Category Archives: Gifted Education

Cranston Schools: Cranston Citizens Better Start Paying Attention

A discussion was started on Facebook by Don Botts regarding the School Department’s Budget proposal last week.  Don’s “open letter” has created a lot of discussion and debate between residents and elected officials, something that I know everyone at Kmareka loves.  Thank you to Don for getting the ball rolling on this one!  

Cranston Schools: Cranston Citizens Better Start Paying Attention

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but the Superintendent of Cranston Schools recently released his proposed budget for the next school year. There is also a Powerpoint presentation to go along with it (I assume he used this when addressing the School Committee). Among the highlights:

* elimination of middle school sports
* elimination of hockey at Cranston East
* elimination of Girls cross country and possibly tennis at Cranston East
* elimination of EPIC
* elimination of elementary school strings

There is a nice little pie chart included which shows how the total budget is being allocated. Do you realize that 89% of the total school budget goes towards salaries and benefits? Do you realize that step increases for teachers this year totals over $1 million, which just about equals the amount of money the programs being eliminated cost?

Don’t wait until it is too late. Start attending school committee meetings. Pay attention to what is going on in East Providence, and think about how it can apply to our city.

Links:
Proposed budget: http://cpsed.net/super/budget09-10/budget09-10.htm
Powerpoint (use IE): http://cpsed.net/super/budget09-10/budget09-10_files/frame.htm

Resolutions to Find Alternative Funding for Cranston Schools

Andrea Iannazzi is sponsoring two new School Committee resolutions (now co-sponsored by School Committee Chair Mike Traficante) to find alternative funding for the EPIC program and middle school sports. She is looking for parent volunteers for the Middle School Sports Committee. If you are interested, please contact Andrea at 935-2411 or at andreaiannazzi@msn.com.

Sponsored by School Committee Member Andrea Iannazzi

WHEREAS the 2009-2010 budget proposed by the Superintendent calls for the elimination of the EPIC program;

WHEREAS the Cranston School Committee strongly supports EPIC and wishes to continue the program;

BE IT RESOLVED that a Subcommittee be formed to investigate alternate funding for the EPIC program;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Subcommittee shall consist of two members of the School Committee and two parent representatives from EPIC appointed by the Chairman of the School Committee, a parent representative from the CEAB appointed by the President of the CEAB, an EPIC instructor appointed by the President of the CTA, and a Central Administrator appointed by the Superintendent.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Subcommittee shall report back to the School Committee at the April work session.

Sponsored by School Committee Member Andrea Iannazzi

WHEREAS the 2009-2010 budget proposed by the Superintendent calls for the elimination of middle school sports;

WHEREAS the Cranston School Committee strongly supports middle school sports and does not wish to eliminate the program;

BE IT RESOLVED that a Subcommittee be formed to investigate alternate funding for middle school sports;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Subcommittee shall consist of two members of the School Committee and two parent representatives appointed by the Chairman of the School Committee, a parent representative from the CEAB appointed by the President of the CEAB, the Athletic Director or his designee, and a Central Administrator appointed by the Superintendent.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Subcommittee shall report back to the School Committee at the April work session.

Budget Crisis Meetings for Cranston Schools

This message comes from our school committee chairman, Michael A. Traficante, and the school committee clerk, Andrea Iannazzi. Some have probably already received it from their PTO listserv, but in case you missed it:

Due to the school department’s budget crisis, the members of the Cranston School Committee and school administration have set aside two dates to brief all PTO and individual parents on the proposed school budget for 2008-2009 prior to presenting it to the Cranston City Council on Tuesday, April 22, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. at Cranston East.

The purpose of the budget briefings is not only to educate your membership and individual parents on the proposed budget but also, of equal importance, to hopefully gain your support and encourage your presence on April 22nd when the budget is discussed before the Cranston City Council.

The first budget briefing will take place in the Cranston High School East Auditorium on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. for the following schools:

Arlington
Edgewood Highland
Waterman
Charter School
Barrows
Gladstone
Bain
Adult Education Program
Dutemple
Rhodes
Park View
Sanders Academy Program
Eden Park
Stadium
Cranston East

The second budget briefing will take place in the Cranston High School West Auditorium on Monday, April 21, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. for the following schools:

Garden City
Oak Lawn
Stone Hill
Glen Hills
Orchard Farms
Woodridge
Hope Highlands
Peters
Western Hills
Cranston West

Your presence at these budget briefings is extremely important, and your support on April 22, 2008 is critical.

Please make every effort to attend. Your child’s quality education is at risk.

If your membership cannot be present at the assigned date and time, you are more than welcome to attend the other scheduled session.

Thank you.

Michael A. Traficante, Chairman
Andrea M. Iannazzi, Clerk
Cranston School Committee

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.

Advocacy for Gifted Education in Rhode Island

Following up on our posts regarding education for gifted students, I learned about RIAGE, Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education. They have a website at www.riage.org which has news articles, a discussion forum, and information about programs. I encourage people interested in supporting gifted and talented education in Rhode Island to check out their website and consider joining. There is a lot of good information on the site, including a page which discusses a proposed changing of the name of “gifted and talented” to “beyond grade level, ” a change which RIAGE Chair Carolyn Rosenthal did not agree with. You can read more about this issue here.

How NCLB is Robbing Our Most Talented Students

This editorial from The Washington Post highlights concerns raised in an earlier post about the consequences of the No Child Left Behind Act. The Washington Post piece suggests that our best learners are not getting cultivated in the public schools, creating a snowball effect of talented students moving toward private education. From WaPo:

[...] Perhaps if more policymakers sent their children to public schools they would address these unintended but disastrous consequences of No Child. Rather than trying to rectify this situation, however, many politicians advocate a voucher program that would only encourage more parents to desert public education.

Some politicians justify vouchers with the Orwellian claim that taking money from public schools to pay private tuition will improve the public schools by forcing them to compete for students. This claim is absurd given the uneven playing field between public and private schools.

Most obviously, private schools can reject any student who would require extra time from teachers. Thus it is left to public schools to handle children with behavior problems or severe learning impairments, and non-English speakers. Until private schools receiving vouchers are required to accept all applicants, vouchers simply allow them to cherry-pick public school students, giving them an insurmountable competitive edge.

Ironically, the private schools to which President Bush and his allies are so anxious to hand public funds are also exempt from the standardized testing these politicians declare to be the critical measure of educational success. Private schools need not impose upon their students the drudgery of preparing for and taking weeks of standardized tests and can offer an enriching curriculum beyond the basics without worrying about No Child sanctions. Given these one-sided constraints, no one could honestly claim that vouchers do anything but drain resources from the public schools this act was supposed to improve.

In adopting the No Child law, Congress finally addressed the shameful neglect of students in failing schools, particularly inner-city schools. Now it must address the fact that the requirements it imposed are driving away many of the concerned and involved parents critical to our ailing public school system. [full text]

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