Gifted programs at the elementary level would move in-house to all elementary schools instead of being gathered at Peeks Chapel, according to a proposal discussed at the Rockdale County Public Schools board meeting last Thursday.
Currently, about 493 students in the gifted program are bussed from their home schools to Peeks Chapel Elementary one day a week.
The new model, which is used for RCPS high school and middle school gifted programs, would have at least one full-time gifted certfied teacher at each school who could identify, test and teach gifted students within that school. Students would still be given a minimum of five hours of gifted instruction a week.
Chief Academic Officer Rich Autry said the numbers of gifted students at the elementary level had remained around 7 percent of students for the past four years while at the middle and high school level, the numbers of gifted students were higher, around 11 and 9.5 percent respectively.
Having an in-house gifted program would allow more students to be indentified as gifted, said Autry. He also pointed out there would be no time lost in transporation and students would be more able to participate and be a part of their home school in all its curriculum and activities, such as field days.
The cost of having an in-house gifted program at each elementary school versus gathering gifted students at one school would be about the same, said Autry. Three gifted teachers would have to be added to the nine existing gifted teachers, but the savings in transportation and other program changes would make up for that.
"We've got virtually a wash this year," he said.
The aim is to implement this in the 2011-2012 school year, said Autry.
In other Board of Education business:
High school seniors will see a few more honors labels when they graduate this year.
There will still be a valedictorian, salutatorian, board scholars, and honor graduates (those who achieve a 3.5 GPA or more).
But the honor graduates category will be further broken down into "cum laude" for a 3.3 to 3.69 GPA, "magna cum laude" for a 3.7 to 3.89 GPA, and "summa cum laude" for a 3.9 and above GPA.
These labels mirror what is used in the university system, said Eugene Baker, assistant superintendent in the Office of School Improvement.