by some of the results, including a 16 percentage point drop in TCAP reading proficiency at Loma Elementary in third-grade this year compared to results from the third-grade class of 2012. Lesley Rose, executive director of academic achievement for District 51 elementary schools, said she wasn’t completely sure what happened at the school, but she said the test results reflect scores from two different sets of students and that fluctuations in test scores are more dramatic at smaller schools like Loma, where 31 out of 48 third-graders scored at or above grade level in reading this spring, compared to 35 out of 42 third-graders in spring 2012.

Board Vice President Leslie Kiesler said the district should celebrate what went right in TCAP this year for teachers and students.

“We aren’t where we’d like to be,” she said, adding, “I’ve seen worse.”


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