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.
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, 2012Ralph G. Douglass President 20132579 Forrest Avenue Bensalem PA 19020Phone: 215-639-4816 Kim J. Rivera Vice-President 20135112 N. Hunters Court Bensalem PA 19020Phone: 215-633-0308 Elizabeth A. Cerasi 20136004 Snapdragon CourtBensalem PA 19020Phone: 215-752-3734 Yagneshkuma S. Choksi 20132488 Headhouse Square S.Bensalem PA 19020Phone: 215-639-2913 Matthew Grodsky 20153610 Creamery RoadBensalem PA 19020Phone: 215-274-5192 Wayne Lewis 20151780 Bensalem Blvd.Bensalem PA 19020Phone: 215-757-1404 Kevin J. McKay, Esq. 20151219 Cornwells AvenueBensalem PA 19020Phone: 484-602-5384 Heather D. Nicholas 20155116 Windward LaneBensalem PA 19020Phone: 215-639-5970 Pamela Strange 20151509 School LaneBensalem PA 19020Phone: 215-639-2586