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The Elkhorn mystique

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Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 10:00 pm

Liz Daniel shows off her students' projects in Vinewood Elementary School on Monday afternoon. One of Daniel's fourth-grade students, who did her project on penicillin, grew mold on several different materials.

Not only did the girl grow mold in dishes for her project, Daniel said, but she could describe why mold grows better on some objects than on others.

"That's a complexity level that you would find in someone many years older," Daniel said.

Students like Daniel's aren't uncommon. They're part of growing number of students who have been identified as being qualified to participate in the Gifted and Talented Education program, or GATE.

In recent years, Lodi Unified School District has worked to expand the GATE program to include more minority students.

Increasing the number of GATE students has put a strain on district resources and left some parents wondering what options will be available for their children.

The tension brought on by limited space in the GATE program, especially for middle-school children, came to a head at a November LUSD board meeting when parents spent the greater part of two hours arguing over whether the district should impose a lottery for seventh-graders who wish to attend Elkhorn School.

The only all-GATE school in the district, Elkhorn School is also the only option for middle schoolers who want to continue in the GATE program.

Elkhorn's mystique

A tiny school in north Stockton of just 279 students, Elkhorn School's reputation and test scores exceed most schools in the state, let alone the district.


The mission project is one of the many projects and field trips that the students in the Gifted and Talented Education program at Elkhorn School go through. (Brian Feulner/News-Sentinel)

The field trips - some Elkhorn students spend five days at Mt. Lassen - and extracurricular activities, including a speech and debate club, geocaching club and ping pong club, add a further mystique to the school.

"The learning community here is top-notch," said David Cline, a physical education and technology teacher at Elkhorn School for 12 years.

Cline said that sometimes less-outgoing students might be afraid of being the "smart kid" in the school. At Elkhorn School, he said, students are surrounded with children like them, and that takes the pressure off.

"Everyone's in the same boat here," Cline said.

Adrianne Go-Miller, a fifth-grade teacher at their school, said the small student population at Elkhorn School allows the staff to get to know the students better and cater to their strengths and weaknesses.

Elkhorn parent Richard Chabot, 53, said the small-community feel of the school was one of the reasons he chose the school for his son Jacob, 10.

"We knew once he was here he would be part of a larger family, and that's great," Chabot said.

"I do think that people like the idea of having a small little school for their kids," said Neil Young, a former principal at Elkhorn.

Young said the family like atmosphere is especially attractive to middle-school parents, who are afraid of their children getting lost in the shuffle.

Getting into GATE

Teachers begin to identify GATE students in the third grade using a number of different criteria, including test scores from the Raven - a test, named for its author, given to all third-graders to determine whether or not they qualify for GATE - and other standardized tests.

John Coakley, Lodi Unified's GATE coordinator since 2000, said that, before the district adopted new criteria for establishing which students qualified for GATE, approximately 4.5 percent of 2,300 second-graders were identified as gifted.

• Elkhorn School is a fourth-through-eighth-grade school that caters specifically to GATE students.
• The school's total student population is 279 students. Grades four, five and six each have 31 students in them, while grades seven and eight hold 93 students each.
• Activities at the school include speech and debate club, newspaper class, geocaching club, student council, after-school sports, Science Olympiad and ping pong club.
• Lodi Unified School District's Academic Performance Index score for 2007 was 709, while, Elkhorn School's API score was 969.
• For a child to enroll at Elkhorn School, he must first qualify for the GATE program. Once he qualifies, he must enter a lottery to get into the school for grades four, five and six.
• Seventh and eighth grade students must reenter the lottery and be chosen for a seat at the school.
- News-Sentinel staff.

Of that 4.5 percent, approximately 60 percent of the students were boys, while 40 percent of GATE children were girls.

In 2003, the year before the district instituted new criteria for seeking out GATE students, there was only one black second-grader identified.

"To me that was just crazy," Coakley said.

In order to make the program more inclusive, the district partnered with Sacramento City Unified School District to develop new criteria that would give students more opportunities to enter the program.

For example, students at Title 1 schools - schools that are determined to have a high population of low-income students based on the number of students who receive free or reduced-cost lunch - can enter the GATE program if they are in the top 5 percent of achievers at their school and score in the advanced range in either the math or language arts portion of the state standardized tests.

However, students at non-Title 1 schools must either score in top two percent on the Raven or in the advanced range in either math or language standardized tests.

