Improve all Davis classrooms

By From page A6 | July 18, 2013

Superintendent Winfred Roberson and his top administrators state that the AIM program serves “high-achieving students,” despite the wealth of available accurate information. In fact, AIM’s self-contained classes serve high-potential students regardless of level of achievement.

A large number of students in AIM are learning-disabled, or are under-achievers in reading or math or both, and who, nonetheless, are identified as high-potential. And then there are the students who score “off the charts.”

A classroom of AIM students is as diverse as, or more diverse than, a general ed classroom. Even the best-trained teachers, specializing in gifted education, are challenged to meet these highly diverse needs.

The superintendent says he is balancing “diverse perspectives,” “educational research” and “community expectations,” when the public record regarding AIM indicates that his statements give no evidence that he’s considered any of these factors.  Therefore, AIM advocates mistrust the district’s ad for the GATE coordinator’s position that lacks any requirement of GATE certification, training or experience.

It would appear from the ad, and the superintendent’s quotes reported by Jeff Hudson, that the job is for a “public relations expert.” The superintendent’s quotes suggest he believes that whoever fills this new position will bring all ‘stakeholders’ together around a ‘consensus’ that is ‘inclusive’ of all students in all programs. A less possible scenario I cannot imagine.

Despite all evidence presented at school board and private meetings, the superintendent and his cabinet persist in their view that self-contained AIM should be changed. If students not in AIM are not reaching their potentials, the district should focus on what can be improved in their classes, rather than on what can be changed to degrade AIM, a proven, highly successful program.

All Davis parents, not just AIM parents, should be concerned about this new direction. I fully support improving the general ed classrooms (lower class sizes, teacher support, etc). The superintendent and his team have the power to make these positive changes without changing AIM. How can all students expect to have their potentials nurtured if classroom teachers are burdened with larger class sizes and students with even more diverse needs?

Debbie Nichols Poulos

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