Please Don’t Cut Enrichment in Cranston

It has come to my attention via the Eden Park Elementary listserv that the school committee is considering eliminating EPIC (Enrichment Program in Cranston) in order to deal with the budget deficit for the schools. As a parent and taxpayer, I urge the school committee not to eliminate this program.

It’s important to remember that EPIC teachers not only teach advanced learners, they work with the classroom teachers to make education more individually tailored for everyone. From the EPIC advisory committee:

EPIC consultants teach whole class lessons, and provide professional development for teachers on differentiated education — how to teach the same lesson for multiple level learners. This is a method proven to raise test scores. EPIC touches all elementary school kids in Cranston.

Please write to the school committee (click here for email addresses) to let them know that cutting funding for enrichment is not the answer to Cranston’s budget problems.

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4 responses

  1. Here is a copy of a sample letter to the school committee, provided by the EPIC advisory board:

    Dear School Committee Members,

    I am requesting that you support the EPIC program. As a parent of a child with the special needs of being academically gifted, I urge you to consider all of the implications before cutting this program and negatively affecting my child (ren). As a constituent, I have always expected that the School Committee members be advocates for the quality of education for all of our students in Cranston. I also expect as advocates for education you will prioritize funding programs that are educational first and socially or athletically beneficial second.

    The broad scope of the EPIC program directly enriches the lives of every Cranston student with regular in-class instruction. This enrichment and mentoring program challenges students of all levels to reach beyond the learning experience that they get during their regular classroom curriculum. Our EPIC Consultants regularly hold workshops and training in differential teaching skills for our teachers giving them the tools necessary to ensure each child excels. Our exceptional students are targeted and challenged in small group components. This all inclusive approach, together with the essential and necessary small group program for those with special needs, assists every student to perform at their highest level on NECAP and IOWA test scores.

    Cranston currently allocates less than four tenths of one percent of its expenditures towards meeting the unique needs of our exceptional students and successfully enriching every student.

    Unlike social and athletic programs that can be replaced or duplicated outside of school by numerous private organizations like CLCF, this type of education cannot be found outside of school.

    It is your duty to fully examine this subject and to vote from a vantage point of being thoroughly informed. Please visit this website: http://www.nagc.org to learn more. After reviewing this material, I feel confident you will consequently weigh the budget options according to your function and role as a school committee member and retain funding for this necessary program.

    Facts to support my request:
    -US News World Report has reported that between 18-25% of these special needs students who are in districts that do not have enrichment programs drop out of high school. That gifted children from low income families are 8X more likely than average students to drop out.
    - Gifted elementary students already know between 40-50% of the material covered in their regular class. (NACG)
    -The Gifted Child Quarterly publication found that when pull-out gifted programs are eliminated, parents reported that their children were experiencing “a decline in energy, curiosity, and intrinsic motivation to achieve at high levels and were disengaging from the traditional curriculum�.
    -It is estimated that 20-25% of gifted children have social and emotional difficulties, about twice as many as in the general population. When their needs are not met a cycle of underachievement begins. (NACG) This could result in additional IEP’s for these former EPIC students and potential litigation if their special needs are not met.

    Don’t let it be on your watch that these children are Left Behind.

    Respectfully,

  2. Jesse from Cranston

    So, after closing an elementary school, cramming 6th-graders into the remaining buildings (and trailers), and firing 15 staffers from the middle schools, now it’s time to cut teacher support.

    And let’s not forget, the contracts are up this year. Imagine the disaster they’ll make of THAT.

    Frequent readers know my feelings on elimination of the school board. After reading this, I feel like I don’t even have to argue the point anymore.

  3. jeannineforhillary

    As someone who grew up in Cranston and attended the enrichment program in the public school system, this news makes me very sad. I know how valuable that program was for me, and how much it helped me realize the importance of taking school seriously. (because of course when you are in 5th grade school isn’t always the most fun!) I still remember my enrichment school teacher and how much I learned from her. Thank you for posting this and providing people with a way to share their concerns.

  4. This is heartbreaking but sadly, expected.

    My daughter directly benefits from this program and I will do what I can to see that it continues but I feel as if I am spitting into the wind.

    I fear that as far as our public schools are concerned, we will see it get worse before it gets better.

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