The district also gives score enhancements to students who have disabilities, receive free and reduced-cost lunch, or don't speak English as their first language.

"Not everybody likes that," Coakley said about the added opportunities for disadvantaged students.

Both sets of students can also qualify for the GATE program if they can demonstrate through work samples that they are gifted or if a school psychologist determines that they qualify.

The district also moved the GATE screening process back a grade in the hope that the extra year would allow for a more accurate evaluation.

Today, 14 percent of the district's third-graders can enter GATE. And although the number of black and Hispanic students in the program is not a full reflection of the district's population as a whole, it's getting closer.

For example, while 41 percent of the district's third-graders are Hispanic, 32 percent of GATE students come from a Hispanic background.

However, Coakley said that the gap between Hispanics in the district and those in the GATE program used to be as large as 13 to 15 percent.

A GATE classroom for all students

After students qualify for the GATE program, they can choose one of four options. They can choose to be part of a self-contained GATE classroom (a classroom full of only GATE students) at one of three school - Vinewood Elementary School in Lodi, or Westwood and John Muir elementary schools in Stockton.

Students can choose to be part of a cluster classroom, in which GATE students are mixed in with other students.

They can choose to go to Elkhorn School; or they can opt to not participate in the GATE program at all.

Because the number of students who qualify for GATE exceeds the number of seats in the self-contained GATE classrooms and at Elkhorn School, parents must now enter their children in a lottery to gain admission into the schools.

The computerized lottery system, which the district instituted last year, replaced a first-come-first-served system that pitted parents against each other to see who could get their request in first.

"Of course there are parents who just want Elkhorn," Coakley said.

Young said he has had conversations with people as far away as England who were moving to the area and thinking about enrolling their children in Elkhorn School.

Coakley, too, has talked to parents overseas looking to get access to the school. Parents stateside are just as interested.

"I've heard from parents who say, 'I've got to get my kid to Stanford, and Elkhorn's the only way,'" Coakley said.

However, Coakley said the curriculum at Elkhorn is the same as the curriculum that's taught at every other school in the district; it's just taught in a different way. Furthermore, Coakley said, students can get the same access to GATE teaching techniques at the self-contained GATE classrooms at Vinewood, John Muir and Westwood elementary schools.

The difference is that once students graduate from the sixth grade, Elkhorn School is the only opportunity students have to continue with the GATE program.

As a result, the demand to get into the school grows even larger as students enter the seventh grade.

District officials are hoping that a new program, called Pre-AP Pathways, will help alleviate some of the pressure on the GATE program at the middle school level.

Pre-AP Pathways is an extension of the Advanced Placement courses offered in Lodi Unified high schools.

Contact reporter Amanda Dyer at amandad@lodinews.com.

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80 comments:

  • posted at 2:38 pm on Sun, Dec 23, 2007.

    Posts:

    sam: In my experience the private schools sort of wiggle out of doing what a child needs if the student is on an IEP and has a disability as well. I'm not saying that they are trying to be purposely neglectful (some are and some are not), but that is what ends up happening. I suppose it is because they do not have any incentive to make sure the IEP is followed for a particular student. The public schools have to follow the law so it makes it somewhat easier to have them comply.

     
  • posted at 2:34 pm on Sun, Dec 23, 2007.

    Posts:

    ccorrall: Considering Elkhorn a wondering learning environment for your student is relative. It is not a good school for all gifted children. Children with very high IQ's and children with learning disabilities will find this school frustrating and lacking in many areas. The extra homework, just because these kids have high IQ's, is ridiculous. Of course everyone is going to have their own opinion due to their personal experiences. The point is to step outside your small part of the world and see that this is not really a school for highly gifted children. It is now a school for kids that score at a certain level on a test, a test that has been manipulated to accommodate certain segments and that is unethical. It does not do anything for a "real" gifted child to throw extra homework at projects at them. The learning environment should be different than a reg ed class, not just more of the same. The LUSD GATE program has been going in the wrong direction for quite some time now. I would never put my child in the program as it is set up today. Maybe someday the district will get a real program together for highly gifted children, not just studious bright children. There is one teacher at Elkhorn that understands the highly gifted child and that is Mr. Raybe.

     
  • posted at 10:00 am on Sat, Dec 22, 2007.

