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Parents Worried About Future of Lynwood Elementary's GATE Program

Emails to the superintendent request parent input in decision to transition Lynwood's self-contained Gifted and Talented Education program to the cluster-style program available at other Novato elementary schools.

A flurry of email from parents to the school district has prompted the scheduling of a meeting with Novato Superintendent Shalee Cunningham tonight to address concerns about the future of the self-contained GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program at .

Parents who spoke during public comments at Tuesday night's school board meeting expressed surprise at learning of a proposal to transition the self-contained GATE program at Lynwood, in favor of a cluster-style program.

In a cluster-style program, students are grouped within a regular classroom setting and receive GATE activities from the regular classroom teacher, according to the California Department of Education’s GATE Resource Guide.

“Currently, GATE cluster classes exist at many of the elementary schools and there has been discussion of transitioning the Lynwood GATE program into a cluster program based on best practices, etc.,” wrote district spokesperson Leslie Benjamin in an email.

Parents addressing the school board feared that the decision was essentially a done deal--without any parent input and without the decision going before the school board as a policy change.

Cunningham apologized in an email sent to some parents and acknowledged the lack of communication over "the possible decision to transition the self-contained GATE classes at Lynwood to their neighborhood schools over the next two years." 

Your emails and the conversations I have had with some of you highlight the fact that parents have not been included in any of the discussion about best practices in GATE programming, and for that I want to acknowledge that you are correct, and I apologize. I will certainly let the GATE Leadership Committee know of your sentiments at our meeting on Wednesday, and recommend we slow the process down to include the parent community.

Benjamin said the public meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the district office was an opportunity for the superintendent to share information and listen to the community’s concerns.

NUSD's GATE Program - A Dialogue with Dr. Cunningham
Thursday, March 8
6-8 p.m.
School District Office, Room 107 

Chip Tingle March 16, 2012 at 07:55 AM
A recent Novato Advance piece here, in case it slipped by: http://marinscope.com/articles/2012/03/15/novato_advance/news/doc4f60f6ae9061c494424860.txt#blogcomments Does anyone here know the specifics of the research Dr. Cunningham points to: “I’ll be very objective,” she said. “I believe if we really pay attention to the most current research we will find that kids at their neighborhood schools, in a classroom with differentiated instruction, and with cluster grouping so they can be with their peers, do as well, if not better. That’s my personal professional opinion.” I've found no such research, and other concerned parents tell me the same. It seems like a straight forward, simple question to answer in detail with links and sources for all. I've also yet to find any detailed budget information, past or present, for NUSD GATE programs. Somehow this didn't make it into the PowerPoint presentation Ms. Langford presented the other night to the school board. She mentioned funding being somehow lumped in with "Tier 3", if I'm recalling correctly. Can anyone please explain this further? Thanks
Sylvia Barry March 17, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Parents - Make sure you bring your kids to this event tomorrow - Saturday! You will all have so much fun watching it and will be very inspired! http://novato.patch.com/blog_posts/san-marin-robotics-club-flex-geek-muscles
Sylvia Barry March 18, 2012 at 04:24 PM
NUSD added a GATE link under their Department Tag. Parent meeting night is 03/22 6-7PM at NUSD Board room. It also has links to the power point presentations they used and a few other things. http://www.nusd.org/pages/Novato_Unified_School_District/NUSD_Menu/departments/5860595878546589170
Novato Chess Club March 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM
We start a 2nd/3rd grade; and 4/5th grade Chess Club on Monday and Tuesday's respectively @ Lynwood Elementary. Novato Chess Club (HYA) is growing. (We begin April 2 & 3.) Thank you Jim Oser, Novato Chess Club (HYA) and Lynwood After School Enrichment Program.
Novato Chess Club May 09, 2012 at 06:09 PM
http://novato.patch.com/events/american-crown-circusrotary-club-of-novato-sunrise?#photo-6303311

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