Today’s news:

Gifted and Talented Coming to Williamsburg

A new gifted and talented primary school may be coming to Williamsburg.

For the past several months, Williamsburg parents have been urging Department of Education (DOE) staff and Community Education Council (CEC 14 members to add more gift and talented (G&T) programs to North Brooklyn.Currently there is only one G&T program in District 14, located at P.S. 132, the Conselyea School, in Williamsburg (320 Manhattan Avenue).

“A lot of parents are requesting it,” said CEC 14 President Mario Aguila.“They feel kids in other areas of the district should have a challenge in school.It’s hard for a lot of parents to have to travel with their child 14 blocks away even though it is still the same district.They are saying, ‘Why don’t we have a gifted program in our area so we don’t have to travel too far.’”

At a recent CEC 14 meeting, CEC 14 Superintendent Jim Quail addressed the possibility of adding another program in the district, serving kindergarten through third grade, that may be located in South Williamsburg.

Quail said the DOE was taking a “proactive” approach toward meeting the demands of Williamsburg parents.

“I think it’s important that we share information with parents,” said Quail.“The (G&T) program meets the needs of very bright youngsters and it gives an opportunity to offer something designed to the expertise and intelligence (of those involved).”

Williamsburg resident Angela Corcoran, a parent of a child in a G&T program at PS 132,called the news of a possible new program “an odd proposition,” noting that the class size in P.S. 132 was at 35 before it was reduced to 29.

“I feel a lot of times, instead of contending with issues the district has, they launch new programs without making sure that the schools can handle the launch of a new one,” said Corcoran.“It is good they are [thinking about] bringing a new program to the district, but I think it would be really good for them to look at all the schools in our district and fixing the programs we already have.”

In other G&T news, on October 13, the DOE released an informational handbook announcing the 2009-2010 Elementary School Gifted and Talented admissions process. Parents interested in enrolling their child in kindergarten through 3rd grade placements must submit the proper testing request forms by November 6.

Admission to a gifted program, like last year, will be based on two tests: the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) and the Bracken School Readiness Assessment (BSRA).

“It’s basically a test of abilities and certainly not a test of IQ,” said Quail.“It projects how children can do in school and whether they are slated for the gifted programs based on the parameters by the department.”

For more information about the DOE’s Gifted and Talented admission process, visit www.nyc.gov/schools/Academics/GiftedandTalented/EligibilityApplications.

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