    Posts:

    I am a mother of a child who is an 8th grader at Elkhorn. My son has been in the GATE progam at Vinewood. We had the first come fist served when it came down to 7th grade.
    Elkhorn is an excellent school with a wonderful staff and teachers.
    The students are not just nerds, geeks. Most of them are very good in athletics.
    For those of you who want you child to attend this school expect several hours of homework a night. Expect your child pressured because of the indepth studying. Expect your childs frustration of all the projects that are due. Can you and your child handle this? Some families can't. They get into the 7th grade and after the 1st quarter drop out.
    Our experience has been wonderful, especially when Mr. Young was the principal, at times frustrating with ALL the homework given in the 8th grade.
    There is also a mixture of cultures in this school which is wonderful.

    Think really hard if your child can handle the expections of this wonderful school.

     
  • posted at 7:57 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2007.

    Posts:

    Lodian, sorry I misread and did not realize your child had a learning disability. I was just just suggesting great alternatives to public schools. I was diagnosed with ADHD in graduate school (which I found amusing) and one of my kids was diagnosed with ADHD after 4 years at Stanford (getting all A's and B's). Sometimes learning disabilities are easily overcome with something as easy as a change in his learning environment.

     
  • posted at 7:21 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2007.

    Posts:

    sam: The thing is that a private school is not, by law, required to accommodate a child's IEP. If one person disagrees with what has been set up in a student's IEP then they can throw it out, or at least make it incredibly challenging for parents to fight for a child's rights...or what that child needs to succeed. If he stays in public schools he is protected by law.

     
  • posted at 1:14 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2007.

    Posts:

    Lee,Lodian, I think Cognito may be silent because it is the season to be busy. Blogs take a back seat to everything this time of year. Lodian, go talk to St Mary's again and I bet they would love to have your son. Also try Lodi Academy. I love their school. They have a superb private High school. They are an Adventist school but take all kids and produce some amazing students.

     
  • posted at 4:18 pm on Wed, Dec 19, 2007.

    Posts:

    Lodian: Cogito goes silent when he is stumped. Rather than continue with a mature conversation where he has been asked a question he can't answer, and look smart, he slinks away.

     
  • posted at 3:57 am on Wed, Dec 19, 2007.

    Posts:

    Cogito: A private school would not accommodate my child that was on an IEP at a public school. That's interesting to note, as St. Mary's (a private high school) is now welcoming one of the kids from Lodi High that set off that tear gas bomb. Go figure.

     
  • posted at 4:32 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2007.

    Posts:

    Cognito: I'm curious too... What private schools have your children attended?

     
  • posted at 4:32 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2007.

    Posts:

    Cognito: I'm surious too... What private schools have your children attended?

     
  • posted at 7:19 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2007.

    Posts:

    I always felt that there were 2 types of "At Risk" kids... the lower level ones who were lost or fell though the cracks and the high level ones, who were bored and unchallenged. I have to agree with OH BULL, what are your kids doing right now? It is we , the parents, who must make sure our kids get everything they need to be successful.

     
  • posted at 4:22 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2007.

    Posts:

    GATE not always a Gift: That's the truth.

     
  • posted at 9:57 am on Mon, Dec 17, 2007.

    Posts:

    Hey!everyone is entitled to say how they feel. As far as that awards program you attended Yeah that is a joke for rewardin kids for such non-sense. If they don't recongize those with honor roll grades I would wonder what my kids were really learning at school. Catch a clue reader. GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR KIDS and Get away from the Comment section of the computer.Besides what are your kids doing right now!!

     
  • posted at 3:31 am on Mon, Dec 17, 2007.

    Posts:

    Gifted children are different. They truly do need a different type of class. Just doubling up the work and tossing on the homework is not GATE. They need challenges and more innovative teaching. Quit trying to make all children the same. Open up more "real" GATE schools! Face it, when it comes to IQ's we are not all created equal. And that's okay. Quit trying to make "everyone" smart. Its not always a "Gift" it can be a handicap if not nutured correctly. Remember a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

     
  • posted at 10:24 am on Sun, Dec 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    Comments about GATE not being important, you are all wrong! GATE students are intelligent and perservering, I am talking about real GATE kids, not those who go in because of lowered standards, those kids don't even care about GATE nearly as much as those who deserve it! Trust me, they don't care about work, or school, they got in taking up room that could be occupied by a student loves to learn. The district should raise the standards. Let the true GATE students! Send the imposter GATE students back to thier home schools, let GATE kids learn!

