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More gifted enroll in Rockdale schools
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Students enrolled in advanced placement classes and gifted programs in Rockdale County Public Schools are on the rise, according to a recent presentation.

 There is a 14 percent increase in gifted students this school year compared to last year, reported assistant superintendent Eugene Baker at the Rockdale County Board of Education November meeting.

 “So this is a pretty significant increase and continues a trend we’ve had in recent years,” Baker said.

 Of the district’s total student population, 1,742 students are enrolled in gifted.

 In addition, there is a 27 percent bump in the number of students identified as economically disadvantaged who are in gifted.

 Baker explained that the state education department sets the eligibility criteria for the gifted program. The criteria include mental ability and achievement, as measured by performance on standardized tests. 

“So this is not something that districts get to determine,” Baker said. 

He contributed part of the increase in gifted students to more teachers pursuing gifted certification to teach the classes, along with the students’, “desire to excel,” and, “desire to be exposed to rigor.” 

 Students in AP classes went up 35 percent this year. That amounts to 3,669. And of those students, 1,576 students were identified as economically disadvantaged, which is a 49 percent increase from last year. 

 There are no eligibility requirements for AP courses, except upper level math courses.