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In Defense of a Gifted Program

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I read 'Rick Gray's article, “Regifted” (Back Page, Dec. 9) with some puzzlement. My oldest daughter is a third-grader at Beaverdam Elementary School in Hanover County. She has been in the gifted and talented program since first grade. I knew my daughter was academically gifted at a young age. She was reading by age 4. By the time she was tested in kindergarten, she was reading at least two to three grade levels above that. She is currently reading at a 7th-grade level. She has never felt isolated or unaccepted by her peers. Quite the opposite. My daughter is very popular among her classmates. We wouldn't dream of having her skip a grade and lose all her friends. She would be miserable and it would solve nothing, especially since there is no problem to solve. Skipping a grade at Beaverdam is pointless, for the most part, since pupils keep the same teacher two years in a row.

While her experience in the gifted program comes closest to Mr. Gray's description of an “enrichment” model, as opposed to the “acceleration” model, it ends there: with a label. My daughter never has extra homework. Instead, she has an individual education plan that outlines the lessons to be learned and the methods in which she will learn them. While her some of her classmates are reading one book, my daughter is reading one more closely suited to her abilities. She is never, ever bored. Except during the summer when school is out.

The gifted pupils in her class work on independent projects of their choosing that substitute some of the basic reading lessons done by the other children during that time in the school day. Last year, my daughter researched and created a blog about Vincent van Gogh. She made a van Gogh puppet and discussed her favorite works of his with her class.

Her placement in this program has been the best thing to ever happen to her. I give full credit to her teachers; her gifted and talented teacher; the principal of Beaverdam; and the Hanover County schools for how smoothly this has worked. I have been impressed by the thoughtfulness given to my daughter's education and could not be happier.

Frankly, I say, don't fix what isn't broken. Perhaps it's broken elsewhere, but at Beaverdam Elementary, the gifted program is working just fine, thanks.

Claudia Brookman
Hanover County

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