     
  • posted at 9:52 am on Sun, Dec 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    Comments about GATE not being important, you are all wrong! GATE students are intelligent and perservering, I am talking about real GATE kids, not those who go in because of lowered standards, those kids don't even care about GATE nearly as much as those who deserve it! Trust me, they don't care about work, or school, they got in taking up room that could be occupied by a student loves to learn. The district should raise the standards. Let true GATE students! Send the imposter GATE students back to thier home schools, let GATE kids learn!

     
  • posted at 9:36 am on Sun, Dec 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    I left Elkhorn last year, so I can say this: GATE is a form of special ed. GATE students like myself have certain needs, such as quicker or more in-depth lessons, etc. that can only be accommodated at a GATE school. Going to Elkhorn should NOT be considered a sign of academic prestige or whatever. If you're gifted, super. Go to Elkhorn. But if not, don't try to legally force yourself in there so you can have the bragging rights to say you went to the "second smartest school in the state."

     
  • posted at 5:49 am on Sun, Dec 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    What private schools have your children attended?

     
  • posted at 6:33 pm on Sat, Dec 15, 2007.

    Posts:

    I think the solution to all this stupidity is simple. Remove your children from the insanity that is public education, and put them in private school. We have never regretted it for one second, and our successful children (now adults) are knowingly grateful.

     
  • posted at 5:26 pm on Sat, Dec 15, 2007.

    Posts:

    LN: I don't think anyone said that GATE/Elkhorn students think they are "...better than everyone or anything...". That's not the problem.

     
  • posted at 4:54 pm on Sat, Dec 15, 2007.

    Posts:

    At the school I teach at, not all 5/6 grades do mission projects. That is because we do them in 4th when it shows up on the state standards. Not only is the project to build the mission (w/o the kit), but to visit, research, do a power point, etc. And, it is encouraged to have parent help - that discussion and bonding "cements" the learning.

     
  • posted at 1:12 pm on Sat, Dec 15, 2007.

    Posts:

    I met some of the drooling GATE students at Elkhorn. Who do they think they are kidding? Now we have "almost- smart" kids redefined as Gifted and Talented. Gifted and Talented at what? The jerks from SEED are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Do we want excellence or collectivism? If we want collectivism we can go to Cuba where collectivism for "El Lider Maximo" is the rule. Fidel gives bonus points for being mestizo, just like Huyett and Coakley. If it walks like a duck -- It might be a duck!

     
  • posted at 7:10 am on Sat, Dec 15, 2007.

    Posts:

    Former Henderson Parent: The GATE program was different back when it was at Henderson all those many years ago. It has become something you wouldn't recognize today.

     
  • posted at 10:37 pm on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    It is extremely disappointing to read some of these remarks. Of course the GATE school isn't for everyone, not even for all GATE students, particularly those who do not want to be there. But it does serve a real service for those who qualify and choose to attend. For 95% of the parents it was an opportunity to fill a special need, for the other 5% is was an ego trip. Please don't ruin a wonderful program because you don't like those 5%. If anything this program should be expanded.

     
  • posted at 3:36 pm on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    I went to my daughters awards assembly. There were NO AWARDS for academics, but there were awards for attendance, smiling, kissing up to the teacher, "trying hard", eating all your free lunch, and my favorite. A third grader got an award because he was "no longer fighting children "every" week. No awards for excellence might indicate what we really want from our kids: Compliance and stupidity. This is a long way from academics.

     
  • posted at 3:36 pm on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    They are already doing that with the "John Coakley" style GATE program. The best and brightest used to mean just that. Now a deciding factor is how you spell your last name. Drop an "s" and add a "z", go to a Title I school and your "in" if you don't drool from "both" sides of your mouth. Aren't these liberal race games fun? If you can't make utopia in the liberal mind then destroy the program.

     
  • posted at 3:07 pm on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    By the way unlike in other schools when doing the mission project, kids are not allowed to go and buy the set. Just a thought.

     
  • posted at 3:03 pm on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    And just for Undecided's and all of your information that particular project could possibly be done by the parents as well. This project is a family project its supposed to be done with your family. I just thought you should know that.

