When classes resume Aug. 14, the Groveport Madison school district will embark on a consolidation program that will assign 130 elementary students identified as gifted to Sedalia Elementary School.
They will attend classes in 12 new modular units instead of being assigned to three different buildings, a move officials say will ease overcrowding at all grade levels while allowing the district to better serve gifted students in grades 1 to 5.
Lynnea Johnson, the coordinator of gifted education, said the move would allow the students to meet every day with a gifted-intervention specialist in their own classroom. The program will be one of the few in the area that offers comprehensive gifted education services for grades 1-5, she said.
Kyle Masters, 10, who attended Groveport Elementary School last year, said he thinks it will be "really fun" to have other gifted classes besides math when he starts school at Sedalia in August.
He likes being a part of the gifted program because the work "is harder and it's more unique."
"Every year, it gets harder and harder," Kyle said. "I am hoping it will be really hard this year because easy work isn't fun, but hard work is and it challenges my brain."
Prior to this consolidation, Johnson said, some gifted elementary students received more challenging services only one day a week for 4.5 hours and had to be transported to a different building for instruction.
Under the new program, she said, most of the gifted students will be bused directly to Sedalia.
Some who attend child-care programs before or after school will be transported from those locations.
Gifted students will also have the opportunity to explore new instructional materials purchased for the classroom.
"Our major hope is that they can really come together as a community and feel accepted as learners within their levels, and also that they will make great gains in their growth so that they'll have higher analyzation skills and their discussions will be more enriched," Johnson said.
"Their ability to move at a faster pace and go deeper into the content will be extended through this service altogether," she said.
Johnson said research shows that "greater gains can be made when we group these students together."
To be identified as gifted, students at Groveport are tested using Ohio Department of Education-approved achievement and cognitive tests.
According to the ODE website, the Ohio Revised Code defines a gifted student as one who "performs or shows potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience or environment."
Public school districts are required to identify students as gifted in the following areas:
* Superior cognitive ability.
* Creative thinking ability.
* Specific academic ability (reading/writing, math, science and social studies).
* Visual and performing arts ability (dance, drama, music and visual arts).