THE GIFTED/BLENDED CLASSES OF CUNNINGHAM CREEK ELEMENTARY
Frequently Asked Questions about the program
Q. Are gifted children who are NOT exposed to ability grouping at risk for problems?
A. Yes. A 1993 U.S. Department of Education report, National Excellence, noted that the regular school curriculum fails to challenge gifted students, most of who have mastered up to half of the material before it is taught. When such students are forced to study material they already know and to spend much more time than necessary on each new topic, they become bored. Boredom is a risk factor for academic problems, including loss of interest, lack of motivation, and underachievement. Such problems may occur even with ability grouping, if the curriculum is inappropriate for gifted students. Social and emotional risks may be present in mixed-ability settings, as well. The more outstanding a student’s abilities, the more likely that student is to have difficulty fitting in socially with fellow students in a mixed-ability classroom. Therefore, highly gifted individuals often benefit socially, as well as academically, from ability grouping. Perhaps the best way to sum up the research on ability grouping is to quote James and Chen-Lin Kulik: …the damage would be truly profound if…schools eliminated enriched and accelerated classes for their brightest learners. The achievement level of such students would fall dramatically if they were required to move at the common pace. No one can be certain that there would be a way to repair the harm that would be done. For more information, see the chapter, “Ability Grouping,” by James A. and Chen-Lin C. Kulik, in the Handbook of Gifted Education , edited by N. Colangelo & G. Davis (1997, 2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Q. I’m concerned that my child might not be able to keep up with the work in the gifted program.
A. The program is not designed to accelerate instruction but rather to broaden the academic experiences of the students. When a child first enters the program he or she may have to go through an adjustment period but usually after a month or two, new kids fit right in. It is extremely rare for a child to leave the program once enrolled.
Q. What about transportation? How will my child get to and from Cunningham Creek?
A. Transportation to the program at Cunningham will be provided to all qualified students who live in the CCE zone. New in 2008-09, gifted services will be provided at home school zones.
Q. Do the kids in the program have more homework than the kids in a regular education class?
A. As a general rule; no. There may be some issues with time management since projects are an important part of what we do, but the kids get better at this as they gain experience.
Q. I really don’t want my child to be a part of an elitist program. Do the parents and kids in the program have a “snobby” attitude?
A. This is a common misconception that, in our experience, should not be a concern. Over the years the vast majority of the children that we see in the gifted program are respectful, happy, and very compassionate toward others, including their peers. They are also, in the very best sense of the term, mature beyond their years.
Q. Will my child be removed from the program if she does not get good grades?
A. No, underachievement is a common trait in gifted children so we are used to dealing with this issue. We will work with you and your child to try to motivate him or her to meet their potential. It is not unusual for gifted kids to struggle academically at the elementary level and then go on to achieve academic success.
Q. If my child does not like being in the program can we take him out?
A. Yes, it is your right to take your child out of the gifted program at any time.
Thank You to Jack Edwards and Webster Elementary for generously allowing CCE to use this information.