     
  • posted at 3:02 pm on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    Hm. I've been at Elkhorn as a student for 3 years and currently on my fourth. Gate and Elkhorn is certainly not saying that we're better than everyone or anything of the sort. Elhkorn is just a place for kids who want/need more challenge. There are probably many things wrong in my statement but just from my point of view, I think that Elkhorn is a great school...

     
  • posted at 11:53 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    I would want my children to attend Elkhorn and yes they have been & are on honor roll at Morada Middle and in the special AVID program there. Parents need to step up and get involved with their children(school and after school) yes even elkhorn parents! CUT THE PROGRAM and help out all students. Put Gifted kids with almost gifted and see how they feed off each other! LOL

     
  • posted at 11:47 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    Several points of interest: Truth most of the kids at Elkhorn are on ADD and such other(mental) meds. Most of the kids will not fit into a regular high school after attending Elkhorn either.All schools 5/6 grades do mission reports JUST like the one pictured.(yes even better)Why not Close the school and split the extra money to help out every other schools in the district. cont'd

     
  • posted at 9:56 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    Ty boyd: What's your point?

     
  • posted at 9:40 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    Learn to spell... or maybe how to use your spell checker.

     
  • posted at 8:45 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    i shold nt have to go all the way to a strange town (which is the 6th most dangerous place in the country) every day just to fail at a mediocre educatin

     
  • posted at 8:39 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    the gate program its self is fine but elkhorn is pure predjudice They have a school where you have to be gifted to even get in they should just shut it down

     
  • posted at 8:35 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    Iam a gate student curently going to 7th grade and i wasnt bored in a regular the class room i did fine.

     
  • posted at 7:07 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    LUSD, middle schools are not equal. Compare Lodi Middle School, Mills and then the forgotten stepchild named Houston. Which school would you want?
    If you're lucky, not Houston. What GATE program? What a joke. Don't tell me a few "elite" teachers, who pile on extra homework counts as special "gate" qualified specialists, what a crock!

     
  • posted at 6:48 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    I agree with you. No lowering of standards! And you have great point, what does happen to these kids after 8th grade. Where is the high school? Gifted kids can get off track, just like any kid, so when they get to 9th grade and are mainstreamed back to regular school, do they perform or are they bored? We need to keep the challenge going! Don't lose them when college is just around the corner. Let's finish the job to graduation!

     
  • posted at 5:23 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    As it is now... the GATE program is a watered down popularity contest for the parents. The district wants to be too politically correct. The parents just want to say, "My kid is in the GATE class". Elkhorn just piles on more homework/busy-work. And all the while the REAL gifted children are waiting for a program that will excite, engage and actually teach them as they need to be taught. The whole program and system of identification needs to be scrapped.

     
  • posted at 5:18 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    continued...These are the kinds of kids that should be in a GATE program, a program set up for their kind of minds. A bright studious child will rise in a regular-ed class. A highly gifted child may fail. I believe that the LUSD GATE program needs to actually change their philosophy on what a GATE program should be and for whom it should teach....and how.

     
  • posted at 5:17 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    There are kids that have such a high IQ that they are bored out of their minds in class. Their thinking is so far from the regular-ed class that they actually fail those classes. Some think they are rebelious. Some say they are stupid. Some think these kids just don't want to excel. They would all be wrong....continued....

     
  • posted at 5:08 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

    Posts:

    There are a lot of very intelligent gifted people that do not get the best marks in school, especially in a regular-ed class.

     
  • posted at 11:14 pm on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    #5 post should have read as a statement... So, a child from a higher performing school (not a GATE qualified student, but close) can transfer to a lower performing school and then become GATE qualified due to the over-all lower scores at that particular school.

     
  • posted at 4:48 pm on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Actually, my child is an ex-Elkhorn student in his senior year. He is ranked in the top 10 of his class. Of those 10, I believe 7 were previous Elkhorn students. It was a great school, although I think we've seen the end of an era with the district changing the requirements. Bad move on the districts part.

     
  • posted at 4:42 pm on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    There are schools in LUSD that are considered underperforming. In those schools are gifted students that are learning and developing. Once they are labeled as GATE, they are removed from the school and placed at Elkhorn, Vinewood, or the other GATE classrooms. And what happens to the scores of the school. Let me think! If the top students are continually removed from those schools, then of course they will remain underperforming forever. Like placing all the best athletes on one team and wondering why the league is weak.

