Coordinators Say...

PENNCREST School District

America is a nation invested in education.  However, that investment is all too often one that celebrate equality and mediocrity and does little to recognize intellectual and artistic excellence and achievement.  Although required nationally and at many state levels to identify and give an appropriate education to students of outstanding “gifts,” the nation is currently focused on the child who may, inadvertently, be “left behind.”  In that regard, it may be noted that America is “squandering one of its most precious resources – the gifts, talents, and high interests of many of its students” (National Excellence 1993)

In Tillie Olsen’s short story “I Stand here Ironing,” when queried by an educator about what she intended to do about her daughter’s “gift” the mother’s thought is “We have left it all to her, and the gift  has as often eddied inside, clogged and clotted, as been used and growing.”  She tells the guidance counselor to, “Let her be.  So all that is in her will not bloom – but in how many does it?  There is still enough left to live by.”  She states her daughter is a ‘child of her age, of depression, of war, of fear.”  Although written many years ago, this story is still pertinent today, and has valuable lesson to teach educators and parents.  Current society narrowly avoided a depression and is embroiled in a war.  In today’s competitive society “enough is left to live by,” isn’t acceptable.  It is the responsibility of educators to see that all that is in each child does bloom.  Mediocrity is not an option.  Children should be “viewed as a national resource for the betterment of society,” and should be educated so that both the child and society realize the full advantage of their ‘gifts.”

Allegheny College, through the Gifted/Talented Collaboration with area school districts has given area student the opportunity to explore their gifts and develop their  potential.  As a result of this opportunity, lifelong career decisions have been made and lasting friendships forged.  The intellectual, cultural and artistic exposure has been invaluable.  This program has touched hundreds and hundreds of lives.  It has taken rural students out of their comfort zone, teaching them to look beyond what is easily accessible.  It has challenged student to think, to act, and to develop their “gifts.” As an area educator and coordinator for the PENNCREST School district gifted and talented program, thank you Allegheny College for helping us see that all that is in our children “does bloom.”

This program gives opportunity to students where none would otherwise exist!

Judy Mumford, retired Gifted Coordinator  -  current Program Co-Coordinator

Crawford Central School District

The Gifted and Talented Enrichment program hosted by Allegheny College provides countless benefits to Crawford Central School District students.  It gives them access to instruction in a vast array of topics that we are not able to provide in the regular school setting.  It gives students early, regular access to the college setting, helping to expand their thinking about their own future education. It gives them the opportunity to meet other like-minded students from area schools; to form an alliance of peers that may not be present in their own school buildings. It allows them to have a stronger voice in their education because they choose to study only the areas that interest them while participating. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the pedagogy and instructional practices employed in many of the courses allow students to meaningfully engage in the learning process through critical and creative thinking processes which, in many cases, they have not been encouraged to use elsewhere in their educational experience.

Jill M. Hyatt, Senior High Gifted Coordinator

Conneaut School District

The G/T program that is offered through Allegheny College provides our students with an opportunity for learning that they are not able to access at the home high school.  The courses offered, the higher level of thinking required by the teaching staff, the opportunity for dialogue with students from other districts, and a feel for a college campus all expose them to a learning experience they would not otherwise enjoy.  For many of my high school students (especially those with a GIEP – gifted individual educational plan), this program is an outlet for their creativity and uniqueness.  
The middle school program offers the 7/8 grade students an opportunity to explore the many areas of the Arts before they become “jaded” by the attitudes of their peers.  With the stress put upon the public schools to address PSSA issues, strong students become frustrated by the repetition of preparation for testing.  The Arts Immersion program gives them an outlet for their energy while exposing them to a world that exists, but is too often unseen, within the realm of academia.  
Students from my district love their “Allegheny days”.  They work hard to maintain strong standing in the regular classroom academics so that they are not in jeopardy of losing their time at this program.  Many report back that they have been changed because of this opportunity.  It is the best part of their school week! 

Lori Putman, Gifted Coordinator