Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Research supports AIM’s aims

By Deborah Nichols Poulos

The AIM (formerly GATE) program of self-contained classes for students who have high academic potential is under attack.  There is so much disinformation being tossed about, some contradicting itself, that it is hard to keep track.

Opponents of AIM say the program should be limited only to those burdened with problems that make it impossible for them to learn in a neighborhood classroom. Some claim AIM teachers and classrooms receive special funding, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Some say AIM is “elitist,” despite the fact that it is the most diverse magnet program in the district.

These critics cannot claim that the AIM program is failing to meet its constituents’ needs, so they claim that this program is interfering with meeting the needs of students not in the program.

With this scattershot attack it is difficult to identify critics’ real objections to AIM. The Davis school district’s AIM program has been recognized as “exemplary” by the state. We have spent more than four decades trying a multitude of approaches for gifted education that have been used all over the country. Research has consistently shown that the “best practice” nationwide is the self-contained program for gifted students. It is no accident our program has been so successful that it is a model to which other districts aspire.

Funding for the district’s gifted program has been mischaracterized. I was one of three teachers of self-contained classes at Valley Oak from 1983 to 1991. I was also president of the Davis Teachers Association for three years.

AIM teachers receive no extra pay. All AIM teachers are paid on the same certificated salary scale as all other teachers in the district, based on years of experience and education.

AIM teachers receive no extra funding for field trips or special programs, such as Future Problem Solving. As both a regular and GATE classroom teacher, I know these activities are entirely dependent upon the time and effort a teacher chooses to devote to them.

In 1981, I took my regular sixth-grade class on a weekend trip to Point Reyes with a GATE class. In the 1990s, I repeated that trip several times with my Patwin general education fifth- and sixth-graders. No class received district or site funding.

AIM teachers receive no special funding for educational programs or training. I took all the master’s degree classes in GATE at Sacramento State at my own expense. Each school allocates its site funds to send teachers to conferences or workshops. Funding for these programs for AIM teachers is no different from other classroom teachers.

Opinions about current AIM testing, identification, delivery mechanisms, etc., have run wild. Some assert that the very existence of the AIM program or any other special education program hurts the neighborhood program. But these critics have presented no evidence showing AIM classes have any effect, positive or negative, on the quality of experiences for students in neighborhood or other classes.

Placing more gifted students back into neighborhood classes stretches even thinner their teachers’ ability to meet a wider range of needs, especially given increased class sizes. How can the district help all students reach their potential by ignoring the special needs of the gifted, best met in self-contained classrooms? The district would never ignore the special needs of the struggling student, nor the wishes of parents in other magnet programs, like those who want their children to grow up speaking Spanish, or who want to home-school.

We should not rely on opinions, many clearly out of date and prejudiced against self-contained gifted classes. Both the up-to-date educational research and experience support the district’s current practices, testing and self-contained classrooms, instead of enrichment or clusters. With the single exception of the newly instituted lottery, Davis has a stellar GATE program.

— Deborah Nichols Poulos is a longtime Davis resident and retired teacher. Reach her at dnpoulos@urcad.org

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

    Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

    By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

    Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Unitarians will host summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Where your gas money goes

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    STEAC needs donations of personal care items

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    Trio disagrees on best option

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Commenting system to change

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

     
    Support these local restaurants

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Let’s get the bench repaired

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Predicting climate changes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Clinton’s book is worth a read

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

    Thanks for emergency help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Moss powers A’s past Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Musicians perform at Sunday service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Lita Bowen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Sherman Home

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Vaughan Brookshaw

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Ciana Wallace

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Jo Vallejo

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Carol Coder

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Diane Lardelli

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Jason Sull

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Leslie Blevins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    David Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Open House Map

    By jboydston | From Page: RER19

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24