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
School District Office, Room 107