A gifted program is expanding to younger students next year as well as piloting separate Math and Language Arts classes for gifted seventh and eighth graders.
At Mark Denman Elementary School in Danville, Sara Warren teaches fourth graders in the Motivating Academically Talented Students, or MATS, program for gifted students. “Most of our students have already met the fourth-grade learning standards. So we push them to do abstract thinking … and apply the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in the classroom,” she said. Her students will soon tackle real world problems such as helping cancer patients who lose their hair and recycling plastic bottles.
The MATS program will be expanded to second grade next year. “Our mission is to make sure all students reach their fullest potential,” said John Hart, assistant superintendent for secondary education. “That means providing interventions for not only students with learning deficits, but students who are accelerating.
“And right now, we’re not happy with where it is. We know there are more kids who would be better served if they were in a program that keeps them engaged and continues to challenge them and help them grow.”