Parents and students took surveys late last year telling administrators what they didn’t like about the county school system’s Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) program, and by recent hires for the program, it looks like they were heard — loudly and clearly.
Out of the 70 percent of parents who returned the survey, officials discovered that one of the biggest complaints about the program last year was that there was just not enough time dedicated to it.
Officials noted that was because only five AIG educators handled the 922 students enrolled in the program — 225 in elementary; 314 in middle school; and 383 in high school — which meant that during the 2011-12 school year, students in the program worked maybe an hour a week.
Earlier this summer, the Sampson County Board of Education approved hiring two additional AIG teachers for the 2012-13 school year, which will add at least one additional day to the program for students.
“Now they will be able to go to AIG more days instead of just one during the week,” said Charlotte Murphy, assistant superintendent for Educational and Student Services. “We are delighted that these two additional specialists have been added during this next school year.”
With the two additional specialists, the student-to-teacher average will be one AIG specialist per 70 AIG students in elementary and middle grades.
“In previous years, our AIG specialists have been assigned to serve in excess of 100 students each,” Murphy explained. “With the two new specialists added this next school year, it will enable students in the program to be served two, three, even five days per week, which is very much needed.”
The addition of the AIG specialists will also ensure that the other specialists are in close proximity to their home schools, cutting down on travel costs and time away from the classroom.
“It will allow the specialists to spend more time in the classroom rather than traveling around the county to get to another school,” Murphy said. “They will be in the schools providing services directly to the students. This program is data driven. We take pride in what we do here in Sampson County Schools, so it is important for them to be in the classroom.”
The importance was emphasized when Murphy and Ssuperintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker recently presented their data and AIG plan at the state level.
“We were asked to share our process with the state Board of Education,” she said proudly, “and we did. We did the same thing we have been doing with this year’s plan. We compiled the data and considered all of the responses in developing our plan. During the 2012-13 school year, the AIG student’s performance will be pulled out as a sub-group as part of our accountability model and we have already started that process. But we haven’t had a chance to fully compile those scores.”
However, Murphy stated that those preliminary reports show students in the AIG courses are making considerable progress in the program.
“We are proud to say that the AIG program in Sampson County Schools continues to move forward in the right direction and we are soaring to new heights,” she said. ” We just thank everyone for their support.”
Board members were pleased.
“I really do think you are on the right track,” stressed board chairman Telfair Simpson. “Thank you for all of your hard work.”
AIG program consultant Carolyn Lane then introduced an eight-minute video presentation, shot, produced and compiled by AIG students throughout the county, explaining the top 10 things what AIG is all about.
“As you can see, all of these students are talented and full of bright ideas,” she said after the film played. “We are just so proud of them.”
The presentation showed students dressed as pirates, acting out skits in class and sharing their favorite part of AIG during the last school year, much to the delight of the board.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to email@example.com.