     
  • posted at 3:05 pm on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    It seems that the school district lowered the bar for identifying GATE students to include minorities rather than rising to the challenge of improving these students test scores. Where is the accountability? It appears that their attempt to be inclusive is rather racist, huh?

     
  • posted at 2:34 pm on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Lodi's top 2 seniors are both former Elkhorn students. several of other top 10 are as well.

     
  • posted at 2:05 pm on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    This program is a massive failure, it does little to nothing in setting the stage for further education, Where are the stats?

     
  • posted at 12:12 pm on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Trenches, I agree with you 100%.

     
  • posted at 11:36 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Has anyone done a study on the number of GATE students that graduate as the top of the senior class? You would be surprised ... very rarely have the top graduating seniors come from the GATE Program.

     
  • posted at 6:59 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Carlene: You should feel offended that the district "lowered the standards to allow minorities" in the GATE program. It "is" offensive and completely unethical.

     
  • posted at 6:55 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Parent: Good point. Many gifted children have some sort of learning disability, dyslexia, ADD etc.

     
  • posted at 6:52 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Undecided: Trust me... there are plenty of parents working on MISSIONS at Elkhorn.

     
  • posted at 6:49 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    5.) So, if a child from a higher performing school (not a GATE qualified student, but close) can transfer to a lower performing school and then become GATE qualified due to the over-all lower scores at that particular school. There's something seriously wrong with this system. If my student can be at the top of his class at the higher performing school, but not GATE identified, then why not see him at GATE over a student that is performing at a lower level at a lower performing school? This system is so off the mark!

     
  • posted at 6:46 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    What I don't understand is how is it to be recognized as a "gifted" program if they lower the standards so everyone can be included? It doesn't seem necessary to have a set precent of students that must be "Hispanic" or "Non-White". If they fit the criteria, they will be included. Race shouldn't be an issue. But like with everything else in the world and Lodi, it is the Main Issue.

     
  • posted at 6:43 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    4.) As the program is set up right now... it's not for the truly gifted. A child with an IQ of 130/135 does not need a special day gifted class/school. A child with an IQ of 150 and above definitely needs an entirely different class than the regular-ed classroom. All-day GATE classes and Elkhorn have too many high achievers and rapid learners rather than just the highly gifted that really need a higher level class/school. These highly gifted kids need different ways to educate them.

     
  • posted at 6:40 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    3.) The GATE program is something parents clamor to get their kids into rather than it being something for the kids that really need a gifted program.

     
  • posted at 6:33 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    2.) Elkhorn has become the goal. A suitable program for the gifted child should be the goal. I've seen so many parents that talk about getting their kids into the GATE program and Elkhorn that haven't even found out if their child is GATE identified yet.

     
  • posted at 6:27 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    1.) How can the district have decided to move forward with steps to identify more GATE students when they had no way of accommodating all those students?

     
  • posted at 6:24 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    The LUSD GATE program has so many flaws that it's hard to know where to begin to fix the problems.

     
  • posted at 6:10 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Whites are now the minority, so why don't they lower acceptance standards for them, also? At least, most can speak fluent English.

     
  • posted at 6:08 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    And lord help us if one of the gate children has a mild behavior problem they can't be bothered with.

     
  • posted at 4:09 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    This perfect program for perfect people should be abolished. The line clearly drawn by GATE teachers/administrators between GATE kids and non-GATE kids is sickening. These teachers and parents basically teach these little darlings that they are indeed better than other children. What does being black, hispanic or receiving free/reduced fee lunches have to with anything? All children should be receiving a free and appropriate education. I say cut the program and spend the money elsewhere.

     
  • posted at 2:55 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Ah, where to begin...

     
  • posted at 2:49 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Our kids were tested for GATE, qualified (156 and 154) , but we refused. They graduated with all A's and attended Stanford. They are true successes. Parent's need to take the time to provide the extra curriculum and challenges to keep our kids on track and help them reach their full potential. And we, as parents, both worked full time, but kept our kids our priority.

     
  • posted at 2:37 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Coackley is full of crap if he thinks that the only differance is that Elkhorn is just teaching the materials differantly! I recently went back to High school and my step Daughter who at the time was a 6th grade Elkhorn student was teaching me my 9th grade Math and Grammer work! That is a 2 year difference! How can he even say it's the same?

