CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Education

February 2, 2013

Officials: Gifted student underserved in Alabama

DOTHAN, Ala. — Lisa Weston spends her morning teaching her fourth grade students about the difference between Renaissance artists and Impressionist artists. At some point, the word "chiaroscuro" is used, and later students work to make their own reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night."

Weston's classroom isn't an average elementary school classroom and her students aren't average students.

Weston is the LinC teacher for Kelly Springs. LinC, or learning in consultation, serves as the gifted program for local schools. To get in the program, students must have an A-B average and above average scores on the ARMT and other achievement tests, and satisfy other entrance requirements.

In the LinC program, students in grades 3-5 spend about three hours a week receiving more challenging supplemental education from teachers like Weston.

"It's more fun than regular class and makes me feel more excited about school," 10-year-old Eric Mendez said.

Weston said Kelly Springs and other Dothan City Schools are lucky to have the LinC program, as many school systems throughout the state struggle to provide programs for gifted students.

"There are some school systems with only one gifted education teacher for the whole county," said Amy Waine, a Birmingham-area gifted education teacher and head of the Alabama Association for Gifted Children.

Alabama has nearly 53,000 gifted students. The state spent $1 million on gifted students in 2012, the first time state funds had been allocated to gifted programs since 2008. The amount Alabama spends on gifted students is dwarfed by that of neighboring states. According to Waine, Georgia spends $300 million on gifted students, while Florida spends $267 million.

The bulk of funding for special education programs comes from local school systems. State officials estimate local systems throughout the state spent about $32-33 million on gifted programs last year.

For poor systems, finding funding for gifted education can be a challenge. Shirley Farrell, distance-education specialist, said rural systems struggle to find gifted education teachers. According to Waine, the state needs 620 gifted education teachers and has only about 414.

Waine said common misconceptions about gifted students may play into why gifted programs are underfunded in Alabama. Waine said many people think that because students are gifted, they don't need any extra support because they'll master the curriculum on their own. Waine said gifted students often need extra attention because of their proficiency, and if not adequately challenged they run a risk of tuning out in class and performing poorly in school.

"By fourth grade, about 40 percent of gifted students are already underachieving," Farrell said. "They don't see the relevance."

Farrell said parents of special needs students have gotten better funding for their children by pressuring federal and state lawmakers.

This year, education officials are requesting $6.2 million for the upcoming fiscal year. Waine said some needed improvements to Alabama programs for gifted education include providing more individualized instruction and increasing the number of gifted education teachers.

 

1
Text Only
Education
  • Winston County Technology Center Wins AAA/Ford Auto Skills State Championship

    Twenty high school automotive students from across the state turned out in hopes of tuning out the competition today in the State Finals of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition. The students fought for scholarships in the automotive industry and for the chance to advance to the National Finals, which take place at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The competition, which is geared toward students looking to jumpstart their careers in the automotive industry, is especially relevant for today’s struggling economy, in which car owners are putting more money into car repair and maintenance as a way of avoiding the big-ticket purchase of a new car.

    April 16, 2014

  • Variety of classes offered during Homeschool Spring Workshops

    Wallace State Community College’s Continuing Education Department has a full slate of classes to offer homeschool students this spring with the second session as a continuation of the first session.
     

    April 14, 2014

  • WSCC invesTECHgate 1.jpg Wallace State to host approximately 600 high school juniors during ‘InvesTECHgate’ week beginning April 14   

    Wallace State Community College will host its third annual “InvesTECHgate” week beginning April 14, and this year’s event should be the biggest draw yet.
    Various Wallace State technical programs are set to be flooded with approximately 600 high school juniors from Blount, Cullman and Morgan Counties. InvesTECHgate allows high school students who may be interested in pursuing a career in the technical field to get an in-depth look at those programs on the collegiate level.
     

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • WSCC Ponder named gold scholar.jpg Wallace State Sophomore Ponder named 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar

    Levi Ponder, a 2012 Vinemont graduate, is one of only 50 Gold Scholars among qualified candidates across 38 states, standing out among more than 1,700 applicants. The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic team and it will recognize Ponder at the Phi Theta Kappa National Convention on Friday, April 26 in Orlando, Fla.
     

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commentary: At many leading schools, football fails to make cut

    To my astonishment, 67 of the top 100 schools, ranked by participation in college-level tests, said they do not field a team, denoting a shift in American high school culture, at least in those schools that challenge their students most.

    April 7, 2014

  • Wallace State Earns National Award for Marketing

    Wallace State Community College in Hanceville was recognized by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) for its “Hot Jobs” television advertisement series during the Medallion Awards ceremony at organization’s annual conference in March in New Orleans. The commercials, which spotlight career opportunities related to degree and certificate programs offered by the college, are part of Wallace State’s popular Be One of Us marketing campaign.
     

    April 4, 2014

  • Samford University to Host Minority Youth Science Academy July 6-9

    Samford University will host a Minority Youth Science Academy July 6-9 to help prepare outstanding minority high school students who aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    April 2, 2014

  • Wallace State’s Practical Nursing program tops state ranking

    The Practical Nursing program at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala., is at the top of the list when it comes to the success of students passing the National Council Licensure for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) exam.

    March 31, 2014

  • Wallace State set to help with new GED exam

    With the changes in how the exam is administered and new fees, Wallace State Community College’s Adult Education program has taken steps to make sure students seeking to earn their GED are successful in their efforts.
     

    March 21, 2014

  • WSCC Sloan earns 99s WSCC Flight Technology student Chelsie Sloan becomes first female in program to earn Ninety-Nines, Inc. scholarship

    Wallace State Community College dual enrollment student Chelsie Sloan wasn’t sure about her career path as she approached her senior year at Corner High School.

    March 19, 2014 1 Photo