Sunday, July 27, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Alternatives to self-contained classrooms

By Louise Angermann

In their Forum piece in The Davis Enterprise on Jan. 29, Anupam Chander and Madhavi Sunder state, “GATE students need appropriate instruction in order to learn to their full potential.” You’ll get no argument from me there. In fact, this should be true for every child, GATE and non-GATE alike.

However, I disagree with their belief that removing GATE-identified children to a self-contained classroom is the only means of achieving this goal. It could very well be that GATE-identified kids would achieve their full potential by any number of other means.

There is ample evidence that alternative teaching strategies can and do work for both GATE and non-GATE-identified children. The Davis Joint Unified School District’s own GATE program 2008 Master Plan includes alternative delivery models such as cluster grouping, flexible grouping, split-site enrollment and high-achieving/honors/advanced placement classes at the three junior highs. Apparently, the authors did not believe that self-contained classrooms were the only effective method.

There is strong evidence of successful alternatives to self-contained GATE classrooms right in our own, excellent community schools. Neither Patwin Elementary nor Emerson Junior High have self-contained GATE classrooms. Instead, many Patwin teachers group kids by ability, and children who excel at Patwin are able to go on to Emerson Junior High and take honors courses right along with some of their formerly GATE peers. The end result is that even without a GATE strand, Emerson API scores have been the highest of the three junior high schools in six of the past eight years, and Emerson youths are able to go on and challenge themselves in honors courses at the high school, all while possibly never stepping foot in a self-contained GATE classroom.

Looking farther afield to many of our neighboring school districts also leads us to consider successful alternatives to self-contained GATE classrooms. Alameda, Auburn, Fremont, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Mill Valley, Napa, Lafayette, Piedmont, Pleasanton, Roseville and San Jose all use some form of differentiated instruction, cluster grouping, flexible grouping and enrichment models to effectively serve their high-achieving, high-potential youths, rather than removing those youths into self-contained classrooms.

The recent presentation by the Lafayette superintendent of schools is just one example of how other communities have made a choice to seek alternatives to self-contained classes, and by several measures, have achieved better results for all students, both GATE and non-GATE, following the transition.

I am not suggesting that GATE be dismantled and self-contained classrooms disappear. Some children may require that. But, I do believe that if the Davis school district actually would implement the GATE Master Plan it has on paper, including several methods of serving GATE-identified children that don’t require self-contained classrooms, many children could be served right in their neighborhood schools. This would enrich every student’s school experience in terms of maintaining long-term friendships, and increasing the diversity of thoughts, problem-solving strategies, strengths and weaknesses in the classroom.

It would allow us to achieve the same positive results without the negative side-effects of dividing 8- or 9-year-old children into two groups: one validated and empowered, and the other, much larger group, dejected and disenfranchised. Isn’t that worth considering? Don’t all children deserve to be empowered, to have high academic expectations, and to be challenged at whatever level they are capable? Maybe I’m naive, but I believe we can have that if we are simply willing to explore our options.

— Louise Angermann is a Davis resident and parent of three children attending Davis schools.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Community gardens stretch food dollars, study finds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Zombies by rail: It’s not just a show, it’s a trip

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Fatal Covell Boulevard crash recalled in court

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Humphrey Fellows will host Global Forum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Wildfire spurs evacuation of 700 homes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    State can’t say if it’s meeting drought goal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Rairdan joins race for Davis school board

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Ukraine launches offensive to retake Donetsk

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Israel extends Gaza truce through Sunday

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    New ordinance aims to prevent nut thefts from orchards

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Biggest book sale to date opens Friday at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Luna family matriarch turns 100

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
     
    Discussion of oil by rail EIR planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Mace Innovation Center is focus of meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Freeway crash injures two drivers

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

     
    Museum wants your old Davis High School yearbooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Affordable housing forum planned in Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Protesters gather at Primate Center

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8

     
    State awards $40,000 for historic property survey

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A8

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Vanguard hosts economic development director

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Get a sneak peek at documentary trailer

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Chamber Choir sings short summer program

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9

    Tasting event benefits Yolo Land Trust

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A9

     
    At the Pond: From Davis, it’s easy to get back to nature

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Tickets on sale now for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Forum

    Feels like a million miles away

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

     
    Here’s what you need for a perfect wedding

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Check doctors’ vitals before they check yours

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Husband’s let himself go

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A14

     
    Questions on water rights

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

    Campus turns on the tap

    By Our View | From Page: A16

     
    So, what’s in a week’s worth of waste?

    By Michelle Millet | From Page: A16

    Pat Oliphant cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A16

     
    Golf tourney was a big success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A16

    We can do more to help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A17

     
    New playground is wonderful

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A17

    Just Us in Davis: Little Rock Nine hero to celebrate with Davis youths

    By Jann L. Murray-Garcia | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    Sutherland presents 1st clinic; golf column on its way

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    New Korematsu teacher is an American Ninja Warrior

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Furyk opens 3-shot lead in Canadian Open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Gray wins 6th straight, A’s 4 HRs beat Texas 5-1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Kershaw throws 2-hitter as Dodgers beat Giants 5-0

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Nibali set to cruise to Tour victory

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Area sports briefs: River Cats take Game 1 of doubleheader

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Companies will collaborate on crop insect control

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A13

     
    Developer’s commitments: affordable and green

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    Go back to school with Great Clips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    Lagerstrom represents Davis at Mary Kay seminar

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    UC Davis Health System earns ‘Most Wired’ award

    By Charles Casey | From Page: A15

     
    Bartholomew hires new associate

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carlton Hope Meister

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Jonathan Eric Hollander

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, July 27, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A6