     
  • posted at 2:34 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    A recent UC study also found that taking AP (and honors) courses bore "little or no relationship to students' later performance in college" and suggested that institutions reconsider the use of AP as an admissions criterion. Already, several highly selective schools, including Harvard, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, require ALL students to take introductory courses, EVEN IF THEY PASSED an AP exam in the same subject.

    The University of Pennsylvania will no longer use AP credits to satisfy general education requirements.


     
  • posted at 2:32 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Meanwhile, an update of a 1999 US Education Department study showed that the "academic intensity of the curriculum" is a predictor of bachelor's degree completion.

    Researcher Clifford Adelman found that, by itself, AP coursework did not "reach the threshold of significance."

     
  • posted at 2:31 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    I feel the district is failing the children who have been at Elkhoen and they are giving the future children who are entering Elkhorn a disadvantage! The whole point of Elkhorn School is slowly going out the window. If the kids can't qualify then the don't belong in gate that was the whole reason to test them in the 1st place and by lowering the standards your lowering the quality of education for the kids who qualified fair and square!!!!!!

     
  • posted at 2:31 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    This school is outstanding and the fact that this Coackly guy is saying that the kids are learning the same material is crap! These kids are finishing 8th grade and going into public high schools to find that they've already completed the 9th grade and have to sit there bored in class, and by the way there isn't a gate high school! So they haven't even planned for the future of these children after 8th grade.

     
  • posted at 2:30 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    As a minority I find it offensive that they basically lowered the standards to allow monorities in! We should have to qualify the same as everyone else!

     
  • posted at 2:30 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    In the early days of the program, a student could complete an AP class and take a college level examination to demonstrate knowledge. Some colleges would extend "subject matter" credit so the students would not have to take the class in college. A recent California study also found that taking AP (and honors) courses bore "little or no relationship to students' later performance in college" and suggested that institutions reconsider the use of AP as an admissions criterion.

     
  • posted at 2:29 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    If the Gate School is so popular and the test scores so dramaticaly better why doesn't the district add another gate school or expand elkhorn slightly?

     
  • posted at 2:29 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Pre-AP pathways! What does that mean? Why not AP pathways? The Advanced Placement programs were originally started 50 years ago to give opportunities for truly gifted students. The program has become so politically correct that it means nothing to most college admissions officers. Its just another fancy name for another failed social program.

     
  • posted at 2:28 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Sounds to me that Elkhorn is for the chosen ones...and really who did ALL the work on that Mission in the picture? The Student? If so, that is incredible, but couldn't that same product be achieved in a classroom at a traditional school site?

     
  • posted at 2:13 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    What we need is a new GATE program called the "BUBBA GUMP ACADEMY". You can get in if you try, or not! This will give students the opportunities a child needs to succeed in school. We can have books, or if the child prefers video games. Who said children can't learn from video games? Maybe they will grow up to be professional "pacman" players? We don't want to hold them back.

     
  • posted at 2:04 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    "I think the end is at hand for affirmative action as we know it, former University of California regent Ward Connolly told the Los Angeles Times, noting that an anti-affirmative action wave washing over America will bring to an end the race-based preferences used for decades to help African-Americans, Latinos and other disadvantaged ethnic groups. No one in America, he said, should receive preference in education, jobs or government contracts because of their skin color or sex." Ah Yes! its called accountability and excellence! Whats wrong with that?

     
  • posted at 2:01 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    How can you take a program that is working, and effectively kill it by making it one more "social program"? What you need is a MAGNET program. The REAL GATE students will be found in the MATH and SCIENCE magnets. The "wannabes" can go with the "Equity" and "play dough" magnet. The only requirement, should be that if the kids can't hack it, they will be sent back to the regular classroom "equity" program.

     
  • posted at 1:53 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    So the determinant for academic ability is not academics. Its now based on your fathers last name. If you truly care about "the kids", why can't you raise the requirements so only the gifted are included? It must be a hurdle for kids with IQ's of 105 to try to communicate with kids at IQ of 135? I bet they know the real GATE students. Another alternative is to make ALL students GATE students so some children won't get 'their' feelings hurt. Waaah ---I wanna be GATE too.

     
  • posted at 1:40 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    If LUSD doesn't accommodate these students they will lose them. We're not talking about big number here. This is not a monumental task....it just takes a little re-organization. And don't be lowering standards for ANYONE! If you qualify I don't care what color you are, just find a place for them.

     

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