It was such a treat to hear Dana Cope, GATE administrator of Napa School District, speak in Davis recently on educational alternatives to tracking and self-contained GATE classes.
Parents of GATE-identified children need not fear that their children’s educational experience will in any way be diminished if non-GATE-identified children are equally included in their classes and GATE methods and enrichment opportunities extended to all. As Cope pointed out, good, innovative teaching that challenges children on multiple levels is good for all children.
Napa differs from Davis in that it serves a much wider demographic range of students, so comparisons between the two districts must be made with care. Yet it is worth noting that in a short amount of time with limited resources, Napa has developed an Advanced Learner Program that has brought the community together rather than dividing it, narrowed the achievement gap, and raised the performance of students across the board.
Those who missed Dana Cope’s talk will, I think, find it worthwhile and heartening to view the video of her presentation and the PowerPoint slides that went with it. These may be accessed through a link on the home page of davislearningtogether.org, a website dedicated to proposing alternatives in GATE education.
Jill Van Zanten