By Taylor Lolmaugh
MVM News Network
DONNELLSON -- At the Central Lee School Board meeting on Monday, Hollie Weber explained to the school board the identification process she uses to select students for the schools’ Talented and Gifted program.
Weber has taught the Talented and Gifted Program for six years as the extended learning program coordinator/teacher and knows the process can be met with much criticism from parents, students and the general public.
She said she tries to be as thorough as possible in the selection process because the last thing she wants is to miss a student who may need more challenges in the classroom.
Many factors are considered when students are chosen to participate in the TAG program, and all of these factors play a part in seeing the larger picture of a student who may have academic abilities not being met in the classroom.
She said her system starts by identifying students who stand out academically in any one area, as shown by standardized tests. Weber collects data from sources including the standardized tests, but also takes into account teacher recommendations and information gained from speaking with parents of prospective students.
Although grades may be a good indicator of a student excelling in school, Weber said grades aren’t everything.
“I’m not looking for the kid who got all As, because a kid who got all As might be very well served by our general curriculum,” she told the board. “A better indicator might be a kid whose potential seems to be there, but they are getting Bs and Cs.”
After Weber collects all of the information into a comprehensive list of prospective students, she presents the list to a committee. She removes the names of the students before it is presented to the committee, so they can be as objective as possible as they discuss and decide who should be placed in the TAG program.
In new business, after much review to the staff use of social networking and other forms of electronic communication policy, the board passed it unanimously. Superintendent John Henriksen said he believes there is sufficient language to meet the needs of staff who may be “friends” with students on social media sites for legitimate reasons.
The board also approved regular monthly prepaid bills, including a bill to Amtrak allowing Melissa Wolter and Becky Hassman to travel to Chicago to receive additional training at a reading recovery conference. The teachers were approved by the Teacher Quality Committee last month.
Henriksen said the teachers were excited to go and that the conference is money well spent.
“They bring that information back and not only do they put it into practice in their classrooms, but they’re always assisting other teachers any way they can help,” Henrikson said.
The board also approved contracts for Tessa Stidham as pre-K associate and high school special needs associate, and Kim Meyer as Quiz Bowl sponsor.