Gifted students put in clusters

The brightest students in Oak Harbor’s elementary schools may have a more challenging school environment in the next couple of years.

School officials are spending the next year expanding the gifted program in elementary schools to provide a more stimulating curriculum for students.

The 2005-2006 school year is a transition year for the elementary schools. Fourth and fifth graders who scored in the 98th percentile in the screening process will be placed in a self-contained classroom at Broad View Elementary School. Other fourth and fifth graders that scored high on the assessment will be clustered in classrooms at Broad View.

David Peterson, school district assistant superintendent, said officials couldn’t find enough second and third graders to fill a self contained classroom.

While highly capable students are assigned to Broad View Elementary, officials will identify and train teachers in other elementary schools. Once their training is complete, each elementary school will offer clustered classes for gifted students beginning in the 2006-2007 school year.

In a clustered classroom, between eight and 12 students highly capable students attend class with other students.

Gifted elementary school students aren’t the only ones seeing a change next year.

Middle school students will see some additions next year. Identified gifted students will have a learning plan outlining their strengths and needs. The student will work with their parents and a gifted education coordinator to develop the plan.

Peterson said the middle schools will offer honors math and science next school year. The math class for eighth graders could count as a high-school-level algebra class. Peterson said a committee is still working on the details of the science class.

At Oak Harbor High School, highly capable students will be moved into one of the school’s “islands” which will be called “mountains” next year, Peterson said. Students would benefit from courses that count as college credit.

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