A summer program is focusing on future services for gifted students in Pasadena.

Soft SkillsAt McKinley School, highly gifted students in the Pasadena Unified School District are building rockets, working on Euclidean geometry, and studying Egyptian archaeology as part of a summer program sponsored by the local chapter of the Institute for Educational Advancement, a national nonprofit focusing on gifted children.

The president of IEA, Betsy Jones, began her teaching career in special education.  She pivoted toward gifted education when a student forgot to take his medication and she saw a difference that she said “made me realize this child was highly gifted and was misplaced, misdiagnosed.”

“I thought, ‘How many kids are in our school system, who are in special services, that aren’t getting fed intellectually? We’re causing them to drop out of the system,” Jones added.

According to Jones, the identification of gifted students is a challenge that perplexes many schools, along with providing adequate services. IEA has provided classes to gifted student for 19 years, but they are outside of the normal school day.

Jones is hopeful that a forthcoming partnership with Pasadena Unified which will place IEA instructors on campus during the day will be a positive step in the right direction.


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