D-300 reviews its options for gifted program

CARPENTERSVILLE – Beef up the gifted program or get rid of it – that’s the task facing Dave Alessio and the District 300 Education Committee that he recently took over.

No stranger to district operations, Alessio reclaimed a seat on the school board earlier in the year and now is at the helm of the school board committee that evaluates educational issues before they come to the full school board.

Alessio said the committee was just getting started in tackling the gifted program issue and setting up a schedule to evaluate the options that are available.

The committee is supposed to report its findings to the full school board in February or March, and the gifted program will go on unchanged in the coming school year.

“We promised we would come to the board with something new,” Alessio said. “The current gifted program is not meeting the needs of the gifted students.”

As it stands, the current gifted program pulls 2,087 elementary and middle school students out of their regular classes for one hour a week. It’s total cost is about $500,000 a year.

“We need to create something better with limited funding,” Alessio said.

But what that will entail, Alessio said, still is unclear as the committee has just begun its work and not yet evaluated any other models.

“Some programs will be out of our reach,” Alessio said.

“We just have to find what will be the best fit for our district.”

The school board’s Board Educational Program Review Technique Committee in May recommended cutting the program, noting its price tag and that it had no measurable goals.

But instead of cutting the program, the board sent the gifted program to Alessio and his committee.

“We felt that we would like to have a strong gifted program but didn’t feel this was adequate,” school board President Joe Stevens said. “We thought it should be referred to the education committee and either beefed up or eliminated.”

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