Beginning this year, the Reynoldsburg school district has expanded its programs for gifted students to seventh and eighth grades.

Beginning this year, the Reynoldsburg school district has expanded its programs for gifted students to seventh and eighth grades.

“We’ve had the gifted program for fifth and sixth grades for the past 13 years and now we’ve redesigned the program to make it a four-grade comprehensive gateway gifted academy,” coordinator Doug Gillum said.

One reason for the expansion, he said, was to better prepare students heading into high school where can take advantage of enriched and Advanced Placement courses.

“In the past, we didn’t have any gifted program for seventh and eighth grades, only up to sixth grade. Then when they entered the high school, in enriched courses, many were not as prepared as they could have been,” Gillum said.

“There was a void there for two years, so this new approach is an opportunity to keep those talented kids engaged in gifted programming, making it an easier transition.”

Gillum said the district uses state benchmark and content standards for basic curriculum but this is enhanced and supplemented with gifted activities provided by the teachers.

“That is to make sure the essential gifted skills are being taught, along with the basic curriculum, math, English, social studies, science and language arts,” he said.

The gateway gifted academy is housed in seven classrooms at Baldwin Road Junior High School. The 129 students in fifth through eighth grades who are now enrolled in the gifted program are bused to the junior high each day.

Starting in second grade, standardized tests are used to identify students as gifted, Gillum said.

“These are talented kids, students that have ability that requires programming beyond the regular classroom instruction,” he said.

District spokesperson Tricia Moore the demand for the expansion and creation of the gateway gifted program originally came from parent input.

“There was clearly an interest from parents to have gifted services at the junior high level, and we’ve talked to them all along the way as we were planning the program,” Moore said.

“The interest was very high in continuing and growing the services that we offer to gifted students and we’ve responded to that,” she said.

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