6th Grade Gifted Program

Current 6th grade vs. Pull Out

PROS of Current, Self-contained 6th Grade Program

More hours of gifted education, with all instruction and curriculum at the appropriate level and rate for gifted learners.
Students discover that they aren't always the top in their classroom and that they don't automatically get good grades. They must study and put forth effort. They can no longer "slide" through on their innate abilities but must actually work.
Teacher has more time to individualize each student's education.
More one-on-one time with a gifted-sensitive teacher whose training and experience provide an understanding of the hidden problems a gifted student may have.
Full day of social and emotional support from peers.
"Peer pressure" creates an environment that encourages academic success and accepts individuality--rather than denying intellectual abilities to conform. This helps to build a better sense of understanding why and how they fit in, at a time in their life when they are going through many physical, mental and emotional changes that may make them feel alone. Research shows that such support in school is especially crucial for adolescent girls and students whose home culture does not encourage academic success.
Students receive report card grades for their gifted classes.  They do not have to "make up" work they missed in the classroom while being "pulled out." Therefore, being gifted is not perceived as a punishment.
This is the grade that most gifted students are first pushed to their mental limits and realize what potential they have, often changing their direction of education and career choices.
This is the first year of three of the most intense years of gifted education in the school system and prepares them for the 7th and 8th grade programs.
Helps to make up for the shortcomings of the K through 5th grade program. (Limited time and lack of individualized education.)
One of the three most revered years of gifted education in the area.

CONS of Current 6th Grade Program
Program does not start early enough for some of the more advanced gifted students.
Students need to be pulled from their home schools.
Students need to take a shuttle bus from their home school to the school hosting the 6th grade program.
Students have limited time--lunch, recess, and special classes--to interact with non-gifted peers.
Some students don't like having to spend so much time on school work, getting grades lower than an A, or not being recognized as the "smartest" kid in their class or school.



QUESTIONS

What criteria--other than the number of identified gifted students--were used to make the decision that the 6th grade program should be eliminated?

What proof does the district have that the CURRENT SIP program is providing the appropriate quality and level of instruction to meet the needs of all K-5 gifted children?

Without more individualized GIEPs--including more accurate Present Levels of Educational Performance--will "more time" in SIP for K-5 students actually result in more "learning?" Will the additional time be spent on busy work, "enrichment," or "acceleration?" Who will ensure/document that needs are being met in the regular classroom?

If 6th grade is eliminated:
What is the district's specific plan in terms of amount of time and training of "regular" and "gifted teachers?"
What amount of time specifically, by grade level, will K-6 gifted students spend with "gifted teachers' and interacting with their intellectual peers?

If the district has historically shown that 6th grade students can handle and benefit from the current format, how will those academic, social and emotional needs --which should be clearly documented in the PLEP--be met in a "regular classroom" with a "pull out" or "push in" format?

What will the impact be on the 7th and 8th grade GT programs--which build upon the 6th grade-- if 6th is eliminated?

What criteria were used to determine that 5th graders would not benefit from also being in a self-contained classroom?


BENSALEM TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
Dorothy D. Call Administrative Center
3000 Donallen Drive Bensalem, PA 19020
(215) 750-2800 , Ext. 4100 Fax: (215) 359-0181

Board of School Directors December 3, 2012

Ralph G. Douglass President 2013
2579 Forrest Avenue 
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 215-639-4816
 
Kim J. Rivera Vice-President 2013
5112 N. Hunters Court 
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 215-633-0308
 
Elizabeth A. Cerasi  2013
6004 Snapdragon Court
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 215-752-3734
 
Yagneshkuma S. Choksi  2013
2488 Headhouse Square S.
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 215-639-2913
 
Matthew Grodsky  2015
3610 Creamery Road
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 215-274-5192
 
Wayne Lewis  2015
1780 Bensalem Blvd.
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 215-757-1404
 
Kevin J. McKay, Esq.  2015
1219 Cornwells Avenue
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 484-602-5384
 
Heather D. Nicholas  2015
5116 Windward Lane
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 215-639-5970
 
Pamela Strange  2015
1509 School Lane
Bensalem PA 19020
Phone: 215-639-2586