Green Book Adopts Revised Class Placement Rules
No sight of public opposition as board approves first reading of policy change.
Public discord over proposed changes to Green Brook Township's student qualification and classification process for gifted and talented (GT) programs was nowhere to be found at Monday night's board meeting, as Superintendent Richard R. Labbe's proposed changes for advanced placement and GT program regulations were widely praised.
"I was very critical of the initial discussions about the gifted and talented programs, but I am not elated by what has come out of it," said resident Bob Stanicki. "It was appalling that we weren't doing more for the kids."
Gifted and Talented and Advanced Clasess will be offered for language arts and literacy for grades 6-8, in science, grades 7-8 and social studies in grade eight.
Dr. Labbe's regulation policy will be governed by several criteria for gifted and talented qualification, which will be used to establish a Total Intelligence Quotient (TIQ). The TIQ will be extrapolated from total standardized testing scores, grade point average and report card grades and teacher recommendations, based on several behavioral factors.
The regulation also include what Dr. Labbe calls a “heterogeneous” class environment for grades 4-8; in other words, teachers will have to identify students at different cognative levels and present material that challenges them equally. Currently, students are tracked, with higher performing students goruped into separate classes.
"It was real important for the board of education and myself to hear the concerns expressed by the parents at our meeting in May," Dr. Labbe said. "If you have read the research on tracking, there is a high correlation between dropout rates, depression and anxiety (in a system of tracking)."
Labbe said his motivation for changing the regulation was the fragmented nature of the former program.
"You see one child in one grade two children in another grade or four children in another grade," Dr. Labbe said. "I find it hard to believe that only two or three kids are gifted and talented at any grade level. We are going to use a different process so we can identify 15-20 students at every grade level."
Dr. Labbe said that gifted and talented children thrive when they can learn with other children who are gifted and talented.