Friday, September 19, 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

.

News

Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

 
School district may redevelop downtown site

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

DUI suspected in crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Scots vote to stay in UK

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Storyteller will draw on music, dance

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Register to vote by Oct. 20

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free workout class set at library

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis maps available at Chamber office

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Reception benefits endangered gorillas

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Downtown history tour planned in October

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Davis hosts its own climate change rally

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Qigong classes available for heart health

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Sick of being the bad guy

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Educate homeless with dogs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

By Our View | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Return to previous plan

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Save the ‘pine cone place’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Affirm our community values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Project has safety risks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Learn more about Paso Fino

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Take Zona and Bama this week

By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

 
A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

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

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A10

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Taylor Morrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Norcal Land

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Robin Garland

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Dana Hawkins

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Martha Bernauer

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Remax

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Melrina A Maggiora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Jamie Madison & Associates

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Marcelo Campos

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Julie Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Bob Bockwinkel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Juan Ramirez

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

James Hanna

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Susan von Geldern

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

Lisa Haass

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

First Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24